Under Pressure: The Expert's Guide to Properly Checking and Inflating Tyres

Posted by: Lydia on 12/04/2018

Category: General

Like a lot of issues involving cars, tyre pressure is one of those things that you don’t think about until something goes wrong. So, ensuring you have your tyres set to the right pressure - and that you’re inflating them properly - is essential.

Not only is this important for your tyres and your car, but it will also save you time and money. When well-maintained and cared for, good tyres last a whole lot longer.

So what do you need to do to make sure all is well with your tyres’ pressure? Read on for our expert guide to properly checking and inflating your tyres.

Invest in quality parts

Buying cheap tyres is always a bad idea. Good tyres will always inflate properly, retain air longer, and wear at a much slower rate than a poorly-made set. So if you currently have shoddy tyres on your car, it might be worth going in to your local tyre shop for a fresh set of quality tyres. If you don’t have a good base, all the maintenance and care in the world won’t help. Ultimately, quality tyres are a good investment and will save you money - and headaches - in the long run.

Make sure to invest in quality tools, as well. A cheap tyre pump can be among the most annoying tools in the world; you already have to bend down and crank your knees, arms, and neck as you inflate, so don’t make the process any more difficult than it already is.

Sure, there are usually tyre pumps available at your local gas station, but getting to one involves an extra step and more time, meaning the task of regularly checking pressure can slip down on your to-do list. Buying a pump will help ensure the process is done often and properly.

The tyre check process

The Australian tyre industry employs over 11,000 people. That’s a lot of people who know a lot about tyres - and there are bound to be many different opinions on the best way to check and inflate them. In general, keeping it simple is best.

To start, find out the tyre pressure info for your car. You might find that information inside your driver’s door or alongside the fuel gap, or check out the owner’s manual or look online. Then do the checks. Remove the air caps and check each tyre’s pressure to ensure it matches the recommended PSI. Then double check that all tyres have the same pressure.

If you need to inflate any tyres, first make sure that your pump is in good condition with no leaks. If any air is leaking along the pump, you could be there all afternoon. As you begin inflating, look out for any irregularities in your tyres, like bumps, bubbles, wear and tear, or even holes that emerge. If you see anything odd, you should get it checked out at a tyre shop.

Once you’ve finished inflating all the tyres, do another quick check the next day. All four tyres should be holding their pressure evenly - and while a little dip in pressure is OK, if one of them is deflating at a faster rate than the others, that’s a sign something is wrong, and again, you should get it checked out.

Ultimately, like a lot of car maintenance, tyre checks are about precision and consistency.
Making a regular routine of tyre checks and inflation will maximise the lifespan of your tyres.

Your tyre check intervals may vary

While regular checks and maintenance are always essential elements of car ownership, ‘regular’ can have a variety of definitions depending on your car, where you live, and how you drive. This applies not only to the difference between someone living in the Outback and the inner suburbs of a capital city, but also from neighbour to neighbour, if you use your vehicles in different ways.

So, while checking once every month at minimum is the guideline, keep your driving habits in mind. If you’ve spent a weekend away on country trails? Check your tyres on return. And if you spend every weekend putting your tyres through their paces on bumpy roads? It’s important to check your tyres more often, with once a week being a good rule of thumb.

A word on faulty tyres

If you find a tyre losing pressure often (every few days or faster), then there’s an issue with it. Check around the tyre to ensure there isn’t a nail or other object in it. If there is, you might be able to patch it, but if not, it could be a sign of a manufacturing defect.

Due to the quality controls in manufacturing, the odds of this being the case are rare, but get it checked out if necessary. Ultimately, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and if you have one faulty tyre in a set, there’s always the possibility that more than one could have a problem.

Maintenance will pay off

When you get right down to it, a lot of car ownership is about car maintenance. Once you’ve purchased a car and been given the keys, it’s not the end of your job - it’s the start of it. And although not everybody will love every car maintenance task, keeping up on things really pays off in the end. Not only does it save you time and money, it also ensures your car runs beautifully.

And that’s something every car fan can cheer for. Properly check and inflate your tyres, and you’ll be certain to enjoy a smooth ride on all four wheels from start to finish. Once that’s taken care of, all you need is a little bit of tyre shine to make your tyres look their very best - and then you can hit the road.

What other useful tips do you have for properly checking and inflating your tyres? Let us know in the comments below:

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