If you see this symbol come up on your dashboard, this means that your tire pressure is 25 percent or more below the appropriate tire pressure. Driving with low tire pressure can lower your vehicle’s MPG, put a hamper on driving comfort, increase tire wear, and compromise your road safety. Not to mention, having the TPMS light on all the time can be really bothersome.
1. Buy a tire pressure gauge at your local auto parts shop. You may want to get a small notebook to record front and back tire pressure, and before / after fuel economy.
2. Determine the correct tire pressure level for your vehicle. Don’t know where to look? This information is usually on a yellow sticker in the doorjamb on the driver side. You can also locate the information in your vehicle owner’s manual. Please read the print clearly, as it might call for different pressure levels for the front and back tires.
3. Check your tire pressure when the tires are cold. Tires heat up and expand as you drive. Checking your tire pressure right after driving will cause inaccurate pressure readings and you may end up inflating your tires at an incorrect pressure. Give at least a half hour for your tires to cool down.
4. Unscrew the valve cap and set it somewhere visible or put it in your pocket so you don’t lose it.
5. Press the head of the tire pressure gauge onto the valve stem. There may be a slight hiss coming out of the valve stem as you press down on it and again when you release the pressure tool. Make sure you push down hard enough so that there is no constant hissing sound coming from the valve stem (the sound of air being released). Push down for a second or two, long enough to get a steady, accurate reading.
6. Read the tire pressure on the gauge. If you have a notebook, it would be a good idea to jot down the pressure as you get readings around the car.
Inflating your tires to the specified pressure is important. So make it a habit to check and refill your tires once a month. Simply kicking your tire, looking at it, or pushing it with your finger won’t tell you much, and if you can tell that your tire is underinflated, then it must be REALLY underinflated.
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