How to pump up car tyres safely

Last updated 21/06/2021

How often do you check your car tyre pressure PSI? It’s an important, but often overlooked way to maintain one of the most important parts of your car. We obsess over radiators and engine blocks, but tyres are the unsung heroes of your vehicle, maintaining steering control, gripping the road and acting as a barrier between you and the shock of hitting a pothole. So how do we care for these rubber parts we take for granted? A little bit or air and regular checks. Take a look at more detail below.

Wait, what is tyre pressure and what does it have to do with pumping up my tyres?

Tyre pressure refers to the atmospheric pressure within a car tyre, measured in pounds per square inch or PSI, maintained by compressed air. Adjusting your tyre pressure is simply another term for pumping up your tyres.

How to perform a tyre pressure check and adjustment

Keeping your car tyre pressure PSI at its recommended level is essential for car performance and safety. Daily bumps and impacts can alter your tyre pressure, not to mention varying driving conditions, seasonal changes and the weight being carried or towed by your car. Do this by monitoring tyre pressure to see if it needs adjusting. You can buy your own tyre pressure gauge online that you can use wherever you are. Alternatively, almost every service station will have a pump you can use.

How to use a service station pump to adjust your car PSI:

  • Check the display setting at the pump and reset it to the recommended level for your car.
  • Remove the dust caps from the vales on the tyres. While holding down the clamp, slip the hose over the valve. When you release the clamp, the pump will begin to adjust the tyre pressure to the pre-set level. When you hear a signal the car tyre pressure PSI will be at the recommended level.
  • Release the clamp, remove the hose and replace the dust caps and move onto the other tyres. Don’t forget about the spare in the boot!

How often should you check your car PSI? It is recommended that you check your car tyre pressure PSI at least once a month.

When should you check your car PSI? You should also check before long trips, when carrying or towing a load, or when facing different driving conditions.

Keep in mind that the recommended PSI is generally specified for cold tyres, so for the most accurate reading, check your tyres when they’re cold.

How much air to put in car tyres

The general guide for a normal car is between 32 – 35 PSI. That can vary depending on the car. The recommended car tyre PSI is determined by the manufacturer and the size of the tyres. You can find that recommended number inside the owner’s manual or the placard on the inside of the driver’s door.

Do not use the maximum car tyre PSI which is printed on the sidewall of the tyre. Overinflated tyres are just as bad as underinflated and can cause excessive wear and reduce the amount of contact between the tyre and the road. They can also create a bumpier and louder trip!

Can you rely on your local service station to provide an accurate tyre pressure gauge?

The most accurate tyre pressure gauge reading will come from your own gauge. This is because you look after it - general care can impact the accuracy of any readings.

However, the tyre pressure gauge at your local service station will generally give an accurate reading, provided it hasn’t been knocked around. You should check the hose and end fitting that attaches to the valve before using the pump. Report any damage to an attendant inside and then it’s best to find another pump to use that will give you a more reliable reading.

If you need a tyre pressure check up, or are just wanting to find out more about your tyre options including brands including Continental tyres, Pirelli tyres and Goodyear tyres, feel free to contact one of our tyre experts online or on 13 13 28.

Give your tyres some TLC while you wait

Now that you’re checking your tyre pressure regularly, throw in a little bit of extra tyre TLC while you wait. While checking the pressure, inspect your tyres for signs of wear on the tread or sidewall. Look for cuts and tears in the rubber and bulges in the tyre wall and for objects like nails or stones that may have pierced or become embedded in the rubber. You should also check your tyre tread to make sure it’s roadworthy and above the 1.5mm depth.

Need a little bit of help? With over 260 convenient locations around Australia, mycar makes buying and maintaining car tyres easy. If you’re not sure what tyres are the best fit for you, drop into your local store or contact one of our tyre experts of 13 13 28.

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