CARS.COM — While it may seem like a mundane task, inflating tires is much more crucial to your car than you may think, and it results in a safer and more economical experience on the road. Proper tire inflation can significantly improve the fuel economy of your vehicle. Your vehicle’s handling also will be greatly improved as the larger a tire’s inflated footprint, the more responsive and comfier the ride balance will be.
To find your tires’ proper inflation level, look for a sticker on the driver-side doorjamb. It displays the vehicle weight restriction and tire information including the recommended tire pressure. The info is also found in the maintenance or car-care section of your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
Don’t refer to the sidewall markings on your tires, which in part specify the maximum tire pressure — not the recommended pressure for your car.
Unless your tire is visibly flat, don’t judge tire inflation just by looking at it; you have to use a tire pressure gauge to get the correct pounds per square inch (PSI) reading. There are three types of tire-pressure gauges: digital, internal slide and dial. Prices range from $5 for a basic gauge to more than $30 for one that is digital, has an air-release button — or even talks. All will do the job, but you may want to consider the conditions in which you’ll be using your gauge. “We’ve found that low-cost digital pressure gauges are very accurate and maintain the accuracy longer, but in extremely cold temperatures the gauge may not show up properly,” said John Rastetter, Tire Rack’s director of tire information services.