Some types of automobile maintenance are easily performed by the vehicle owner. Checking the level of air pressure in the tires is fairly straightforward, but the practice is often neglected. Tire maintenance, like having correct tire pressure, is not just for safety or to prolong tire life. Properly inflated tires are proven to save money by cutting the cost of driving.
Gas mileage can be increased by as much as 3 percent by maintaining the correct level of pressure in your tires. Properly inflated tires result in less rolling resistance as your vehicle is in motion. Tires installed on an automobile naturally lose some amount of air pressure over time, but the loss is so gradual that it may go unnoticed.
Rely on a pressure gauge
Every vehicle owner should possess a good pressure gauge. Unless a tire is obviously underinflated, the only way to discover a low-pressure condition is to use a gauge. In addition to a gauge, you need some method to inflate a tire if the pressure is found to be low.
Decide on a source of air pressure
A type of small portable air compressor sold in many department stores is ideal for inflating automobile tires. The little air compressors typically have a power cord that plugs into the 12-volt accessory socket on most vehicle dashboards. Before starting to add air to a tire, however, you must know when to stop pumping.
Remember the correct tire pressure
The pressure rating displayed on the side of your tires is the maximum safe pressure. Look in the owner's manual for your vehicle to find the recommended operating pressure. There may also be a placard sticker on the doorjamb of your automobile that displays the proper inflation pressure.
Many of the small portable air compressors contain a built-in pressure gauge. However, the compressor gauge may not be as accurate as your stand-alone gauge. After topping off the pressure in the four tires on the ground, check your spare tire. If the spare tire is smaller than your regular tires, it could require a different pressure level.
While checking the air pressure, take a moment to inspect your tires for any uneven tread wear. The tires should be rotated periodically so that the entire set of tires wears evenly. You will need to bring your vehicle in to an automotive service shop to have the tires rotated.
A single tire that loses air faster than the other tires may be indicative of a problem. In that case, you probably should bring your vehicle in to have that tire inspected. Contact an automotive repair service for more advice about tire maintenance.