How To: Check Your Car Tire Pressure

Disclaimer-Captain DIY and highly recommend exercising extreme caution when attempting DIY projects. Not everybody can do everything, and some things should only be done by professionals. Keep your digits attached, and keep the insurance company off of your back. Do it right or call the right people!

One of the main reasons I continually advocate for the DIY lifestyle is for the monetary savings it can bring. The other is the major sense of satisfaction from getting a job done yourself while you learn new skills, but this post will be focused more on the money savings since the work done in this case is not difficult or skillful at all.

My fleet of two older used vehicles has been running on low tire pressure for a while now, and I finally got it high enough on my list to actually buckle down and fill them up.This is an incredibly simple process that will save you money on your gas expenditure, although probably not a whole lot. Considering the amount of money potentially to be saved versus the amount of time it takes to do the job, I see it as a good return on investment.

Under Pressure (bum bum bum bada bum bum)

The first things I gathered to get myself ready were a compressor (I inherited a behemoth of a compressor from my father a while ago. No idea where he finds this stuff but apparently it cost him whatever the wheels he added to it cost.), a pressure gauge, and a tip to connect the tires to the compressor.

Just a quick puff…

After reading the Max PSI level on the tires, which in the case of my Honda Civic was 44 PSI, I decided I would fill them up to just a little below max. It was a bit of a cold and rainy day, and I didn’t want to max them out with cold air and have them blow up on me when the weather warmed up.

Lookin’ a little low

I would have unscrewed the nozzle cap to access the tire nozzle, but it seems they have disappeared at some point. So, I put the gauge on and got a reading, then proceeded to fill them up. I checked frequently to make sure I wasn’t going way too far with the pressure, and when they got to around 42 PSI I stopped.

Fill ‘er up

“But Captain”, you say, “I don’t have a compressor, and it seems ridiculous for me to go out and spend a bunch of money to buy one just so I can fill up my tires once or twice a year. Aren’t you all about saving money?!”

Maybe a squish too high

I sure am, and I definitely am NOT recommending such folly. The next time you get gas, find a gas station that has an air pump tucked away, preferably one that doesn’t charge. I’ve seen prices in my area range from $0.50 to $1.50 for air, but every once in a while you can find one that is free. They also usually have a pressure gauge built in, but I highly recommend spending the $2-5 to buy your own and keep it in your car. The gauges at the gas station have been beat up for years and are no longer reliably accurate.

So there you have it. Keep your tires filled properly, and you’ll save a bit of cash. I also think, although I haven’t found any research concluding this, that properly inflated tires will last longer. I’m just speculating, though, so don’t take my word for it. When in doubt, look it up! Or ask someone who knows more than you.

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