When getting ready for a road trip or your daily commute around, checking your vehicle’s tire pressure is absolutely critical. The vehicle’s tire should always have the right pressure to ensure you have a smooth ride.
Unfortunately, not many individuals know how to do so without gauge instruments. This is because not every car owner has a gauge, hence, it is necessary to know a variety of ways to check tire pressure. In this article, we explore how to check tire pressure without a gauge.
How to Check Tire Pressure Without a Gauge
The fastest way to check your tire pressure to give a rough estimate without a gauge is by eyeballing the tires or doing a hand pressure check.
1. Visual Confirmation
One popular technique to verify your tire pressure is to visually inspect the wheels for any irregularities. The car must be on a flat surface to use this method. Thoroughly inspect the tires to check if they have any bulges.
If there is a bulge of more than a centimeter on both sides, then your tire pressure is low, and you should pump the tires before getting behind the wheel.
2. Hand Pressure Technique
In situations where you are without a tire pressure gauge, you can check your car’s tire pressure using the hand pressure method.
When using this technique, push your hand down on the tire to check. If the pressure of the tire is low, it would appear and feel spongy and soft. The tire is overinflated if it feels too hard and you can’t even press down a small amount.
In a circumstance when it feels low, simply pump more air while gently monitoring it with your palm. If it’s overinflated, simply let a little air out till a tiny softness is felt. A slight push on the tires should be possible in the ideal situation.
Another hand pressure method to confirm how your tire pressure is is to utilize your thumb pressure. This procedure is identical to the hand pressure approach explained above, so simply follow the instructions while checking with your thumb.
3. Check The Tire’s PSI
Each vehicle comes with a specific PSI for the tires. This pound-force per square inch (PSI) is what indicates the exact amount of pressure your tire can take. This information is usually found in the driver’s manual or on the inside of the driver’s side door at the bottom. This is typically the lowest PSI that your tire should be filled to. You can, however, adjust the PSI as needed.
Many sedans and minivans, for example, have a recommended PSI of 27 to 32, but those tires can approach 40 if necessary. Pickup trucks and SUVs have a higher PSI than smaller cars, ranging from 4 to 10 PSI. Some vehicles have varying recommended PSI for the front and rear tires depending on the model.
4. Driving in The Mud Test
This method is quite uncommon, but it is quite effective. Follow these steps when you attempt to try the mud test:
- Apply a marking substance, such as ink to the tires.
- Then, with slight car movement, make a mark on the road.
- Make sure you’re doing this on a flat surface, such as pavement or a road.
- Now, look at the tire trail that has been created. The findings of the observation will be compared to the amount of time that was spent touching the surface.
- When compared to other trails, the trail formed with a tire with less air would be smeared and distinctive.
After this test, you can pump your tire as needed and repeat the test to be sure.
5. Trail Comparison Technique
All you have to do when using this method is to pour some water on the tires. Get the tires wet and drive on a dry surface. Make sure the tires complete one and a half rotations.
After this, get out of the vehicle and check the tires’ watermarks on the road. Compare every wheel to point out which one is protruding out of its size
6. Driving Experience
If you have been driving for a long time, you must have accumulated some information. You may have observed several signs while driving if you have low tire pressure.
Rough ride, noise while turning the wheel, and steering issues are some of the symptoms. If you observe any of these signs while driving, inflate the tire as soon as possible.
You can also test your tire pressure by putting some weight on the vehicle. In this situation, you should be looking for bulges. If you add weight to the car and the tire bulges more than 10%, then it’s time to fill it with air.
This is also dependent on how much weight your vehicle can transport. This can possibly cause the rear tires to be weighed down. If one side of your vehicle is heavier than the other side, you should add some air to the back tires just to even out the distribution of weight. Make sure to let out some of the extra air once you have moved the heavy load to return the tire’s PSI back to normal.
How Do I Know When My Tire Pressure is Low?
To make sure your car runs efficiently, there are some signs that indicate low pressure in tires. Knowing them will allow you to take immediate and corrective action. They include:
- Your vehicle feels as though the shock absorbers are bad or absent.
- The vehicle can experience some alignment issues.
- Your car feels different and spongy when turning. Low tire pressure can cause you to have issues with maneuvering the steering and turning.
- Your vehicle takes a long time to come to a halt. Tires with a lower pressure find it difficult to grip the pavement.
- You start to notice a lesser fuel economy than normal in your vehicle. A tire with lower pressure will exert more engine power and cause high fuel consumption to travel the same distance.
- You can hear a flapping sound while driving.
- Your vehicle’s tire pressure monitoring system should alert you if there is a reduction or other issues with your tire.
What Are The Dangers of Driving With an Incorrect Tire Pressure?
Your vehicle can either have underinflated or overinflated tires. While they might not seem like a big deal at first, you should always stick to driving with the car manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure levels. There are several dangers associated with driving with incorrect tire pressure. They include:
- Loss of control while in motion.
- Incorrect tire pressure can negatively affect your tire stability and the functions of the vehicle’s brake.
- Your tires can lose stability and grip functions.
- The wrong tire pressure can cause the tires to blow up with consistent use.
- You can experience reduced tire traction.
Should My Tires Lose Pressure?
Under normal circumstances, it is quite normal for tires to lose pressure. The several reasons for this include:
- This can occur due to the nature of the rubber. A tire loses between 1-3 PSI in a month. When the temperature outside drops, the tire pressure drops as well, because the air inside the tire shrinks as the temperature drops. The tire pressure also returns to normal as the tire heats up, so you don’t have to worry about refilling the tire.
- Your tires can lose pressure after a year of consistent use.
- A defective valve. Your tire can lose air in a matter of seconds if the valve is defective.
- When any sharp objects such as a nail become embedded in the vehicle’s tire.
- Driving rather fast over a high bump can also cause your tire to lose pressure.
- Inactivity can also cause your tire pressure to reduce.
When Should One Check the Tire Pressure?
Regardless of if you travel long trips or short distances, it is recommended that you check your tire pressure at least once a month. One other thing you should keep in mind is that the correct tire pressure differs according to the size of the tire and the vehicle.
To get the correct tire pressure, you should check the car manual. There are two types of tire inflation pressures considered overall: one for regular driving and another for cargo-loading vehicles.
How Do I Check My Tire’s PSI?
The unit for measuring a tire’s pressure is called the PSI, which stands for pounds per square inch. Typically, the value is on the tire side. You can also check this value by checking the jamb of your car as you open it. The PSI can also be found in the car’s manual.
Before embarking on a drive, regardless of the distance, make sure to always check your tire’s ideal pressure. You are safe to drive with the recommended PSI tire pressure.
After reading this article you should know how to check car tire pressure without a gauge. However, make sure that you are testing it correctly in accordance with our instructions. Check your tires on a regular basis, using the techniques outlined above, and enjoy a safe driving experience. You can also read on for more tips and tricks on using a car.