Keep Accurate Tire Pressure

Monday, April 9, 2012 by Alex Mouroulis

Many people don't consider the role tires play on their vehicle. Your tires make contact with the road and the total contact area is about the size of a sheet of paper. Tire sidewalls are extremely pliable and soft; the entire load of your vehicle is carried by the air that fills the tires.

For every 10-degree Fahrenheit shift in ambient air temperature, you can expect a fluctuation of 1 psi in tire pressure. Also, you'll lose on average 1 psi per month just from regular driving. A high quality air gauge or tread depth gauge will help you maintain accurate pressures, maximize your vehicle's tire wear and fuel efficiency.
 

Accutire Digital Set Point
Accutire Digital Set Point Programmable Air Gauge
Dill Digital Tread Depth
Dill Digital Tread Depth
Gauge
Intercomp Deluxe 4 inch
Intercomp Deluxe 4" Air Pressure Gauge


It's important that you adjust your air pressure in the morning before you drive more than a few miles, or before rising ambient temperatures or the sun's radiant heat affects it. For more information on the importance of maintaining sufficient air pressure, read "Air Pressure, Temperature Fluctuations."

The Effect Time and Temperature Have on Your Tire's Air Pressure

Friday, January 6, 2012 by Hunter Leffel
Air Pressure, Temperature FluctuationsTo help protect your investment, properly inflated tires will provide your vehicle with great service and long life. Time and temperature are not your friend when it comes to maintaining optimal pressure. As tires are used, the rubber they're made of stretches and conforms to the road with each rotation. This stretching results in about 1 psi of lost air pressure over the course of a month. For example, if your vehicle calls for 32 psi and you do not add air to your tires over a six-month period you could lose almost 20% in air pressure.

Additionally, the fluctuation in temperature also impacts your tire's psi. The rule of thumb is for every 10 degree Fahrenheit change in ambient temperature, your tire's inflation pressure will change by about 1 psi (up with higher temperatures and down with lower). This means that a properly inflated tire at 85 degrees could lose approximately 5 psi if the temperature were to drop to freezing (32 degrees). To gain a better understanding of how temperature affects your tire's air pressure, read "Air Pressure, Temperature Fluctuations."

As you can tell, frequently checking your tire's pressure is time well spent to ensure optimal performance and wear. Proper inflation helps drivers avoid uneven wear and tire sidewall damage in extreme low pressure situations.

Maintaining sufficient air pressure is required if your tires are going to provide the handling, traction and durability of which they're capable, so take a look at the air and tread depth gauges available so you can monitor your tire's air pressure.

Affordable Tire Gauges from Accutire

Wednesday, January 4, 2012 by Marshall Wisler
With winter in full swing and temperatures dropping across the nation, it's never been more important than now to carefully monitor your tire pressure.

Underinflated tires cause vehicle imbalance, promote irregular wear and can cause load-carrying capacity issues. When the temperature drops, the air inside your tires naturally contracts at a rate of about 1 psi per 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, it is natural for air pressure to permeate through the tire's rubber sidewall at an additional rate of approximately 1 psi per month regardless of temperature. 

Accutire GaugesThis means that if you had set your tire pressure at 36 psi on a 70 degree summer day (six months ago) and the pressure has since dropped to 30 degrees, your tires at this moment could have as little as 26 psi in them.

Checking your tire pressure on a monthly basis takes only a few moments and keeps you and your family protected during these cold winter months.

A wide array of tire pressure gauges are available at several price points including the cost-effective Accutire Digital Pencil Air Gauge and the extremely accurate Accutire Racing Air Gauge that measures to 1/10th a pound of psi pressure.

Snow Tires Part 2: How to Make Your Winter / Snow Tires Last

Friday, December 16, 2011 by Alex Mouroulis
Now that you have taken the plunge and made an investment in safety, let's talk about how to maximize the life of your winter / snow tires. Snow tires are truly different, so consider the following factors to ensure you get all you can from your investment.

