Did you see a strange warning light on your dashboard as you shivered into the driver’s seat this morning? That exclamation point between parentheses, means that your tire pressure is way too low. Like other gases, air contracts as it gets colder — and that results in less of it in your tires.

Tire pressure (per square inch) drops between one and two pounds for every 10-degree decrease in temperature, and that can make a big difference to a driver who hasn’t filled up since summer. Tire pressure can affect steering, handling, gas mileage, and the life of the tires themselves. You can learn more about the importance of keeping your tires properly inflated {here}.  At LOF-Xpress™ we care about your safety AND your car, so we’ve put together these for checking and maintaining properly pressurized tires.

  1. Park you vehicle near an air dispenser. Most convenience stores offer ones that are free or very inexpensive to use. You must be near enough to the pump that you can reach all four tires.
  2. Remove the cap from the tire valve by twisting it counterclockwise until it comes off. Place the cap somewhere you can locate it easily, but not on the ground because it could easily roll away and get lost. (Don’t laugh – it happens!)
  3. Do not pump air in yet! You’ll need to first check your tire pressure. Now, it’s time to pull out that handy-dandy tire gauge that Aunt Betty re-gifted you at Christmas back in 2008. If you do not have said gauge in your vehicle, then be sure to check in the gas station. Most carry them or have one to borrow. The ideal tire pressure level can usually be found on a sticker on the side of the driver’s door or right on the tire, itself. If not, the tire pressure standard will be printed in your vehicle’s manual.
  4. Read the gauge to see how much pressure is inside your tire. On a standard tire gauge, a stick will pop out of the bottom, and the number where it stops indicates your tire’s current pressure. Digital gauges display a numeral on an LED screen or other form of display. Subtract this number from your desired tire pressure to determine how much air needs to be added.
  5. Now it’s time to pump some air! Once the dispenser is running, place the nozzle over your tire’s valve stem like you did with your tire gauge. After adding a burst of air, check the pressure with your gauge and repeat as needed until the proper pressure has been achieved. If you happen to accidentally overfill your tire, simply press your gauge a little off-center onto the valve stem to allow some air to escape, and then check the pressure again.
  6. Replace the cap on the valve stem. The cap should go back in its proper place on the stem easily by turning it clockwise. Don’t worry about replacing the same cap on the tire stem that it originally came from; the caps are compatible with all the stems.
  7. Check your other three tires using the steps above. Even if it looks like just one of your tires is low, you should use this opportunity to ensure that all of your tires are inflated suitably at this time.