Tire Pressure Monitoring
Tire pressure is one of the key aspects of maintaining a safe and reliable vehicle. Proper tire pressure allows a tire to function as designed, and in turn, provide a vehicle with optimal performance capability. Proper tire pressure also ensures that a tire will maintain structure and form and last as long as it possibly can. Tire pressure monitoring is key to proper tire maintenance.
Tire pressure monitoring can be done several ways. Ultimately, tire pressure monitoring is something that everyone can do, and it's important to do it regularly.
What Is Tire Pressure Monitoring?
Tire pressure monitoring is the process of checking the air pressure in all four tires and adjusting as needed. Tire pressure may fluctuate due to a variety of circumstances, including temperatures, driving conditions, slow leaks within the tire, or even issues with a valve stem. All tires lose air because the natural materials used in constructing them let air through. This is completely normal. This type of slow air loss is exactly why every driver should check tire pressure at least monthly.
You can help keep your tires in optimal condition by making tire pressure monitoring a part of your routine. Check tire pressure as often as once a week before you drive your vehicle anywhere. The best time to monitor tire pressure is when the tires are cool. As they heat up from roadway surfaces, the reading may fluctuate. If you want to check your tire pressure after you've driven your vehicle, wait at least three hours.
Methods of Tire Pressure Monitoring
A tire pressure gauge is the best tool to use to effectively monitor tire pressure. Tire gauges are easy to use. Whether manual or electronic, both are capable of giving you accurate reads. The process of tire pressure monitoring is fairly simple. Remove the valve cap from the valve stem and apply the tire pressure gauge to the open valve. By depressing the gauge, you'll get a reading of PSI (pounds per square inch). Repeat the process to get an accurate reading. The valve cap should be replaced, and the process should be repeated for all 4 tires.
Before you monitor tire pressure, you'll need to know what the ideal air pressure should be. A technician at your dealership will be able to assist in this process. You can also check your vehicle owner's manual.
A word of warning. Do not rely on the appearance of your tires to decide whether they need air. It is almost impossible to see that a tire is underinflated unless the problem is severe.
Adjusting Tire Pressure
If you don't have a tire air compressor, you can usually find them at gas stations or the place where you get your vehicle serviced. Inflate the tires only to the PSI recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer. If you find that a tire is overinflated, the back of most standard tire gauges can depress the valve pin, effectively releasing air. After air is added or released, the gauge can be used to check the changing pressure.
Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems
Many newer models of passenger vehicles in the United States come with tire pressure monitoring systems, or TPMS. Having a TPMS is a great way to keep track of your tire pressure. Most TPMS have a special tire pressure gauge that stays on the tire. When a tire is low, the vehicle alerts the driver that the tire needs air.