How to Check Your Cars Tyre Pressures

They are a vital part of your monthly check because they are all that keeps you on the road. Spotting problems early may not just save you from a puncture, it could prevent an accident or avoid your having to prematurely replace a tyre. Over- and under-inflation increase tyre-wear, affect handling and the latter increases fuel consumption and the risk of a blow-out through overheating.


The most important thing is to check the tyre pressures, including the spare. The correct pressures are either on a sticker, usually inside a door frame or fuel filler flap, or in the handbook. If it is in the book, mark the page and mark the correct pressure for your car. The handbook is likely to list different pressures for different versions of the car and all the sizes of tyre fitted. It may also list higher pressures for full loads, high speed driving and trailer towing and should define what is meant by these things. For example, high speed may only mean autobahn driving with no speed limit for long periods.

Cars Tyre Pressures How to Check Your Cars Tyre Pressures

Checking pressures is best done with the tyres cold because the pressure increases as the tyres warm up with use. If you do not have an air pump, take the pressures before setting off for a garage and then add the amount needed to whatever the warm pressure is. So if they were 3 psi low at home, add that amount to the higher warm tyre pressure. Take your pressure gauge with you because garage airline ones are often abused and not always accurate.

Also, if the sun warms up one side of a parked car it creates higher pressure readings on that side, so it is best to do it in the shade or on cloudy days. Remember to replace the tyre valve dust caps because they stop dirt getting into the valve, which might make it stick open.

Soft options

Be wary of a tyre with pressure substantially down on the others. It may have a slow puncture which could become a fast one if you drive on it. Look for objects stuck in it and, if you can’t find any, check the valve is not leaking by smearing saliva across the top and seeing if it forms a bubble. If you are not going anywhere in the car you can reinflate the tyre and check it again later but if you plan a journey, especially using high speed roads, it is safer to put the spare on and have the tyre professionally examined.

Cars Tyre Pressures 1 How to Check Your Cars Tyre Pressures


While you are checking pressures, also give the tyres a visual once over. Look for cuts, bulges, uneven tyre-wear, low tread depth and objects stuck in the tyre. It pays to run your hand over the inside wall of the tyre.

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  3. How to Spot Tyre Faults
  4. What To Do If The Check Engine Light Goes On
  5. How to Check Fluid Levels on Your Car

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