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How To Put Air In Tyres: Checking + Inflating At Home

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Properly inflated tyres will impact their lifespan and your driving abilities, but mistakes can happen. Here's how to put air in tyres correctly (and safely).

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  • How To Put Air In Tyres: Checking + Inflating At Home

Correct tyre pressure affects many aspects of your vehicle's performance, from braking distance, to tyre lifespan, steering accuracy, and fuel economy.

If your tyres are overinflated, this causes a weak grip on the road, damage to the sidewalls, and increased risk of accidents. If they're underinflated, they will be less responsive and wear down faster. What's more, driving with tyres below the legal tread depth (1.6mm) can land you a £2,500 fine and 3 penalty points against your license.

As such, checking and maintaining tyre pressure is both smart and cost effective. But how to put air in tyres correctly? Here are the correct, safe methods to employ at home or at a petrol station.

Checking Your Tyres

Before you can inflate your tyres, you must check their current air pressure. To do this, find a pressure gauge that uses the same unit of measurement as the pressure guidelines provided for your car. If you don't have one, nearly all petrol stations sell or include one in their self-service air pressure pumps.

The ideal tyre pressure for your vehicle can be found:

  • In your owner's manual
  • Marked as a value inside the fuel cap
  • On a manufacturer's sticker inside your vehicle

Tyre air pressure is measured in PSI (Pound per Square Inch) and will be the same for all four tyres. If you are towing or carrying a heavy load, you may need to increase the air pressure marginally. This will also be outlined in the owner's manual.

With the recommended tyre pressure in mind, check all four tyres against it.

  • On each tyre, remove the valve caps and keep them somewhere safe
  • Insert the pressure gauge into the tyre valve
  • Read the value
  • If you are at a petrol station, the air pump itself will come equipped with a gauge metre on it, which you can use instead.

If the tyre pressure is lower than the PSI for your vehicle, you'll need to add air. Conversely, if the pressure gauge reads higher than the recommended PSI, air should be removed.

Different Ways To Inflate Your Tyres

Depending on where you are, the equipment you have, and your tyre pressure, different methods could be needed to inflate your tyres. Here are the two standard approaches:

At A Petrol Station

If you are at an auto centre or petrol station, you can inflate the tyres by using their professional equipment. To add the air:

  • Insert the air pump into the tyre valve and squeeze the trigger
  • This should be done in short bursts for accuracy, and so you don't over-inflate the tyre
  • Keep squeezing the air pump trigger in short spurts until the PSI reading on the gauge matches the optimum value for your car

In contrast, if air needs to be removed and the pressure lowered:

  • Pull the nozzle of the air pump slowly out of the tyre valve to release the air
  • You will hear a sharp hissing noise as the air escapes — this is normal.
  • This process should also be done in little bursts to prevent all of the air from escaping the tyre
  • Keep gently moving the nozzle in and out of the valve until the PSI reading lowers to meet the recommended value

Once the tyre is as close to the ideal tyre PSI as you can get it, quickly replace the valve caps and move on to the next tyre. If you have the time, remember to inflate or deflate your spare tyre too. This may save you trouble if you break down.

At Home

Many people opt for a portable air pump that they can use at home, instead of driving to the petrol station. Follow the steps above, as if you were operating a usual air pump system.

As a pro-tip: Wherever you check your tyre pressures, make sure to do so when they are cold. This will help avoid inaccuracies. Since air expands when it is warm, the pressure of your tyres will be much higher if you take a reading as soon as you've finished driving, rather than if you wait for them to cool down for a few minutes.

Tyres Not Holding Air?

If your tyres aren't holding air, or you'd rather not inflate them yourself, book your car in for a free tyre inspection at your local Autofusion. In the meantime, if you have any questions, get in touch with us for competitive servicing and repair costs.