How to Add Air to Your Tires

It’s easy to take the air pressure in your tires for granted. After all, as long as you get where you need to go without a flat or other problem, you may think there’s no reason to overanalyze how you arrived there. That doesn’t mean the air in your tires isn't important, however. There are many effects of having low air in your tires, such as your gas mileage suffering, handling becoming more erratic, and your tires will actually heat up, causing the tread to wear out faster. 

Here’s the proper way to add air to reap the benefits of properly pressurized tires:

  • Determine the pressure your tires require. Check the print on the side of the tire you are checking. There should be a number followed by psi (pounds per square inch) or kPa (kilo Pascals). If you live in the United States, pay attention to the number by psi. Those who live in countries utilizing the metric system, however, will normally note the number by kPa.  If you’re in doubt, just match the unit on your tire gauge. In the unlikely event that this information is not printed on your tire, look for a sticker on the inside of the driver’s door frame with this information or consult your owner’s manual.

  • Remove the cap on the tire’s valve stem. Unscrew the cap on the tire’s stem by twisting it counterclockwise until it comes off. Place the cap somewhere you can locate it easily, but not on the ground because it could easily roll away and get lost.

  • Press the indented portion on your tire gauge onto the stem. Don’t be surprised if a bit of air escapes as you adjust the gauge to fit firmly on the stem; it will stop once it is in place. 

  • Read the gauge to see how much pressure is inside your tire. On a standard tire gauge, a stick will pop out of the bottom, and the number where it stops indicates your tire’s current pressure. Digital gauges will display a numeral on an LED screen or other form of display. Subtract this number from your desired tire pressure to determine how much air needs to be added. 

  • Add air until you’ve reached the desired tire pressure. Most gas stations with air machines require you to deposit coins, but you may luck out and find a place offering free air. Regardless, once the air machine is running, place the nozzle over your tire’s valve stem like you did with your tire gauge. After adding a burst of air, check the pressure with your gauge and repeat as needed until the proper pressure has been achieved (within 5 psi or kPa). If you accidentally overfill your tire, simply press your gauge a little off-center onto the valve stem to allow some air to escape, and then check the pressure again. 

  • Replace the cap on the valve stem. The cap should go back in its proper place on the stem easily by turning it clockwise. Don’t worry about replacing the same cap on the tire stem It originally came from; the caps are compatible with all the stems.

  • Check your other three tires using the steps above. Even if it looks like just one of your tires is low, you should use this opportunity to ensure that all of your tires are inflated suitably at this time. 

As a general rule, you should check your tires on a monthly basis. This is because air can slowly escape even with the cap on the valve stem, and low tire pressure can be dangerous if left unchecked. 

Tip: Your pressure reading will be most accurate when your tires are cool, so perform your maintenance checks when your car has been sitting for a while (e.g., before leaving for work in the morning) or after driving no more than a mile or two to an air station.


Next Step

Schedule Car is getting worse gas mileage Inspection

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Car is getting worse gas mileage Inspection. Once the problem has been diagnosed, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 off as a credit towards the repair. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Recent Car is getting worse gas mileage Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(32)

Rating Summary
28
1
1
0
2
28
1
1
0
2

Manuel

32 years of experience
485 reviews
Manuel
32 years of experience
Toyota Matrix L4-1.8L - Car is getting worse gas mileage Inspection - Lake Forest, California
Manuel was very professional and gave a thorough diagnostic check with recommendations for my daughter’s car.

Kenneth

8 years of experience
24 reviews
Kenneth
8 years of experience
Honda Fit L4-1.5L - Car is getting worse gas mileage Inspection - Warrendale, Pennsylvania
Courteous, helpful, and explained everything without talking down. Also not willing to add on unnecessary repairs.

Andy

30 years of experience
27 reviews
Andy
30 years of experience
Honda Pilot V6-3.5L - Car is getting worse gas mileage - Boston, Massachusetts
Great service. Very knowledgeable and made every effort to show me what he was doing, the reasoning behind his recommendations and tips to better maintain my vehicle. Very friendly overall and went the extra mile at every step.

Theodore

16 years of experience
1424 reviews
Theodore
16 years of experience
Honda Fit L4-1.5L - Car is getting worse gas mileage - Bothell, Washington
Theo was honest and quick. The your mechanic in general is a convenient way to have your car inspected or repaired. I plan to use for my future services!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

How Do I Take Care of My New Tires?
You’ve You’ve equipped your car with a brand new set of tires, replacing the old set of worn out rubber. They were noisy, and every time you had to brake hard, you were losing traction. Now you’ve spent your hard-earned...
How Long Can You Drive on a Plugged or Patched Tire?
You made it! You got your punctured tire repaired before it became damaged any further. The technician fixed it, filled...
Top 10 Tire Safety Issues Every Car Owner Needs to Know
Car tires are vulnerable to punctures, flats, and other failures. If you see underinflation, overinflation, or uneven tire wear, get it it inspected.

Related questions

What is the recommended inflation pressure for my tires?

You should always inflate your tires to the to the proper pressure. This will increase the life of your tires, and the safety of your vehicle. The proper inflation pressure can be found on the tire and loading information label,...

Flat tire, not sure what to do

Hello, thanks for writing in. You should not drive the car on the flat tire or else you will ruin the tire and rim. You should have a spare tire in the trunk that can be put on in the...

I'm getting new tires installed but I can't afford an alignment for a week. Is that OK?

You should be fine. If you aren't having a problem with you steering veering to the left or right excessively, or a wear and tear problem then you will be fine. Even if you are having problems with the front...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com