Know-how: checking your tyre pressure with video

Know-how: checking your tyre pressure with video
Car tyres put up with a lot on the roads, from sharp braking to endless potholes. And yet, for many motorists checking their tyre pressure is not something they think about between one MOT and the next.

Poorly maintained tyres can not only mean unwanted costs for drivers but are also a serious hazard on the road as they can cause breakdowns and even collisions.

So, it’s important that we take care of our tyres, so that they can take care of us. And to make this a little easier, we’ve put together a quick guide on how to check your tyre pressure.

Guide contents:

Video transcript

Introduction – why and how

Consult the owner’s handbook or tyre details label on the vehicle for the correct tyre pressures

Unscrew the valve dust cap from the tyre valve

Place the tyre pressure gauge onto the tyre valve stem. Firmly press the gauge down evenly on the valve stem

Check the tyre pressure reading on the gauge

If the tyres require inflating add air using a suitable inflator. It is extremely important not to over-inflate the tyres. This can be avoided by adding small amounts air between pressure checks using the gauge

Repeat this for all tyres including the spare wheel (if fitted)

Once the tyres are inflated to the correct pressure, replace the valve dust cap

Do not over-tighten. Valve dust caps prevent dirt entering and damaging the valve

Tyre pressures should be checked weekly and when tyres are cold. Warm or hot tyres may give incorrect pressure readings

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Why should I check my tyre pressure?

The entire weight of your vehicle is supported by your tyre’s air pressure, and with tyres generally losing a little bit of air every month, it’s essential to check your tyre pressure on a regular basis. 

Tyre pressure influences a vehicle’s performance in a lot of key handling and safety areas, such as how quickly you can brake, your accuracy in handling corners, and the general comfort of your drive. 

Fuel consumption is also affected by tyre pressure. A deformed tyre leads to your car having more rolling resistance with the road, meaning your fuel will be working harder and costing you more. 

Experts predict that properly inflated tyres can improve your mileage per tank by up to 3%, which comes as welcome news for drivers hit by constantly rising fuel prices.

READ MORE: How to save fuel — the ultimate guide

How do I check tyre pressure?

Before you start, make sure you’re using a suitable pressure gauge. Pressure can be read in both metric and imperial, so make sure you use a gauge that matches the pressure information for your vehicle to avoid any confusion. 

Firstly, remove the valve dust cap from the tyre valve and place the pressure gauge into the tyre valve stem. Press the gauge down evenly on the valve stem to ensure you get an accurate reading. 

Check the reading on the pressure gauge and if the reading falls outside the recommended tyre pressures indicated for your vehicle, then you will need to either deflate or inflate your tyres accordingly. 

If your tyres need inflating, use a suitable pump and avoid over-inflation by adding small amounts of air at a time and regularly checking the pressure with the pressure gauge between each blast.  

Make sure you check all four tyres on your car as pressure in each of the four can often vary significantly. Don’t forget to check the spare tyre, either – this is often overlooked by motorists but you never know when you might need to use it, so keep it well maintained. 

READ MORE: Tyre safety — all you need to know


Tyre pressure check

How do you measure tyre pressure?

There are two units of pressure that are used to measure tyre pressure: bar (metric) and pounds per inch (PSI) which is the imperial measurement.

Both are often quoted together in user handbooks or tyre pressure stickers but be aware that if this is not the case you will need to use an appropriate pressure gauge to avoid confusion.

What should my tyre pressure be?

This depends on your vehicle.

These days, most cars come with a sticker somewhere on their bodywork that sets out the correct tyre pressure for the vehicle. If you have an older car, or your car doesn’t have a sticker, then refer to the owner handbook.

Information on the correct pressure will be provided in relation to various loadings (two occupants, four occupants, etc.), so it’s important that you pick the one that’s right your driving habits.

READ MORE: RAC launches online next-day tyre fitting service

When should I check my tyre pressure?

Tyre pressures should be checked every week to ensure that you are not unknowingly driving on poorly inflated tyres and to help keep you safe on the roads.

You should always check your tyre pressure when the tyres are cold — i.e. before you’ve made any journeys that day. This is because warm or hot tyres that have recently been driven on may give inaccurate pressure readings.

Can I check my tyre pressure at a petrol station?

Yes. If you don’t have a pressure gauge or tyre pump at home, head down to a local fuel station that does. On most forecourts in the UK, you’ll be able to find both a pressure gauge (that gives readings in both bar and PSI) and air pump.

Air pumps at fuel stations are often more complex than the ones you might have at home, and many come with plus or minus buttons that enable you set the pressure as needed. There will often be a third button which provides a ‘rapid fill’ if you tyre is particularly low on air.

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