How to Check and Add Air to Car Tires

Checking the air pressure in your tires for proper inflation, and adding air if needed, makes your car safer to drive.
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Properly inflated tires make your car safer while on the road. You should check your car’s tire pressure at least once a month or when you notice that your car’s tires look under-inflated. Keep in mind that different makes and models require different tire pressures. Check your car’s owner’s manual, the inside door jamb of your vehicle, or the sidewall of one of your car’s tires to find the proper tire air pressure levels for your vehicle. Part 1 of this articles describes how to check the air pressure in car tires and Part 2 explains how to add air to car tires.

Part 1 of 2: How to check the air pressure in your car tires

To check the air pressure in your car’s tires, you need an air pressure gauge. Tire pressure gauges come in three basic types — manual, digital, and analog. In addition, some air machines have a tire pressure gauge built into the air hose used to put air in your tires. In order to properly check the air pressure in your tires, complete the following steps:
Step 1: Remove the valve stem caps. The valve stem caps help keep the valve stems from leaking and protect the inner workings of the valve stem.
Most car owners find it easier to remove all of the valve stem caps all at once, as this allows you to fill the tires with air without having to stop and remove the caps one by one.
Step 2: Use the tire pressure gauge. Press the open end of the tire pressure gauge against the end of the open valve stem. Make sure to keep the gauge squarely against the end so that no air escapes. If placed properly against the valve stem, you should not hear any hissing.
Step 3: Check the readout. Depending on the type of tire pressure gauge, check the readout to determine the amount of air pressure in the tire.
On a manual gauge, the readout is a long plastic piece, or bar, with markings and numbers representing pounds of pressure that fits into the end of the gauge.
A digital gauge provides a digital readout on the side of the device.
An analog gauge uses a needle to indicate the amount of pressure.
Step 4: Check the gauge. As you check the air pressure of each tire, make it a point to remember, or even write down, the pressure reading for each tire.
In addition, check the spare tire to make sure the air pressure is at the proper level.
Step 5: Replace the valve stem caps. As you check the reading on each tire, replace the valve stem cap. This helps to keep any air from escaping from a leaky valve stem.

Part 2 of 2: How to add air to your car tires

If you need to put air into your car’s tires, you need a compressor at your home or access to an air compressor at a gas station, mechanic, or elsewhere.
Step 1: Remove valve stem caps. Remove the valve stem caps if you have not done so. Usually, when you check the air pressure levels in your tires is the best time to fill the tires with air.
To make the process go faster, make sure to remove all of the valve stem caps before refilling the tires.
Step 2: Fill the tire with air. Take the air hose nozzle and place it over the open valve stem, making sure that you have a good seal over the valve stem and that no air can escape.
If you hear air escaping, you need to adjust the nozzle until it stops.
Step 3: Check the tire air pressure. As you fill the tire with air, check the air pressure so that you do not put too much air in the tire.
Air hoses with a built-in tire pressure gauge make this step easier, as you can simply remove pressure from the nozzle to release the gauge bar to get a reading. Otherwise, you need to remove the nozzle and check it with a separate air pressure gauge.
Step 4: Replace the valve stem caps. Once all of the tires have the proper air pressure levels, replace the valve stem caps. This keeps the air in the tire where it belongs and helps to protect the inner workings of the valve stem.
Making sure your tires have enough air pressure helps to keep your car safe while in motion. Check all four on a regular basis and make it part of your routine maintenance schedule.
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