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Education is super important here at Mechanic Shop Femme. I firmly believe that education is the key to empowerment and independently made quality automotive decisions. Let’s learn something new together ok?
While I was working on an article for The Plus Life Blog, I realized how much people don’t know about tire pressure. While I boiled it down for The Plus Life, here’s my comprehensive guide! Tire pressure is truly a simple way to stay safe, save gas, and prevent your tires from wearing prematurely or unevenly.
Plus: want to save some money, babes? I mean of course, right?
Tire pressure is one of the more straightforward maintenance opportunities out there because it doesn’t require any kind of expensive specialized tools, and it can save you loads of money long term.
Tire pressure is the amount of air in a car’s tires – measured in PSI or pounds per square inch. PSI is a measurement that’s pretty complicated to understand, and entirely irrelevant to maintaining your tire pressure, so we’ll skip that part. For you, it’s measured simply by pressing a tire pressure gauge against the open valve – and making sure that measurement matches your car’s specifications.
Do you know where you can find the tire pressure requirements on your specific vehicle?
Inside of most cars, there’s a big tire label in the drivers door jam. It shows you all the tire information, including the size of the tires and what PSI they need. Keep in mind that some cars have different specifications for front and back tires! Also, just because your pal’s car requires 30 PSI of air pressure doesn’t mean yours does. Actually check the information label for the most accurate results.
Once you know how many PSI you’re supposed to have in your tire, you’re ready to check it! All you need to do is unscrew the cap of the valve stem, which sticks out of the tire like a one-inch arm, and attach a tire pressure gauge like this one.
If your tire pressure is low you have two options: have one of these portable inflators handy, or swing by a local gas station or mechanic shop and fill up with their equipment. I recommend that you check your tire pressure at least twice a month. It’s as easy as setting an alarm on your phone to remind you on Monday at 8am or on a specific day of the month.
Are you wondering how all of this will help you save money?
There are two main reasons: fuel economy is the first one, with an average savings of $200-500 for the average consumer yearly. Second reason is pretty straight forward: tires are expensive.
By maintain the proper air pressure, you avoid one of the biggest reasons of uneven tire wear, and extend the life of your tires – directly sparing your pocketbook. There’s another reason that takes money out of your pocket, too, but it’s a safety issue too.
On The Plus Life Blog, you saw me talking about not over-inflating your tires, right? Over-inflating your tires can cause blowouts – your tire pops! This is a reason for many high speed accidents. It’s not only important to make sure that the tires aren’t underinflated, but also when you do go and fill them up, you make sure you aren’t putting in way too much air.
If you over-inflate your tires and have a blowout, you can incur expenses from possible towing, wheel damage, etc.
Blowouts can also be more likely if you’ve got worn tires – like if they’ve been repeatedly underinflated and worn unevenly. How do you know if your tires are worn – does that penny trick work? Sure, but it’s pretty hard to tell on a penny.
I love my handy dandy thread depth gage that literally cost just a few dollars, and can easily tell me if tires are worn and need swapping out. (If you discover you need to buy tires, here’s an article I wrote that might help out.)
I hope you learned something new about a very important but easy to understand car maintenance component. Sharing is caring and the only way that folks can learn all the information you are enjoying is if you take a moment to share this article! Browse around, there is so much to learn here on Mechanic Shop Femme about all kinds of subject. Go ahead, be empowered.