Winter tires use the same pressure as shown on your door's placard. The key is to set it in the coldest temperatures outside that you will be driving in -  first thing in the morning before you drive and not in the sun. I do this by leaving all my garage doors open for a few hours. Also, I fill and drain my compressor each time it's used. An alternative if you don't want to freeze your garage out is to add a few extra pounds of air pressure to each tire. And, since many vehicle's owner's manuals recommend operating winter tires several psi higher than recommended, read "Higher Tire Pressures for Winter Driving."

Snow tires are soft. You'll want to rotate them regularly and usually more often than your all-season tires. If you're looking for a mile schedule, I rotate mine every 2,500-3,000 miles. I like to keep my winter / snow tires wearing out at the exact same time and matching treadwear keeps them as quiet as possible. The moment I see a 1/32" deviation between axles, I rotate them - you could say I measure tread depth often! Metal tread depth gauges are awesome and that's what I like to use. However, they can tend to get expensive, so if you are looking for something that works well at a great price, take a look at the Dill Digital Tread Depth Gauge.

Rotation Pattern

Designed to stay in contact with the snow and ice, winter / snow tires need to be connected to be effective. As it's not necessary to carry momentum when you have grip, you can reduce the vehicle's wheel spin. My car has Haldex four-wheel drive, the minute my traction light flashes I respond. I pull much larger vehicles out of snow drifts and ditches at less than 2 mph. Remember, keep that connected feeling.  

Each tire manufacturer has their appropriate temperature cutoff, as snow tires wear faster in warm weather. My rule of thumb is 50 degrees Fahrenheit, when the temperature regularly is around this mark, I consider taking the tires off.

Since measuring your tire pressure is so important, be sure to take a look at our selection of air and tread depth gauges.

Cold Weather is Here, Check Your Tire Pressure

Monday, October 24, 2011 by Ben Rooney
Intercomp Air Pressure GaugeAs we transition to cooler weather in much of the Northern Hemisphere, now is a good time to check your tire pressure. Tire pressures are set at ambient temperature, and a 10 degree drop in ambient temperature drops your tire pressure roughly 1 psi. So a tire that was set perfectly at 75 degrees would automatically be 3 psi lower at 45 degrees. A little air always escapes over time, and with our busy lives we often neglect checking tire pressure. Between a drop in temperature and a month of neglect, a tire can easily be 5 psi lower than normal or more before you know it. 

For details on how to properly set your tire pressure, read "Air Pressure: When and How to Set."

I just picked up a new Intercomp 2.5" Deluxe Air Pressure Gauge (pictured at left) to help me keep track of my tire pressure. It is easy to use, solidly constructed and made in the USA. The handy bleed valve lets me simplify filling my tires. I put in a little more air pressure than I need, then bleed it down to the exact pressure that I want. No trial and error of adding and letting out air and checking multiple times, just fill, check, bleed and be done. 

Accuracy with Intercomp

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
In September 2010, the California Air Resources Board issued state regulations that require all tire and vehicle service centers in the state to check and correct the inflation of all passenger vehicle tires on vehicles they service. The law further requires that tire and auto service providers have and utilize tire gauges that are accurate within +/- 2 psi. On average, tires will loose 1 psi of air pressure per month due to normal permeation loss. Tires can also loose 1 psi of air pressure for every 10 deg F drop in air temperature.
Intercomp 4" Deluxe Air Pressure Gauge
At Tire Rack we feel that the use of tire air pressure gauges with greater accuracy is merited, as air pressure checks are critical for all tires.

When selecting a dial type pressure gauge, the average pressures you check should be in the middle third of the total gauge range for the greatest accuracy. The range of pressures most often required for standard load automotive tires is between 28 and 35 psi.

The Intercomp 4" Deluxe Air Pressure Gauge is accurate to within +/- 2% between 20 and 40 psi. Even the bottom and top third of the gauge is accurate to within +/-3%. The gauge measures air pressure between 0-60 psi in 1 psi increments.

