Maintaining the correct tyre pressure for your vehicle is very important for a number of reasons. Tyre pressure primarily can affect:
- Fuel economy
- Vehicle handling
- Braking distance
- Tyre lifespan
Ensuring that your tyres are correctly inflated is very simple to do but a surprising number of people either don’t know how to do it, or are not confident enough to do it themselves.
So, we’ve put this little guide together to help these people out. Just follow the steps and you can ensure that your tyres are always at the correct pressure.
STEP 1: Find out what the correct pressure for your tyres should be.
There are numerous places you can find this information. Your vehicle owner’s manual will have it. Additionally, a lot of cars will have a small sticker either on the inside of one of the doors or inside the filler-cap.
If you can’t find any of these then go online. There are numerous websites that give good tyre information. Just remember that these are guides and we cannot vouch for their accuracy. Some examples are:
As a bit of practical advice, I would try to find this information before going to a petrol station to refill the tyres. Mobile signals are deliberately bad on forecourts.
STEP 2: Find and visit a petrol station with a working tyre pump (sometimes easier said than done).
STEP 3: Park the vehicle in the allocated space in front of the pump and secure the brake (no-brainer but, well, you know).
STEP 4: Most petrol stations will provide plastic or rubber gloves – either at the tyre pump or at the fuel pumps. I strongly advise using these as your hands will get very dirty during this process.
STEP 5: Remove all 4 tyre dust caps. Do this before you pay for air or start the pump or you could find yourself halfway through the procedure when the pump turns off forsing you to curse vehemently and pay an additional extortionate amount for air – go figure. Make sure you keep the caps somewhere secure so you don’t lose them.
STEP 6: Pay to start the pump and then select the correct pressure. Remember that a lot of vehicles will require different pressures for the front and rear tyres.
Most pumps will have 2 different ways of displaying the pressure – either as PSI or BAR.
A lot of pumps in the UK look like this:
The default measure here is BAR. If you know the pressure you need in BAR then simply press the + or – buttons until you reach the desired value.
If you only have the value in PSI then press and hold the BAR/PSI button. This will show the PSI value. Continue to hold this button and then use the + or – buttons to get the correct PSI value.
(NOTE: Some tyre pumps have a pressure indicator inline on the hose itself. Most will have a dual scale or BAR and PSI and will have a small lever for the operation of the pump. For these pumps do the following: Place and hold the nozzle firmly on the tyre valve and look at the dial. It will show the current tyre pressure. Press the lever to fill the tyre. Note where you want the gauge to indicate and release the lever when at that correct pressure. Then go on to STEP 8 of this guide.)
STEP 7: Extend the air hose, place and hold the nozzle end firmly over the tyre valve. Try to get the nozzle on as straight as possible to avoid air leakage.
The pump will then either force air into the tyre (if it is underinflated) or slowly remove air from the tyre (if overinflated). You will be able to see the progress of the operation on the pump’s digital display.
Once the correct pressure has been reached the pump will beep to indicate it is finished.
STEP 8: Sharply remove the nozzle from the valve. Try to pull it straight off as fiddling with it can cause air to escape from the tyre.
STEP 9: Repeat steps 7 and 8 for the other tyres. If the front and rear need different pressures simply return to the pump to set the new pressure and continue from step 7.
STEP 10: Replace the air hose and all the dust caps.
And there you have it – tyres correctly inflated like a BOSS!