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How To Properly Check Tire Pressure And Condition For Increased Driving Safety
Copyright 2006 David Maillie

Tire pressure and condition is one of the most overlooked safety aspects on our cars. Most people just assume their tires are fine and that they will be safe because they look fine Ė the tires are not flat and the car runs. Rarely do we ever see someone get out of their car and check their tire pressure or place their hands on the tire and feel for problems with their tire condition. What most people donít know is that proper tire pressure will improve your gas mileage, make your brakes and suspension system last longer, and it will improve your gas mileage. It will also make you safer. According to AAA, it is best to have your tires pressure and condition checked for driving safety every time you fill up your gas tank and prior to any long drives or vacations.

Before checking your tire pressure you should check your tires condition. Your tires are what holds you to the road and if there are any problematic wear patterns, bubbles and cracks, etc your driving safety can and will be greatly compromised. Look over all your tires and your spare. Place the palm of your hand on the tire and feel it is it round? This may sound obvious, but you can quickly find early signs of cupping (which can indicate bad struts), irregular wear (could be improperly balanced wheels), cracks, and deep wear that would make your tires unsafe.

Take out a penny and make sure President Lincolns head is covered by the tread. If it isnít that means you need to replace your tires as they are worn too low. Every time I go to the local grocery store half of the cars I see have bald or nearly bald tires and tires in bad condition and replacement. This can cause hydroplaning and very unsafe driving conditions if the roads were wet from a recent rain. If you notice anything irregular take your car to a service station or tire store. Have your tire condition checked and have your tires replaced as necessary as your driving safety may be compromised by worn tires or another serious tire condition (Walmartís tire service stations will check your tires for free).

To properly check your tires pressure you must use a tire pressure gauge. Going by touch isnít good enough. Just because the tire doesnít look flat doesnít mean it isn't improperly inflated. Your car or trucks owners manual and tire


manuals in your glove box will tell you the recommended tire pressure for your tires. Check all four and your spare. Remember your spare if it is a doughnut or half sized spare may have different pressure requirements (see your owners manual). You wouldnít believe the number of people that assume their spare is fine and havenít checked it in several years. Some donít even know if they have a spare or tire changing tools like the jack and lug wrench. Some people donít even know where to look for their spare tire or how to even change a tire.

Most tire pressure gauges have an indicator that will be raised by the amount of pressure in your tire. More expensive ones are digital. Both are rudimentary and easy to use and can easily and cheaply be obtained at gas stations and car parts stores. If you find you are under inflated most gas stations have an on site air pump. Fill and check again to ensure proper pressure. Do not go by the air pumps gauge if it has one. It has been abused and is probably incorrect. Always replace the caps on your tire stems when you are done. This keeps the elements out and corrosion can and does cause leaks. If you have too much pressure then let some out by pressing a key or screwdriver into the release valve and then check it again. If your have too much pressure it can cause them to prematurely wear in the middle and reduce the actual surface area of the tire that meets the road and can reduce your driving safety.

There you have it, how to properly check your condition and pressure for increased driving safety. By having safe you are increasing both your driving safety and the driving safety of those around you.


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This page was updated on May 2009 and is Copyright © 2003 by Global Com Consulting Inc.