Maintaining the appropriate tire pressure in your car’s tires is both safe driving and fuel economy-enhancing, which makes keeping an accurate reading essential for optimal driving and fuel consumption. Most gas stations offer easy-to-use gauges specifically for this purpose that make this task a breeze.
To check tire pressure, remove the caps from each air valve and attach a pressure gauge. Press firmly against each air valve while reading off its reading on the gauge.
Table of Contents
What is a Tire Pressure Gauge?
Tire pressure gauges are easy and affordable tools used to measure air pressure in tires. You can find one at most auto parts stores, convenience stores or gas stations for under $10 and choose from different models such as digital or analog gauges that attach directly to an air compressor hose so you can both check pressure and inflate tires simultaneously. Some gauges also feature LED or light-up displays for use in low light conditions.
Stick or pen gauges are the most frequently used tire pressure gauges. Concealed within their thin bodies is an electronic sensor which displays tire pressure readings quickly and precisely. They’re easy to carry in pockets or glove compartments and offer lower accuracy than digital models but tend to be cheaper and simpler to operate than their digital counterparts.
To use a tire pressure gauge, first remove the valve cap from one of your tires. Then place the nozzle of the gauge over the valve stem and press down firmly to ensure a good seal between nozzle and stem – once complete you should hear a hissing sound as your gauge displays your reading in either PSI (pounds per square inch) or kPa (kilopascal).
As soon as you press down on the nozzle of a tire pressure gauge, air rushes in through its nozzle and causes air pressure in your tire to increase rapidly, which triggers an internal spring to move within its tube and indicate how much air pressure there is in your tire. Some dial or analog gauges have dual scale dials so they can indicate both PSI or kPa pressure measurements; others provide easy-to-read LED or digital displays to display results more precisely.
There are also dedicated tire pressure gauges designed specifically to meet the rigorous demands of high-performance vehicles, like racetracks and extreme temperature fluctuations. Some models cost hundreds of dollars; you can also buy them online or in specialty automotive stores. Before purchasing one of these gauges, always conduct a test for consistency and accuracy by checking 10 tires at once; if results vary widely then return the instrument and switch models.
How to Use a Tire Pressure Gauge
As is widely recognized, tire pressure gauges are an invaluable asset when it comes to maintaining optimal tire inflation. Most gas stations offer air pumps with built-in pressure indicators; however, these may not always provide accurate readings and should therefore be utilized regularly – you can buy one for as little as $10 from any auto parts store, convenience store, or gas station.
There are various kinds of tire pressure gauges on the market, and each has their own benefits and drawbacks. A stick/pen gauge has long been popular due to its simplicity of use and inexpensive price point; digital gauges typically feature large LCD displays with multiple measurement standards such as PSI or kPa. Digital models may be more costly but come equipped with features such as 360-degree swivel chucks, lifetime warranties and emergency tools like seatbelt cutters or safety hammers – as well as features onboard that traditional analog tools lack.
To use a tire pressure gauge, locate and unscrew the valve stem on your wheel before unscrewing its threaded cap. Insert the gauge into the valve and press down firmly; when air passes through and into your gauge you should hear a rushing sound as air passes into it and into its display unit. You should now be able to read its PSI reading.
At the same time that you check the pressure of your tires, it is also a good idea to visually inspect them for excessive tread wear or any foreign objects trapped between their treads. Check for deep cuts or bulges on either side that could indicate flat or damaged tires that need to be addressed immediately.
Utilizing a tire pressure gauge is a straightforward and simple process that can be learned quickly. Once you understand how it works, using it should become second nature each time you fill up at the gas station.
How to Check the Pressure of Your Tires at a Gas Station
Your vehicle’s performance and safety benefit from having tires properly inflated. This includes improved handling, stopping distances, fuel economy and reduced impact on the environment. Inflating them to their recommended pressure level is critical for this reason as well.
Tire pressure gauges are simple tools that help keep the ideal air pressure of your vehicle’s tires. You can find one at many auto parts stores at a reasonable cost; gas stations may even carry one as part of their services. In some instances, some pumps even include gauges as part of their air compressor to maximize convenience for users.
Before checking your tire pressure at a gas station, ensure your vehicle is parked and cool enough for an accurate reading from a tire pressure gauge. Your vehicle manufacturer recommends an air pressure in pounds per square inch (PSI) for both front and rear tires as well as your spare. Often printed directly on each tire’s side in chart form or within its chart/table – additionally you can find this information within driver doors, glove boxes or fuel door areas of your vehicle.
Assuming you have removed each valve cap from each tire, remove your air compressor hose and connect it securely to its valve stem using an air compressor hose connector. Screwing tight will help avoid air leakage. After attaching your tire pressure gauge against its stem and pressing hard on its stem will ensure it remains tight against it; once hissing sounds begin to occur it will provide you with its reading.
Some digital or dial gauges feature a readout that displays tire pressure in PSI; other models may simply contain a scale plate with notches to indicate pressure levels. Once you know exactly what pressure your tires require, using the same process as above to add air can easily be accomplished at gas stations.
Be mindful that PSI readings on your tire gauge may fluctuate as your tires warm up while driving, so it is advisable to do a double-check before and after filling up with gas. If you require assistance or have any inquiries about how to use one, visit your local auto shop for expert assistance.
How to Add Air to Your Tires at a Gas Station
If your tires are low on air pressure, the easiest way to add air is at a gas station. Find a pump with a long enough hose to reach all four tires and crouch down next to it so the hose fits securely over each valve stem without air escaping (you may hear hissing sounds which is normal). Set your compressor psi rating to 30-35 psi – most cars require this amount – then start feeding change until you see its gauge go up; once this reading appears on your own gauge for confirmation before starting on this step again until all four wheels have been filled and checked using your personal tire pressure gauge re-checked with your gauge again once completed then replace valve stem caps if necessary.
At least every month, it is vitally important to perform a tire pressure check on your vehicle – this will allow you to detect slow leaks as well as ensure the optimal tire pressure for comfort and fuel efficiency. Furthermore, your tires make contact with the road and can greatly affect how much friction there is between your car and road – low tire pressure can lead to premature wear, sudden blowouts and overheating of your engine.
Gas station free air pumps provide an economical and timesaving method of inflating tires quickly, and should you discover low tire pressure, it could save you the trouble of driving back home to inflate them yourself if possible. However, their accuracy cannot compare with using your own pressure gauge so if possible investing in one would be recommended.
There is a range of tire pressure gauges to meet every preference and budget, from analog dial gauges that are compact and user-friendly, to digital gauges which offer precise readings down to the tenth of a psi. Both options can be purchased for under $30 each and make great tools to have in your glove compartment.