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How to Inflate Car Tires

Don't get your road trip off to a bumpy start -- properly inflated tires will save you gas and money and get you there safely.


  • Step 1: Check tire pressure Check your tire pressure with a gauge -– don’t just eyeball it. Your tire may be underinflated and not look it.
  • TIP: Check your tires when they are cool or first thing in the morning. It takes tires about half an hour to cool down.
  • Step 2: Check your tire pressure against manufacturer’s recommended pressure Reference the gauge reading and the manufacturer’s recommended pressure found on the door jamb or your owner’s manual. If your pressure’s low, find a service station with an air hose.
  • TIP: Not all service station air hoses are free –- bring spare change or you may need your spare tire.
  • Step 3: Make sure air hose reaches all tires and turn on compressor Pull your car up to the compressor and hose; you should be able to reach all four tires. Turn the compressor on by inserting your coins or follow the posted directions.
  • TIP: Purchase a portable compressor and stash it in your garage or trunk.
  • Step 4: Remove stem cap Remove the stem cap and put it in your pocket so you don’t lose it.
  • Step 5: Inflate tires Place the air hose fitting on the valve stem and press down. You’ll hear the air inflating the tire. If you feel air flow around the valve stem, you don’t have a tight connection. Repeat for the other three tires.
  • Step 6: Read air hose gauge Read the gauge on the air hose if it has one -- it will let you know when you are close to the right amount. If you’re a little over, that’s okay.
  • Step 7: Recheck pressure with personal gauge and let out excess air Double check the air pressure with your own gauge. If the pressure’s too high, press down on the pin inside of the valve stem and let some air out. Recheck and repeat if it's still not the recommended amount.
  • Step 8: Replace the stem cap Replace the stem caps, sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.
  • FACT: The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and NASA have developed an airless tire to transport large, long-range vehicles across the surface of the moon.

You Will Need

  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Owner's manual
  • Service station with an air hose
  • Spare change (optional)
  • Portable air compressor (optional)

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