When you think about it, your tyres really get put through the ringer. They’re the point of contact between you, your car and the road, and will cover many thousands of miles in their lifetime – not to mention the odd pothole or untarmacked surface. And most of the time, they take it all in their stride.
And yet, far too many drivers neglect the four car parts that carry them from A to B each day. Relying on your annual MOT to flag any tyre problems isn’t enough, as you could end up driving around on unsuitable wheels for many months in between.
One thing that’s crucial for your tyres is that the air pressure inside them is what it ought to be. Read on and we’ll cover the basics.
Do I really need to check my tyre pressure?
In short, yes. Your tyres naturally lose a little bit of air over time, so it won’t be too long before the pressure inside them is below what it needs to be.
It might not seem like a big deal, but your tyre pressure can affect your car’s ability to perform in many areas, including:
- Accuracy when taking corners;
- How quickly you can brake and stop;
- The overall comfort of your drive;
- How much fuel is consumed.
Tyre pressure that’s too low means more rolling resistance, which in turn causes more fuel to be consumed on a given journey - and that will cost you at the pump.
How do I check my tyre pressure?
Checking air pressure in tyres is easier than you might think. Before you start, you’ll need to check what the recommended tyre pressure for your car is; this information will be in your vehicle’s handbook.
You’ll then need access to a pressure gauge. These can use either imperial or metric units and are widely available in fuel pumps across the country, so you just need to make sure you use one that matches whatever unit your car’s manual displays the information in.
To check the pressure, you need to:
- Remove the valve dust cap on the tyre and attach the gauge to the valve;
- Gently press the gauge down onto the stem, applying pressure evenly so you get a good reading;
- Make note of the reading displayed on the gauge;
- Repeat for all four tyres, as well as your spare.
You’ll then need to compare the readings with the optimum pressure as displayed in your car’s handbook and adjust it as required.
If the pressure is too high, let some air out by keeping the valve open, checking with the gauge regularly until it hits the right number. Conversely, if it’s too low, use a suitable pump and slowly add air. Keep checking using the gauge until you reach optimum pressure.
What’s the right tyre pressure for my car?
This will depend entirely on the model of car you drive. Many newer cars will display this information on a sticker, somewhere on the body of the vehicle, but failing that you can always find this information in your owner’s handbook.
When and how often should I check tyre pressure?
Ideally, you should check your tyre pressure every couple of weeks. You should also only ever check the pressure when your wheels are “cold” and haven’t been driven in a few hours, as they’ll give more accurate readings this way.
Having the correct air pressure in your tyres will help maximise your vehicle safety. No doubt you'll want to be protected further and have a car insurance you can rely on, whenever you take to the road. See what Rias could do for you, and get your car insurance quote today >