by Sarah Newkirk of Acme Truck & Auto
First introduced in the 1990's, and made standard in vehicles by 2007, the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is something many of us have become familiar with. The TPMS helps to keep track of your vehicle's tire pressure, and warns you if it is running low.
Here are a few things to note when it comes to your tire pressure:
- Check your operation manual for guidance on what the ideal tire pressure is for your vehicle. This information can also be found on the side panel of your car door, inside the glove box, or even inside your fuel door.
- For every 10 degrees Fahrenheit the temperature drops outside, your tire pressure will decrease about 1 psi. This change in pressure will typically trigger your sensor light. Your tire's pressure will also increase in the same increments. Be sure to check your tire pressure often with the changing weather to ensure safe driving tire conditions.
- Driving on under-inflated tires can result in poor fuel economy, as well as poor performance in winter weather. Over-filling your tire with air can cause it to burst. This can be more common in the warmer months as the temperature increases rapidly.
- Do not rely on your eyes to tell you if your tires are under-filled or over-filled. Some tires are equipped with a "run-flat" feature. This means that even though the air pressure may be low, your tire appears and drives normally. It is best to do routine checks for your tire pressure.
- Once you have determined your ideal tire pressure, follow these simple steps to make sure you are within a safe range for driving:
- Unscrew the valve stem cap on your tire.
- Place your tire pressure gauge over the valve stem. You can purchase a simple gauge at most gas stations and stores that sell any vehicle maintenance supplies.
- Press the pressure gauge toward your tire. This should give you your reading. *Note - if you hear a hissing sound, you may not have the gauge secured tightly.
- If your tire pressure is within the recommended range, replace your valve stem cap. If your tires are running low, add air, and recheck.
Checking your tire pressure regularly is important for safer and more economic driving.