How to check your tyre pressures

Last updated March 08, 2021

Tyre pressure is extremely important to ensure your car is safe and drives correctly. Furthermore, if your tyre pressure is incorrect you could also be wasting fuel due to not having optimum traction with the road surface. Therefore, you should regularly check your tyre pressure to ensure you remain safe and your car runs smoothly.

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How do I check my tyre pressure?

To check your tyre pressures, you will need a reliable tyre pressure gauge which can be bought online or from a car parts shop. You may also find tyre pressure gauges and air-compressor at your local petrol station, which can be used to both monitor and inflate your tyres. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to check your pressure:

  1. Find out your recommended tyre pressure

Before you start checking the pressure of your tyres, you will need to know the manufacturer's recommended tyre pressure. You will be able to find this information in the owner's manual and in some cars, it can also be found inside the petrol cap or on the inside of the driver’s door.

  1. Check all of your tyres using a pressure gauge

Once you know the recommended PSI, you can use a pressure gauge to find out how much air is in your tyres. To do this you will need to do the following:

  • Remove the valve cap from one of your tyres and attach the pressure gauge to the valve stem
  • Firmly press the valve gauge on the valve stem until you stop hearing any hissing and you get a steady reading
  • Make a note of the reading and compare to the manufacturer’s recommendations
  • Repeat the above steps for all of your tyres
  1. Inflate your tyres if the pressure is too low

If the PSI readings for any of your tyres are below the manufacturer’s recommendations, you should inflate your tyres using an air-compressor. To do this you will need to attach the air-compressor to the valve stem and inflate until you reach the desired pressure. Once inflated, you should remove the air-compressor and put your dust caps back onto the valve stem.

  1. Deflate your tyres if the pressure is too high

If the readings on your valve gauge were higher than the manufacturers recommendations, you will need to let some air out of your tyres. If you want to do this at home, you can do this by pressing the metal pin inside your valve stem with a blunt narrow object such as a flat-head screwdriver. After you’ve deflated your tyre you should always check the pressure again to ensure you’ve let out the correct amount of pressure.

Why should I check my tyre pressure?

Your tyres are the only part of your car that have contact with the road surface, therefore it is extremely important that you regularly check the pressure to ensure they’re set correctly for your safety. Naturally, due to the weight of a car being placed on the tyres, your tyres may deflate each month, therefore we recommend checking them regularly to keep yourself and other road users safe.

Your tyre pressure influences your car's performance, such as the handling, your braking distance and how your car corners. It will also impact the comfort inside the car if your tyre pressure is too low or high.

Furthermore, the pressure of your tyres will impact how fuel efficient you drive due to the car having more resistance with the road. Therefore, it could be costing you more every time you get in your car if your tyres are over or under inflated.

Finally, if your tyres don’t have the correct pressure, they could wear quicker and need to be replaced more frequently.

How often should I check my tyre pressure?

It is recommended that you check the pressure of your tyres at least once a month so you’re not driving for any considerable amount of time with tyres that are inflated inadequately. We would also recommend checking your tyres before any long journey.

It is important to always check your tyre pressure before you drive the car whilst the tyres are cold. If you check after you’ve driven, the tyres are likely to be warm which can result in inaccurate readings.

What to do if you have a slow puncture

A slow puncture releases air from your tyre at a much slower rate than a normal puncture and you may notice them if your tyre is regularly losing pressure when you perform your monthly checks. If your tyre is regularly losing air and not being re-inflated, it could be a danger for yourself and other road users.

You may notice that you have a slow puncture by doing a check of each tyre and looking for anything that could be piercing your tyre such as a screw or tree debris. You could also notice that your car is pulling to one side or the steering wheel is vibrating when you’re travelling at higher speeds.

You may be able to drive with a slow puncture but you should be cautious doing so. If you have something stuck in your tyre which is causing a slow puncture, it could become loose and cause an accident, particularly if travelling at high speeds. We recommend replacing your tyre if it has a slow puncture to avoid the risks involved in a loss of tyre pressure and to save yourself time constantly having to monitor and inflate the tyre.

If the tyre has a small leakage of air from a cut in the tyre or a faulty valve, you may be able to get the tyre repaired at a lower cost than replacing the tyre. You should take your tyre to be inspected by a reputable garage to find out if the tyre can be repaired or if it needs to be replaced.

Frequently asked questions

Generally, you can find your recommended tyre pressures on a sticker somewhere on your car. This is usually on the inside of the driver’s door or on the inside of the fuel cap, however, it differs from car to car. If you can’t find a sticker on your car, you can find the required information in your vehicle manual.

Alternatively, you can use an online tool such as http://www.tyre-pressures.com/ where you can simply enter your registration plate and find the recommended pressure for your vehicle.

You may have noticed that your manufacturer recommends putting more pressure in your front tyres than your rear. This is completely normal to compensate for the extra weight of the engine and transmission, especially in front-wheel-drive cars. Likewise, manufacturers often recommend that you should add pressure to your rear tyres if you have a heavy load in the rear of the car or a car full of passengers to compensate for the extra weight. You will be able to find the necessary information for your car in the vehicle handbook.

The two main types of metrics used to measure tyre pressure are BAR and PSI. In the UK, most manufacturers will state the recommended pressures in PSI but this depends on the manufacturer. If you have a gauge that is in the opposite metric, you may need to convert PSI to BAR or vice versa. You can convert either metrics using this handy tool.

Since a change in legislation in November 2012, all new cars have been legally required to have a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System fitted. The system works with other systems to warn the driver if there is an issue with the pressure of the tyres through a dashboard warning light.

You will not have your tyre pressures checked during an MOT but you will fail if the TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System) warning light is illuminated.