Sunday, December 10, 2006

How to put air in your tires...

I have a brand new Suzuki SX4, and the "check tire pressure" light keeps going on in my car. On Friday, I was going to visit my friend Debbie for an artist's date about an hour away in the country, and I didn't want to find myself broken down in the zero-degree wind chill with a flat tire, so I took the car to the Mobil station to get gas & add air to the tires. Only one tire looked really low, so after getting gas, I asked the attendant if they had an air pressure thingy. She said, "yes, it's on the air pump." Okay, so really I meant to ask, "Where is the air pump?" I found it around the side of the station and parked next to it. Believe it or not, if you're not a customer, YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR AIR. I had just purchased gas, so I knew the air would be free- lucky me - but I had to return to tell the same attendant that I needed her to turn on the air pump. She did. I returned to my car, and proceeded to do what I had seen done by various men. I detached the hose and unscrewed the valve on my tire, and connected the two. In less than a minute, my tire was almost completely flat, because in all the years of watching others use the air thingy, I had never noticed that they TURN ON THE AIR. So I was actually letting air out of my tire. Fortunately, a man waiting to ADD air to is tire came to my rescue, and I asked him to show me how it's done. I am posting these instructions for any woman who, after years of driving, still doesn't know how to do this. I think we should know some of the most basic skills if we're going to operate motor vehicles...

Let's assume that the air is free...
1. Look on the side of your tire for the number that indicates how many pounds of air your tire is supposed to have. Mine is 51 pounds. You don't want to go over this number or you can explode your tire.
2. Push the big black ON button. You'll hear a compressor turn on.
3. Remove the cap on your tire valve.
4. Press the compressor hose to the tire valve, and press the handle next to the nozzle of the hose.
5. To check the pressure, release the nozzle handle, and look at the number that pops up on the gauge. Keep checking until you have a pound or two under the maximum allowance.
6. Screw the valve cap back on your tire.
Leave with more dignity than I did on Friday.

9 comments:

Maureen said...

I have become somewhat of an expert of my own at ADDing air to my tires. This since I've been divorced and since I've owned my 2004 Ford Explorer that has the light that tells you when to add air. In fact, I did it this morning on my way to work. FYI, Stewart's Shops have free air and you don't have to press any "on" button at the one I used today. Hope this helps, your friend Maureen - :)

Liz Ness said...

This is so important! I'm glad you posted it, because I know there are lots of people that don't know how to do this (or that you should stay within the recommended limits on the tire)!

Lil Sisser said...

Believe it or not I actually also did this exact thing once. I however decided to "show them" and drive around with a flat tire for a few days after I let the air out of the tire by trying to fill it. I then had a friend tell me how this process works.

Love ya Sisser!! xoxo

DEW said...

Kerri, Kerri, Kerri, what am I to do with you? :). FYI the number that you quoted is the maximum pressure for maximum load (which is also indicated). You don't want to fill to this pressure because 1) you don't have a max load, 2) the car won't ride as well and 3) most importantly, you are stressing your tires - that is the pressure they fill the tire to look for leaks. Typical pressures for passager cars and even light truck tires are typically in the 30 to 35 lb range. Even when we pull our big horse trailer they recommend that we don't fill the truck tires to maximum load because it affects the handling - less rubber on the road means less stopping power - and we're more likely to get a blow out because of the stress to the tires. Look inside your driver's side door for a tire plackard with the recommended pressures - some note a pressure difference between front and back tires typically for trucks in towing configurations. Note that it indicates pressure measured when tires are cold - which means before you've driven on them for a long time. Tires heat up as you drive on them which increases the pressure in the tire. So, go let some air out of those tires NOW girl! And I'll stop being bossy - at least for now. :D Love ya! (or I wouldn't bother nagging you!!)

DEW said...

PS - As an example, our truck tires are rated to 65lbs and we run them 38lbs when the truck is empty and only up them to 45 when towing (and then that is the back tires only). When we tow the goose neck trailer a fair percentage of the 10,000 lb weight is on those back tires and they are still only filled to 45 - see why you don't need 51!

kerrip said...

...I should have updated my blog with the end of this story... debbie is exactly right. I brought the car to the dealership where they told me that the tires should have 32 pounds - not 50. So needless to say, they let the air out of my tires... still there might be a problem, as the light is back on a week later. ugh.

Anonymous said...

thanks all... I was about to have an anxiety attak because my tires need air. I did not understand procedures before reading this.

just a note..for those challenged like me
I bought these caps at kmart that tell how much your air pressure is at ....they replace your tirecaps are clear and display a number for the pressure...I will fit them soon but since I can't tell by looking at them or by the ride...I thought wow what a great idea....cost about 15.00

Dustin DuFault said...

"Kerri, Kerri, Kerri, what am I to do with you? :). FYI the number that you quoted is the maximum pressure for maximum load (which is also indicated). You don't want to fill to this pressure because 1) you don't have a max load, 2) the car won't ride as well and 3) most importantly, you are stressing your tires - that is the pressure they fill the tire to look for leaks. Typical pressures for passager cars and even light truck tires are typically in the 30 to 35 lb range. Even when we pull our big horse trailer they recommend that we don't fill the truck tires to maximum load because it affects the handling - less rubber on the road means less stopping power - and we're more likely to get a blow out because of the stress to the tires. Look inside your driver's side door for a tire plackard with the recommended pressures - some note a pressure difference between front and back tires typically for trucks in towing configurations. Note that it indicates pressure measured when tires are cold - which means before you've driven on them for a long time. Tires heat up as you drive on them which increases the pressure in the tire. So, go let some air out of those tires NOW girl! And I'll stop being bossy - at least for now. :D Love ya! (or I wouldn't bother nagging you!!)"

+1
51 PSI is likely way too much. Check the inside of the door, or if not there for sure in the owners manual near the back.

allegracb@gmail.com said...

Thank you for this article. It was helpful to me. I added air to my tires and left with dignity. :o)
-Allegra