Usually, you can identify when a tire’s air is low just by looking at it and comparing it to the other tires on your car. Also, many vehicles now come with sensors that will alert you to when you need to top up the air in your tire.
All gas stations have an air station that you can use to fill up your tire’s air. These machines are pretty easy to use once you understand their basic mechanisms. Sometimes, they require you to put in a quarter for them to work, so it’s always a good idea to have a little loose change in your glove box.
Here are the steps to filling your car tires with air:
1. Understanding the pressure you need
The first place you need to start is the car’s user manual. This will have the information you need on how much pressure should be in the car tires. You can also find this information on the tire itself. Otherwise, it might be the inside of each door by the locking mechanism.
The information will be represented as a number and the letters PSI (pounds per square inch). When it comes to filling your tires, you just need the number to get the job done. Be mindful that the front and back tires on your car may have different ideal pressures. So, carefully read the manual before you begin with this in mind.
2. Checking the pressure in your tire
Once you have put your money into the air pump, it will start to hum so you know it has been activated. Next, you need to unscrew the little plastic cover over the valve where the air pump can attach to the wheel. Be sure to keep the plastic cover in your packet as they are very small and easy to lose.
Once you attach the hose to the tire, you will see on the gauge exactly how much pressure is in the car. If you don’t see a number on the gauge, the air pressure might be so low that it’s below the scale.
3. Start pumping air
To start pumping air into the tire, you need to squeeze the handle with one hand and use your other to hold the hose in place with the valve. You will have to pause every 3-5 seconds to check the pressure reading when you do this. In most air pumps, you can’t check the air pressure when the air is pumping. If you are unsure how to read the gauge, feel free to ask the gas station attendant for help.
4. Take your time
It might take a little while to fill up your tires if the air pressure is really low. As long as you regularly check the pressure as you are pumping and do not overfill your tires, you should be fine.
Be sure to secure the valve cap back on each time. If these are loose, you can lose these while driving. Air will not start to leak out if your do lose them, more so they are in place to keep the valve clean so that when you do need to pump air into the tire, it can be done with ease.
5. Repeat the process for each tire
Even if each tire is just a little under, be sure to top it up. Tire pressure is an important but often overlooked part of driving safety. Tires that are not fully inflated will not have as much grip on the road as a fully inflated tire. As the tires are the only part of the car touching the road, you need to ensure that they’re in the best shape possible.
6. Have another quarter ready to go
The air pump is on a timer and will shut off after a few minutes. This can be a little annoying, but it’s not a big deal as long as you have some more change ready to go. The important thing is to make sure that you have checked the pressure in all of your tires and topped it up where needed.
7. Keep an eye on the tire
It’s possible the tire just needed a top-up and will be fine from now on. However, you should always give the tire a visual inspection before driving in the future to ensure that this wasn’t the first warning sign of a slow leak. If you notice that the tire is consistently losing air, you don’t want to repeatedly go back to the gas station every other day for a top-up. Instead, what you need is to ask your mechanic to take a look.