How to Put Air in My Tire at the Gas Station

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One of the most often overlooked items on a car's maintenance schedule is proper tire inflation. It is important to keep the correct pressure in your car's tires for safety and to maximize tire wear and fuel mileage. A tire with low pressure is more susceptible to blowouts. Over- or under-inflation of a tire can lead to irregular wear patterns.

Things You'll Need

  • Tire gauge
  • Park your car near the gas station's air pump. Position your car so that you have enough room to freely walk between the car and the pump and so that the front and rear wheels are equidistant from the pump. The hose should be long enough to reach all of the tires.

  • Look inside the door jamb of your driver's door and read the trim tag. The trim tag will give you the manufacturer's suggested air pressure. If the trim tag in the driver's door jamb does not contain this information you can also check your car's glove box, gas tank door or owner's manual for this information.

  • Remove the valve cap from each of your tires and place them in your pocket so you do not lose them.

  • Place your tire gauge firmly onto the each valve stem and make note of the tire pressure. If you hear a hiss when you do this you are releasing air from your tires and need to push the gauge harder so that the valve stem rests firmly in the head of the tire gauge.

  • Inflate tires to the specified pressure. Hold the pump's air chuck firmly on the wheel's valve stem, and depress the lever, if applicable. Add air a little at a time and recheck the pressure with the tire gauge.

  • Depress the center prong inside of the valve stem to release any excess air, if necessary. Many tire gauges include an exposed prong on the tip just for this purpose but if yours is not fitted with this feature you can use the tip of your car key.

  • Place the valve caps back onto each tire's valve stem.

Tips & Warnings

  • Most manufacturers list recommended tire pressure for a "cold" tire. If you have just pulled off the freeway ramp, your tires will be warm, and read 2 to 3 psi higher.
  • Allow for this. The most important thing is that all tires read the same.

References

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