The Intercomp 4" Deluxe Air Pressure Gauge features a high quality thumb-operated pressure release, for quick and accurate adjustments. The swivel nozzle attached to the end of the 17" Goodyear hose allows for easy access from any angle while the hose stays flexible in all temperatures. The glow-in-the-dark face offers high visibility with major and minor graduation marks.

You deserve greater air pressure accuracy, with Tire Rack and Intercomp, it's easily attainable.

How Tire Pressure Impacts Treadwear

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 by Logan Woodworth
Tire wear is often misunderstood by even seasoned drivers. Most people understand that improper tire rotation and wheel misalignment are the leading causes of premature treadwear. However, what is often overlooked is how tire pressure impacts the tread life of tires.

As underinflated tires run with pressure that is below the specified setting, they wear faster on the shoulder due to the additional load being placed on the shoulders of the tires. Also, underinflated tires by only 6 psi can build up internal heat that increase rolling resistance and can cause a reduction in fuel economy of up to 5%. As tires lose air pressure, drivers will experience a significant loss of steering precision and cornering stability.

One thing to remember is that it is very difficult to spot underinflation without an air pressure gauge. Take a look at the photo below to see how an underinflated tire compares to a properly inflated tire to the naked eye:

Can you easily identify which tire is 30% underinflated? Here is what they would look like in the morning parked in your garage.
UnderinflatedCorrectly Inflated
Tough to tell; isn't it? Tire pressure must be checked with a quality air gauge as the inflation pressure cannot be accurately estimated through visual inspection.

Less common than underinflation, overinflation will cause a tire to wear faster in the middle of the tire. This is due to the "ballooning" effect that occurs when a tire has too much air. Some drivers incorrectly inflate their tires to the maximum pressure listed on the sidewall. If a vehicle's tires are overinflated by 6 psi, they could be damaged more easily when running over potholes or debris in the road. The most common place to find the proper tire pressure for your vehicle is the sticker on the inside of the driver door or inside the gas filler door.

For a better understanding on how to maximize the life of your tires, read "Tire Rotation Instructions," "Alignment" and "Air Pressure: When and How to Set."

TPMS Regulations and State Inspections

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 by Logan Woodworth

Tire Pressure Monitoring SystemsA tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is an electronic system designed to monitor the air pressure inside the pneumatic tires on various types of vehicles. This system reports real-time tire pressure information to the driver of the vehicle, either via a gauge, a LED display or a warning light. Maintaining proper tire pressure is critical for driver safety as well as maximizing tire tread life.

In October 2000, United States legislation enacted the TREAD Act (Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation). This Act mandated the use of TPMS in all light motor vehicles (under 10,000 pounds), to help alert drivers to severe tire under-inflation. This act affects all light motor vehicles sold after September 1, 2007.

Although vehicle manufacturers are now required to install TPMS sensors in new vehicles, there has been some confusion on whether or not drivers are required to keep their TPMS active. Although most states have not mandated the TPMS remain active, there are at least four states that currently require vehicles manufactured after October 2007 to have properly functioning tire pressure monitoring systems. These states include Hawaii, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia and verification of proper TPMS function is part of the annual vehicle inspection.

Take a look at "State TPMS Regulations" to help confirm restrictions in your area.

Benefits of Nitrogen...Yay or Nay?

Friday, August 5, 2011 by Hunter Leffel
At the installer I was handed a pamphlet explaining that nitrogen filled tires will save the dolphins. Is filling my tires with nitrogen going to actually do what the pamphlet explained:Clearing the Air About Nitrogen Tire Inflation
  1. Longer tire life
  2. Smoother, quieter ride
  3. More even tread wear
  4. Better gas mileage
Let’s take a step back for a minute and look at the differences between standard air and nitrogen. The atmosphere is just under 80% nitrogen. Therefore, you are paying for that last 20%. Is it worth it?

