How do I pump my car tires at the gas station?

My friend told me that I need to put air in my tires since they look a little low. I haven’t done that before; how do I pump car tires at the gas station?

Answer
Pumping your tires at the gas station can look intimidating, but don’t worry, anyone can do it! However, it is important to mention that before you add any air to your tires, you need to check your tire pressure and know the psi (pounds per square inch) of your tires.
To check your tire pressure, you will need a tire gauge; this is something you should always keep in your car. You can buy a manual one for a few dollars, but the digital kind is much easier to read and can cost less than $20.
Inflating your tires is best done on a cooler day. First, look at the sticker on the inside of the driver’s side door or check the owner’s manual. It will show the recommended psi level for your vehicle; it is usually between 32-35 psi. To check the tire pressure, follow these steps:
  • Remove the tire caps and put them somewhere safe, do not lose them!
  • Put the tire gauge on the tire value and press firmly.
  • Take a couple of readings and compare them to the recommended psi level for your car.
  • Put the tire caps back on.
Now you know how much more air your tires need! Next up, grab a handful of quarters and head to the closest gas station with an air compressor. Some states have free air, and some gas stations also have a tire gauge attached to the air compressors, but it’s good to prepare for any situation.
Once you get to the gas station, follow these next steps:
  • Remove the tire caps; don’t lose them!
  • Put the quarters in the air compressor. It is usually about $1 for three minutes of air time.
  • Just as you pressed with the tire gauge, take the handle of the air compressor and place it on the tire valve firmly, then press down on the handle trigger for about five seconds.
  • You will need to work quickly. First, inflate the tire and then check it with the tire gauge. Once it is at the right level, move to the next tire.
  • Once you are done, put the tire caps back on.
Learning this skill will help you down the road. However, there will be some situations where calling in a professional will be necessary. If you’re looking for roadside assistance at a great price, try Jerry. Jerry’s membership provides you with industry-leading roadside assistance, including benefits like towing, lockout service, and a mechanics hotline, all for as low as $4.16 a month.
Shannon Martin
Answered on Nov 10, 2021
Shannon is an expert in personal lines liability insurance with 13 + years of insurance industry experience. She also served as a special insurance liaison to AARP members for 6 of those years. She is a graduate of UL Lafayette and currently resides in NY with her family. Shannon is also an amateur juggler, ukulele player, and is a time travel paradox theory enthusiast.
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