Checking Tire Pressure With a Tire Pressure Gauge


How to Use a Tire Pressure Gauge

You can't measure a tire's pressure properly if you don't know how to use a tire pressure gauge. There are a couple of different types of tire pressure gauges that you might want to consider. Keep the equipment that you prefer in your vehicle at all times so that you can check your tire pressure at any time. Having the tire pressure gauge in your vehicle will improve your vehicle's performance on the road, keeping you and your family safer in any driving condition.

How to Check Your Tire Pressure

Step 1: Find the recommended air pressure on your vehicle's tire information label. It's usually on the driver's doorframe or door ledge, but you may also find it in your glove box or vehicle owner's manual.

Step 2: Check tires at least three hours after driving. The recommended pressure is cold inflation pressure. Tires heat up when you drive, which increases pressure.

Step 3: Check the pressure of all four tires, as well as the spare tire if your vehicle has one.

Check your tire pressure every month. Tires naturally lose pressure over time, and changes in outdoor temperature affect your tire pressure too.

How to Use a Conventional Tire Pressure Gauge

Conventional tire pressure gauges are about the size of a pencil. They typically have metal exteriors with plastic rods that extend when the device is attached to a tire stem. As air rushes out of the tire, it forces the plastic rod to extend. Notches along the rod's side will tell you how much pressure has been exerted. Most tire pressure gauges have black notches on white rods. Every tenth notch is usually a bit larger than the others. This makes it easier for you to read the PSI.

For instance, if you attach the gauge to your tire and the rod extends to a large 3 and a small 4, then your reading is 34 PSI. Don't get confused by thinking that the gauge is giving you a measurement of 3.4 PSI.

How to Use an Electronic Tire Pressure Gauge

Electronic tire pressure gauges can give you highly accurate pressure ratings. You simply turn the device on, press it against your tire's nozzle, and get an accurate reading of the pressure.

There are, however, some drawbacks to using an electronic tire pressure gauge. First, they cost more than conventional tire pressure gauges. The extra expense, however, isn't that great. If you have a hard time reading the notches on a conventional tire pressure gauge, then the extra money is worth it.

The bigger problem is making sure the electronic tire pressure gauge is properly powered. If the batteries are running low, then you could get inaccurate readings or no reading at all. That puts you and your family in danger. If you prefer using an electronic gauge, then make sure you check the batteries regularly. You might also want to keep spare batteries in the vehicle for emergencies.

Practice Using Your Tire Pressure Gauge

Regardless of whether you prefer a conventional tire pressure gauge or an electronic one, you should practice using the tool before you encounter any emergency situation. A small amount of practice could make it much easier for you to check your tire pressure on the side of the road.

It is important to know how to measure your tire pressure because properly inflated tires are safer than under or overinflated tires. Underinflated tires, for instance, can hydroplane easily. Overinflated tires wear down more quickly. They also make it hard to quickly stop and to control the vehicle in slippery conditions.

As long as you know how to use a tire pressure gauge, though, you can check the pressure regularly to make sure your family is safe on the road.

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