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How to check and add air in a car’s tyres

By maintaining the recommended tyre pressure, we increase the tyres’ durability, the kilometres they can cover, and we enjoy a more comfortable driving.

Difficulty level: Easy

Step 1
We check the tyres when they are lukewarm (tyres are more inflated when hot, and less inflated when cold).

Step 2
We remove the cap from the valve of the tyre we are checking

Step 3
We press the tyre gauge firmly into the valve and see the reading. If we hear air escaping, this means that we have not put the tyre gauge correctly: it is either in a wrong position, or it needs more pressure.

Step 4
We can see the correct tyre pressure either in the sticker found in the door frame, or in the owner’s manual. If we over-inflate the tyre, we can release some air by pressing the metal pin at the centre of the valve, using our nails or a ball point pen or a pencil. If we need to guess the right pressure for our tyres, we should know that 32 psi (pounds per square inch) are the usual pressure for most passenger cars with standard tyres.

Step 5
We screw the cap back into the valve.

Step 6
We repeat the procedure in each tyre and the spare tyre (usually we check the pressure of the spare tyre when it is too late)

Step 7
We check the depth of the tyre tread. The recommended depth varies from tyre to tyre. For a rough measurement of a common tyre, we can use a small coin (e,g. ten cents) which we sink into the tread. If the coin sinks less than one fourth of its size, then the tyre should be replaced. For a more accurate measurement we can get the tread-depth gauge from any service station. If there are strong indications of wear and tear, we must replace the tyre.

Step 8
We check if the groves in the front tyres are less worn out that those in the back tyres. In such a case we rotate tyres to avoid uneven wear and we check the balancing and alignment of tyres at a vulcanizer.

Advice and warnings
  • The pressure written on the side of the tyre is the maximum pressure, which is not necessary except when we plan to carry a very heavy load.
  • A small lead may be the result of a faulty valve.
  • We can buy a good gauge relatively cheap.
  • We read the recommended pressure on the side of the tyre before adding pressure. A compact temporary spare tyre should be set at 60 psi.
  • This procedure can be done with the right equipment free of charge at a service station.
What we need
  • A tyre pressure gauge
  • A tread-depth gauge