The difference between standard air and pure nitrogen basically comes down to predictability and air permeation. Pure nitrogen is more predictable in its fluctuation (or change) of tire pressure across different temperatures.  This is very helpful if you drive your vehicle at an autocross event or race track because you can plan for changes in pressure based on temperature. For the other 99.9% of us this strength doesn't matter. The air permeation (or how quickly the air escapes the tire by natural means) is roughly half the rate with pure nitrogen vs. shop air. This relates to losing about .5 psi a month with nitrogen, versus about 1 psi a month with standard air.
 Accutire ABS Coated Air Gauge
So in conclusion, it would be beneficial for you to spend the money instead on a good air gauge for the garage and glove box, and really make it a point to stay on top of air pressure in your fleet of vehicles. That would serve you the best and probably save you money in the long run as proper tire inflation will give you longer and even tread wear, an improved ride and better fuel economy. Check out "Clearing the Air About Nitrogen Tire Inflation" or contact one of our sales specialists for more information.

Remember to Check Your Tire Inflation Pressure

Monday, July 25, 2011 by Gary Stanley
Most drivers these days understand that it is important to monitor the tire pressure in their tires. Some problems that improperly inflated tires can cause include:
  • Reduced fuel economy
  • Irregular and/or rapid tire treadwear
  • Reduced braking traction
  • Tire failure from under-inflation
  • Reduced corning traction and emergency handling
The good old days of simply kicking a tire sidewall to ensure it is properly inflated are over (and have been for a long time). In fact, with today's lower profile tires and tires with stiffer construction methods, not even a seasoned tire expert like myself can see if a tire is at the correct air pressure by simply looking at the tire. Many performance and run-flat tires could be under-inflated by 25% or more and not look any different from a properly inflated tire! Therefore, be sure to use a quality tread depth gauge to check your air pressure. And to better understand the importance of maintaining correct tire inflation pressure, read "Air Pressure - Correct, Underinflated and Overinflated."
Accutire Digital Set Point Programmable Air Gauge w/Light
It's recommended that you check your tire's air pressure at least once a month, and before any long trip. Who really marks their calender each month with a reminder to check tire pressure? Not many. However, you can use your smart phone to set up a reminder each month to make sure you check your pressure. And if that doesn't work, use the time at the gas station when you pull over to fill up to monitor the air pressure in your tires.

View all air and tread depth gauges.

Accutire Air Gauges: Which One is Best?

Saturday, June 4, 2011 by Ben Rooney
Accutire Racing Air GaugeProper inflation helps tires last longer, as well as improve the fuel economy and handling of your vehicle. Modern vehicles have TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems), which sound an alarm when a tire is significantly low. So an air gauge is still an important piece of equipment for any driver, but which one is right for you? Sometimes too many choices can seem overwhelming. Within just one brand, Accutire, we have several tire gauges available. While they all work well, they do have different features to distinguish them from each other.

The Digital Set Point Programmable Air Gauge is our best-seller. It can be programmed to remember your vehicle's recommended pressures, has a clean, ergonomic design and is moderately priced. If you are still on the fence after researching all the options, this is the one to choose.

The ABS Coated Air Gauge has the highest maximum pressure reading of 150 psi. Its design is rugged and utilitarian. The readout on the side means you do not have to change your grip to read the pressure. If you like to keep things simple, this is your gauge.

The Digital Pencil Air Gauge has the slim design of an old, stick-style gauge, but is updated to incorporate an easy-to-read digital display. On the back end, it has a tread depth gauge, giving this gauge the ability to measure two key aspects of a tire's road-worthiness. It is the least expensive of the Accutire gauges. If you have limited space or budget, this multi-function gauge is an excellent choice. Are you obsessive about air pressure?

