You can quickly and easily fill up your car’s tires using a home or gas station air pump. Make sure to keep a tire pressure gauge on hand for a more precise fill. Keeping your tires filled to the correct pressure will help protect against tire blowouts, which occur when there is a rapid drop in tire pressure. Proper tire inflation will also maximize your gas mileage and make for more efficient driving.
If your tires appear to below, check the pressure and note the amount that they’re underinflated. Then drive to a local gas station and add air. It’s easy, but be sure to bring some change (usually quarters) with you for the air dispenser. (Forget about things being “as free as air” — at many stations it isn’t!)
Follow these steps to add air to your tires:
- Park your vehicle by the air dispenser. You will need to reach all four tires with the air hose.
- Remove the cap from the tire valve on the first tire.
- Use your tire gauge to check the air pressure in the tire. Air hose gauges at many gas stations are inaccurate.
Checking your tire pressure
The pressure will have increased because driving causes the tires to heat up and the air inside them to expand. To avoid overinflating the tire, no matter what the second reading indicates, you should only add the same amount of air that the tire lacked before you drove it to the station.
4. Use the air hose to add air in short bursts. Check the pressure after each time with your tire gauge. If you add too much air, let some out by pressing the pin on the tire valve with the back of the air hose nozzle or with the little knob on the back of the rounded end of the tire gauge.
5. Keep checking the pressure until you get it right. Don’t get discouraged if you have to keep adjusting the air pressure. No one hits it on the head the first time!
Checking your tire pressure and adding air seems like the simplest car maintenance task ever, right up there with changing the wiper blades. So why does it always stress you out? Why do you have to google how to put air in tires?
Maybe because the tire pressure gauge is hard to read. You’re not sure what the recommended tire pressure is, or even which number to look at. And when you put $1 in the air machine at the gas station, it feels like a race against time. And of course, at least one valve stem cap rolls under the car…
OK, take a deep breath. We’ll tell you the right way to do it all:
How to check tire pressure and how to put air in your tires.
Step 1. Don’t ignore the tire pressure sensor.
When that little red light comes on, it seems more like an annoyance than an emergency. It’s not the oil light, which is bad, or the check engine light, which is very bad, or all the dash lights, which is the absolute worst. But tire pressure does matter, because underinflated tires are bad for fuel efficiency and handling, and they have a bigger risk of a blowout.
So when the tire pressure sensor detects a problem, stop and check it out — even if the tires look fine. The one exception is on frigid mornings, when your tire pressure sensor light may come on because the cold air in your tires has contracted. Just drive a few miles and see if the sensor goes off once the day has warmed up a little. If it hasn’t, you may need to add a little air.
Step 2. Find your recommended tire pressure.
Recommended tire pressure is the correct amount of air to put in the tires on your vehicle. It’s not the same thing as the [maximum tire pressure that’s printed on the tire itself; that number means the pressure required for the tires to carry your vehicle’s maximum load.
You shouldn’t have any trouble finding the recommended tire pressure. It’s usually printed on a label in the door frame, glovebox door, or fuel door, and it’ll be listed in the owner’s manual, too. Read carefully, because rear tires may need a different pressure than the front tires.
Step 3. Check the tire pressure.
Fish around in your glovebox for that tire pressure gauge your dad gave you when you were 16. Can’t find it? It’s time to organize your glove compartment. If all you have is a cheap, pencil-style gauge, it’s time to upgrade to a digital or dial gauge, which is much easier to use. When Consumer Reports tested several tire pressure gauges, the best they found were two digital Accutire gauges, both costing under $11.
Now, here’s how to check tire pressure. Ideally, wait at least three hours after the car’s been driven. Unscrew the valve stem cap and press the end of the tire gauge onto the stem. If you hear hissing, press harder until it stops. Now, check the tire pressure number in PSI, pounds per square inch. With pencil gauges, the plastic insert will shoot out; the place where it stops indicates the tire pressure.
Step 4. Add air to your tires.
Unless you have an air compressor at home, you’ll have to drive to a gas station to fill your tires with air. Here’s how to put air in tires:
- First, take off all the valve stem caps on the tires that need air, and put them somewhere safe. (This saves you time, and also reduces the chance of losing them.)
- Put money in the machine, and slowly add air to each tire by attaching the hose to the valve.
- Be careful not to overfill them, and use your own gauge, not the beat-up one attached to the hose, to check the PSI.
- If you accidentally add too much air, you can use the little nubbin on your tire gauge to let it out.
- When you’re done, don’t forget to replace the valve caps.
If your tire pressure sensor comes on again, you may have a nail or other sharp object embedded in the tire, causing a slow leak, and it’ll need to be patched.
Congratulations! Now you know how to check tire pressure and how to put air in tires, and you’re ready to roll.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I Drive With Low Tyre Pressure?
Low tire pressure not only lowers gas mileage, but it can also be dangerous on the road. Tires inflated below the manufacturer recommended air pressure overheat and can break down chemically at high speeds, which can cause a blowout and an accident. Driving with low tire pressure is strongly discouraged.
2. How do I know if my tires need air?
This will be printed on a sticker on the inside of the driver’s side door or in the owner’s manual. If you can’t find the sticker, it may also be located inside the glove box door or fuel door. Look at the writing on the side of your tires.
3. Can I drive with a tire with 10psi?
If you allow your tire pressure to drop any more than 10 PSI you are at high risk of losing control, as well as causing undue tire damage.
4. What’s the lowest tire pressure I can drive on?
Say 3–4 PSI low. It’s not good for gas mileage makes the car’s emergency handling a little worse and it’s a bit bad for the tire wear-wise. Really low, like 15 PSI, the sidewalls will really flex a lot when driven at high speeds
5. Is 26 too low for tire pressure?
Proper Tire Inflation
A tire inflated to 30 psi at 70 degrees, for example, could drop as low as 26 psi at the freezing point. The recommended tire pressure is displayed in your vehicle, typically on a sticker inside the glove box door or on one of the doorposts. It’s also in your owner’s manual.
6. Is 30 psi a good tire pressure?
The Optimum. You’ll find the manufacturer’s optimum or recommended tire pressure for your car on a sticker in the door jamb, or in your owner’s manual. … The recommended pressure is usually between 30 and 35 PSI