How to Check Tire Pressure

Repair Difficulty
diff-slider
Easy Medium Hard

Tire Pressure Videos {{ !ctrl.make ? 'by Car' : 'for Your ' + ctrl.make.nm }}

Tire Pressure 101

Why is Proper Tire Pressure Important?


Tires are literally between you and the road, and play an important role in the accelerating, braking, and corner of your car. Properly maintained tire pressure promotes longer life, increased traction and handling, and reduces the chances of a loss of pressure that strands you at the roadside.


What do I need to Check and Fill My Tire?


You need a common tire pressure gauge, and a source of compressed air. There are many types of gauge, but they all essentially work the same way and fit a standardized tire valve stem. Compressed air is commonly supplied (sometimes at a cost) at gas stations, service centers, and car dealerships.


Step-By-Step How to Check tire pressure Instructions

Tap each step to check off which ones you've completed

  1. Inflate tires to the recommended tire pressure when cold.

    Tires heat up during use due to friction with the road surface. Allow them to cool for three to four hours, out of direct sunlight.

  2. Remove the cap on the valve stem

    It’s a good idea to keep a few spares in the glove box — These things have a way of getting lost.

  3. Press the fitting of the tire pressure gauge firmly against the opening at the end of the valve stem. The gauge’s dial or stick will quickly stop moving, and you may swiftly remove the gauge from the tire’s valve stem.

    Press the tire gauge against the valve stem in a swift motion, making a “flat” connection that seals completely. If you hear escaping air, stop, reset the gauge (if necessary), and try again.

  4. Read the gauge to determine if the pressure is within recommended limits.
  5. (Optional)If the pressure is lower than recommended limits, inflate the tire with air from an air compressor commonly found at gas stations and service centers.

    Many businesses will provide compressed air for free, but some will not. You may have to ask an employee for the compressor’s fitting if it’s not permanently attached.

  6. After adding compressed air, repeat steps 3 and 4 to determine if the tire pressure is now within limits.

    It’s quite easy to over-inflate a tire, but this is easily remedied (see next step).

  7. (optional) If the pressure is higher than recommended limits, release someair from the tire.

    Most tire pressure gauges have a small dot or bead on the backside that is designed to be pressed into the center of the valve stem, releasing air.

  8. Now that you’ve released some air, again repeat steps 3 and 4, and determine if you need to add or remove air from the tire.

    As you dial in the correct pressure, add (or release) smaller and smaller amounts of air.

  9. Additional Tips:
    1. Never let air out of hot tires to get the correct pressure.
    2. Many tires have a value (in PSI) written on the sidewalls. This is generally the MAXIMUM, not the recommended pressure.
    3. To determine the correct pressure, consult your car’s owner’s manual. If you’ve lost the owner’s manual, many cars also list the PSI on a sticker placed inside the driver’s-side door jamb.
    4. Correctly inflated tires provide a flat tread (across the width of the tire), that fully contacts the road surface.
    5. For heavy loads or sustained high speed driving, some manufacturers recommend running a higher PSI. Consult the manufacturer’s specifications for details.
    6. It’s a good idea to periodically check the pressure of your car’s spare tire.

Tire Pressure Videos {{ !ctrl.make ? 'by Car' : 'for Your ' + ctrl.make.nm }}

Tire Pressure 101

Why is Proper Tire Pressure Important?


Tires are literally between you and the road, and play an important role in the accelerating, braking, and corner of your car. Properly maintained tire pressure promotes longer life, increased traction and handling, and reduces the chances of a loss of pressure that strands you at the roadside.


What do I need to Check and Fill My Tire?


You need a common tire pressure gauge, and a source of compressed air. There are many types of gauge, but they all essentially work the same way and fit a standardized tire valve stem. Compressed air is commonly supplied (sometimes at a cost) at gas stations, service centers, and car dealerships.


Results of Improperly Pressurized Tires


  • Underinflated tires will flex excessively, generating excess heat and buckling, and damage the tire with rapid wear on the edge of the treads.
  • Overinflated tires will ride hard, decreasing traction, and making the tire susceptible to ply breakage.