The Racing Air Gauge may be your match. It measures pressure all the way down to zero in 0.1 psi increments.  It has a bleed valve to allow precise release of excess pressure. This gauge is a step up in price, but is worth it for those who race, or who want the most exact measurement and control of their tires' air pressure.

Check your tires tread depth with an Accutire gauge.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 by Gary Stanley
While you're itching to put those summer tires back on, make sure to check the condition of your warm season tires before driving on them!

Check for :
  • Adequate tread depth - Most street tires start with 10/32" of tread depth. When the tire's tread depth is below 4/32" drivers will begin to lose sufficient wet traction. And once the tire's tread has worn down to 2/32", the tire is considered legally worn out.
  • Uneven wear - If you find areas of the tread that are more worn than others, you may want to have your alignment checked.

  • Air Pressure - After your tires have been installed, check your tire's air pressure with an accurate air pressure gauge. Take a look at Accutire tread depth gauges, as they are designed to provide precise readings every time.

Accutire Digital Pencil Air Gauge

Checking Tire Pressure

Thursday, April 7, 2011 by Tire Rack Team
Intercomp 2.5" Deluxe Air Pressure GaugeAre you checking your tire’s air pressure?

The Tire Rack Street Survival teen driving schools are developed to provide a controlled environment for young drivers to learn car control through experiencing their vehicles’ handling and stopping capabilities. One year we decided to do a test and got out our air gauge to measure the tire pressure on the participants’ vehicles as they arrived for the hands-on driving school. And the results showed that only 59 of 280 tires checked were correctly inflated!

For more information on checking tire pressure, read:

“We’re Checking Who’s Checking Tire Pressures”

NOTE: Tire Rack offers air gauges from Intercomp and Accutire to help ensure your automobile tires are always properly inflated.

Accutire Air Gauge

Thursday, March 31, 2011 by Tire Rack Team
Accutire Air GaugesIf your tires are going to provide the handling, traction and durability they are capable of, then maintaining proper air pressure is required.

Many drivers spend money on new springs or buy car battery, but forget about something as simple as periodically checking their tire’s air pressure. Adjusting the tire inflation pressure to the “right” inflation pressure helps ensure there are no sacrifices to your tire’s performance.

Remember, you can’t set tire pressure and then forget about it. Consider an air gauge from Accutire, as they accurately measure air pressure within +/- .5 psi and are easy to read.

Accutire air gauges are backed by a 5-year warranty and include lifetime lithium batteries.

View all Accutire products here.

Check Your Pressure

Friday, February 4, 2011 by Colin .
With cold temperatures dominating our forecasts, it is important to monitor your tire's air pressure. Tire Rack offers a variety of air gauges to meet your needs.

Accutire Digital Set Point - Allows you to store your vehicle's pressure information and incorporates a small flashlight at the top of the gauge.


Accutire Digital Set Point™ Programmable Air Gauge w/Light

If you are looking for something smaller, consider:


Accutire Digital Pencil Air Gauge


Accutire Digital Pencil Air Gauge
and the Accutire ABS Coated Air Gauge

Accutire ABS Coated Air Gauge
Remember, monitoring your tire's air pressure will help ensure the best fuel efficiency and tire wear for your vehicle.

Extreme Weather and Your Tires

Thursday, January 27, 2011 by Cody Rollins
Winter Tire PressureWhen was the last time you checked your tire's air pressure? If the answer is some time last season, get the air pressure gauge out and take an accurate reading. Did you know your tire pressure can dip 1 psi for every 10ºF drop in temperature. The change in air temperature could mean your tire's air pressure is significantly lower than the recommended amount.

Winter Tire PressureA properly pressured tire is better suited to deal with slush and snow as its contact patch is working at its peak efficiency. It is important to note that if you take the reading in a warmer garage, consider adding three to five psi higher than recommended, as the car will be operating outside the insulated garage.

For more winter tire pressure tips check out this tech article.

