November 16

How Can I Tell How Much Air My Tires Need?


Maintaining the correct tire pressure is an important part of staying safe on the road. Every vehicle has different requirements when it comes to the recommended tire pressure, so it’s important to find out what they are before adding air to the tires. Take a look at some tips to help you determine how much air your tires need and why having the correct amount of pressure is so important.  

How Much Air Do My Tires Need?

The recommended tire pressure is usually found on a sticker inside the driver’s side door. You can also find this information in the owners manual, which will list the correct pressure as pounds per square inch (psi). In most cases, you’ll find the pressure for both the front and back wheels when they’re cold, which will ensure the pressure is correct before you start to drive.

It’s important to note that the correct pressure isn’t the amount listed on the side of the tire. This is the maximum pressure for cold tires and is most likely very different from the psi recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

There are a few things to keep in mind when checking the tire pressure:

  • The tire pressure may fluctuate if you keep the car in a warm garage. Since the psi is based on a cold tire, factors such as the sun hitting the tire or added warmth can affect it.
  • The front and rear tires may have different recommended psi.
  • When checking the tire pressure, make sure to check the spare tire, too. You never know when you may need it.
  • The psi listed on the sticker in the door is for the tire size that originally came with the vehicle. If you change to a different size tire, you may need to make adjustments.  

How Do I Put Air In My Tires?

Adding air to your tires is a quick and easy job. You can do it at home or at a gas station with an air pump. Most gas stations will have an air compressor near the gas pumps but out of the way so you can safely park and get out of the vehicle. Before putting air in your tires, it’s important to check the tire pressure. Make sure to do this in the morning when the tires are cold to get an accurate reading. Use a tire pressure gauge to determine what the current pressure is.

If you need air,  whether you’re at home or at a gas station, park in a spot where you can get to all four tires with the air hose. Once you’re parked, you can:

  • Remove the tire valve cap. Put it in a place where you know you’ll find it when it’s time to put it back on.  
  • Place the compressor fitting on the tire valve stem. 
  • Start inflating the tire. You can hear the air moving, but if you can feel it coming out, adjust the connection on the valve stem to seal it up.
  • Stop periodically. You’ll want to add air for a few minutes and then stop to check the tire pressure to make sure you haven’t overinflated the tires. If you find that you’ve overinflated, just release some of the air until you back down to the recommended amount.
  • Replace the valve cap. Once you have the correct pressure, put the tire valve cap back on.

Some tires have a green valve stem with an “N” on them. This is to tell you that the tires are filled with nitrogen instead of air. If you have tires with this green valve stem, you should find an air station that dispenses nitrogen, although if you need to, you can use regular air. The psi is the same whether you use regular air or nitrogen.

If you need help determining the correct pressure or you want assistance getting air in your tires, you can turn to the service team at Huffines Kia Corinth. 

What Affects Tire Pressure?

There are a few things that can affect tire pressure. As the seasons change and temperatures go up and down, so does the air pressure in your tires. If you don’t keep an eye on them, these changes can lead to elevated pressure or deflated tires. 

As a general rule, tire pressure changes by 1 or 2 psi for every 10 degrees of temperature change. It’s important to check the air pressure regularly, especially in the fall when the temperatures start to drop. This is the time of year when you can lose between 7 and 10 psi.

Warmer temperatures can have the opposite effect on air pressure. Air expands when it gets warmer, so in the summer, when it’s hot, you run the risk of overinflated tires. Tires that are properly inflated for the cold winter days may run too high during the summer. This is easily rectified by letting out some of the air.  

Why Is the Correct Air Pressure Important?

If you don’t have the correct air pressure in your tires, you’ll feel it. Properly inflated tires will distribute the weight of the vehicle evenly across the tread pattern so the tire remains stable. This even distribution maximizes the tire’s contact with the road, which results in better traction and reduces the chances of slipping. This is especially important if you drive in snowy conditions or on roads wet from rain.

Under or overinflated tires can lead to uneven treadwear, which results in reduced tire life. Underinflated tires have to work harder, and this means you will burn more fuel. Overinflated tires are more likely to lose traction. To maximize your performance, a trained service team can help you make sure you have the proper amount of air in your tires. 

Get the Best Performance Out of Your Tires

Tires are an essential safety component of every vehicle. If you have questions about the correct air pressure for your vehicle, the team at Huffines Kia Corinth is here to help. They know exactly what your vehicle needs and will take the time to make sure each tire is properly inflated or support you with tire repair. Stop by or give us a call today, and we’ll keep you safely on the road. 


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