As Temperatures Fluctuate, So Does Your Tire's Air Pressure

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 by Henry Carlson
During winter months the temperature can be 40 degrees Fahrenheit one day and below zero just a few days latter.

A change of 10 degrees Fahrenheit in air temperature will change your tire's inflation by about one psi (up with higher temperatures and down with lower).

You might think that your tires support the wieght of your vehicle, but they do not. It's the air pressure inside them. Maintaining proper air pressure is a must if your tires are to provide the best handling, traction and durability.

We have several excellent air pressure gauges to help you maintain proper psi and ensure the best performance and safety your tires can provide.

Check Those Tire Pressures!

Monday, September 20, 2010 by Roger Laughlin
It's recommended that you check your tire pressures on a regular basis to help your vehicle deliver the highest possible fuel economy and longest tire life. Tire Rack features Accutire digital air gauges to make it a snap to check your tire pressures. Some of the more popular models are shown below.

Digital Set Point Programmable Air Gauge w/Light

Picture od Accutire's Digital Set Point
Digital Pencil Air Gauge
Picture of Accutire's Digital Pencil Air Gauge
ABS Coated Air Gauge
Picture of Accutire's ABS Coated Air Gauge
Visit Tire Rack, make your selection and start improving your fuel economy and extending the life of your tires today!

Spare Tires

Friday, September 10, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
Have you checked your spare tire lately? Flat tires happen, usually without warning, so it's absolutely essential that you give your spare tire some attention on a regular basis. For starters, make sure you know how to install a spare tire on your vehicle. It can be tricky, but your Owner's Manual should provide all of the instruction you need. Once you get it down to a science, make sure you check the air pressure in your spare on a regular basis. A flat spare won't do you any good. Again, your vehicle's Owner's Manual should tell you exactly how much air should be in your spare. Tire Rack offers a number of suitable tire pressure gauges that simplify the process.

And since we're on the topic of spare tires, did you know that not all spare tires are alike? They actually come in a variety of different forms that usually depend on your vehicle. Let's take a look:

Full-Size Matching Spare Tire and Wheel: It requires the most storage space, but is an exact replica of your existing tire and wheel set. Integrate it into your tire rotation schedule from the beginning to assure proper tread wear. And unlike the following spare tire types, you can drive on this spare tire as long as the tread is acceptable.

Full-Size Temporary Spare: Despite the fact that a full-size temporary spare matches your vehicle's original tire dimensions, it isn't the same in terms of tread depth and weight. These spares are lighter, which makes the tire easier to install. In addition, it comes premounted on a steel wheel.

Compact Temporary Spares:
This is the short and narrow type, which takes up less space in your trunk but doesn't offer the tread you'd need to drive a significant amount of miles. It's a temporary fix, indeed. And one that shouldn't be used on any vehicle other than the one it comes with.

Folding Temporary Spare:
 How does a tire fold? Well, when there isn't any air in it, it can fold up quite nicely to save space. But generally not time as you'll need to inflate a folding temporary spare should the need for it arise.

Under Pressure?

Friday, July 30, 2010 by Grant Edwards

It is no secret that today's drivers demand performance from their tires.  Load capacity, traction control and temperature durability are all critical factors when selecting your tires. However, none of these performance aspects matter if you do not maintain the correct tire inflation (PSI) for the tires on your vehicle.

Ensuring that you have the correct PSI is one of the best practices you can do to maintain the overall value and longevity of your tires. Keeping your PSI at the proper levels will maximize your tire's performance characteristics, optimize your fuel economy and keep your expected driving experience in tact.

At Tire Rack, we offer a multitude of PSI monitoring devices to help you monitor your tires. On our Air and Tread Depth Gauges page, we provide an extensive list of Intercomp Pressure Gauges and Accutire Air Gauges for your convenience. These devices will help you maintain your tires and keep you safe and satisfied.

Here are some examples:

Intercomp 2.5" Deluxe Air Pressure Gauge




Acccutire ABS Coated Air Gauge