Car Tire Pressure: What is the Correct Tire Pressure?

Car Tire Pressure

If you’ve noticed that your driving has been a little bit sluggish recently, or your mileage is lower than normal, then the tires might be to blame. Even when you’re behind the wheel, you may feel like you’re driving a little bit lower than normal. Usually, when your vehicle feels lower and sluggish, there’s a problem with your tire pressure. Making sure that your tires are at the correct pressure is important for good gas mileage and for the best performance out of your vehicle. Having deflated tires means that your gas mileage is lower, and your vehicle will lack performance.

How to Find the Recommended Tire Pressure

There’s a recommended tire pressure for every vehicle and this is normally located on the jamb of the door. This is the specification set by the manufacturer and it lets you know the correct tire pressure that your vehicle should be at when you’re driving. If you don’t maintain your vehicle enough, it’s normal to experience low tire pressure. You need to make sure that you’re constantly checking the tire pressure unless you’re going to be dealing with deflated tires often.

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On newer vehicles, the specification for the tire pressure is located inside the jamb on the driver’s door – if not, it can be found on the owner’s manual. The normal recommendation for a vehicle is between 32 psi and 35 psi when the weather is cold. Checking your tire pressure when it’s cold means that heat hasn’t falsely expanded in the tires causing them to be more inflated than normal. When the weather is hot, the heat can cause the tire to be more inflated than normal and this will give you false reads. Testing in cold weather means that you’ll get the most accurate reading and you won’t have to deal with the tire going to its normal shape once the air has contracted again.

When looking for the correct pressure to inflate your tires, you need to make sure that you don’t look at the specification on the tire itself because this is the reading for the maximum pressure the tire can be. The correct pressure the tire should be will be located on the owner’s manual or the door jamb. If you over-inflate your tires, they’ll be at the wrong pressure, and chances are they’ll deflate over a period of time. Overinflation makes your car bouncy and it messes up the handling whereas driving with underinflated tires can make the handling feel slugging and it’ll increase the wear rate on the tire.

Wear can include sidewall tire damage which can be diagnosed by a bump on the side of the tire or it can cause other damaged such as shoulder damage. Neither of these are good for your tire as they’re going to affect the longevity of them, and you’ll be forced to replace them at a faster rate.

Normal Tire Pressure

If you’re going to inflate your tires, it’s always better to over-inflate them slightly than to inflate them to the recommended pressure or anything smaller. If the tire is older, then the middle of the tire tread could wear out when you’ve put in too much pressure. If your tires are newer, however, they’re less likely to be worn down because of them being over inflate.

The normal pressure for your tires should be around 32 psi to 35 psi but you’ll need to look at the specification manual to get the correct measurement. If you go over this, you’re not going to notice much but if you go under, you’ll notice that the tire gets worn down more quickly. To assist you, you should use a car tire pump (View on Amazon) to get the correct psi or the right bar. On some vehicles when the tire pressure isn’t at the required amount, a warning message is shown which indicated that the tire pressure is too low. To fox this, you’ll need to inflate the tires a bit more. Make sure that this is done when the tire is cold unless you’ll be receiving a false reading.

Inflation for aftermarket tires

If you use tires that aren’t the factory default ones for your tires originally, then you should go to the manufacturer you purchased from and you should ask for a tire pressure chart for their tires specifically. Since their tires aren’t going to be the same as the ones that came with your vehicle, they’re going to have a slightly different recommended tire pressure. Even if you weren’t able to get the tire pressure chart, sometimes you can test inflating the tires to the recommended amount and you should check if the TPMS or warning light comes on notifying that the tire pressure is too low. There are some good benchmarks you should know when you’re inflating your tires you’re not paranoid that you’re not inflating them to the correct amount.

  • Small cars with a size of 195/55 – 15 should be around 30 psi or 2.1 bar.
  • Medium sidecar with a tire size of roughly 195/55 – 16 should be around 36 psi or 2.5 bar.
  • A large-sized car with a tire size of 265/45 – 18 should be around 42 psi or 2.9 bar.

Don’t drive with low tires!

You should make sure that you never drive with low tires because there are some consequences. When you drive with low tires, you’re going to be causing more wear on the tire and the rim is going to be damage. You’ll probably have to use up more fuel because your tire pressure won’t be rolling at the right RPM and the vehicle will be harder to control at higher speeds. It’s important that you make sure you’re maintaining your car tires because this will decrease the wear rate and it’ll prolong the life of the tire saving you tire from having to visit the mechanic all the time.

If you want to avoid tire problems or other issues and save $100s of dollars that you’ll spend at the auto repair shop, you’ll need to service your vehicle often – you can use our mechanic-rated Auto Maintenance and Repair Manual to do this. It’s basically what mechanics use to go through your vehicle to check if there are any problems that need fixing. As soon as they notice the most minor problem, they’ll ask you to fork out some money even though it’s a problem you can fix yourself in minutes – the manual will teach you how to maintain your vehicle every few thousand miles and it’ll teach you how to fix minor problems that mechanics will ask you to pay for; saving you money in the long run.

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How to Fix Tire Pressure

If you have low tire pressure, there are a few steps that you can follow so that you make sure that the tire pressure is at the right amount.

1. the first thing you need to do is to check the correct tire pressure for your vehicle. On most vehicles, the correct tire pressure will be located on the jamp on the driver’s side and this will let you know what you should inflate your tires to. If you can’t find it here, you can look at the manufactures website or you can check on the specification manual.

2. You can get a car tire pump (View on Amazon) if you want to maintain your tires frequently or you can go to a local air pump which can either be found at a filling station or the local dealership. You might be charged a small fee for this depending on how many minutes you use it for.

3. Find the valve stem for the tire and remove them – this is the bit that sticks out of the tire towards the rim. Make sure that you leave this in a safe place so that you don’t lose it. Once the stem is off, you should worry about air escaping because it’s a valve.

4. Put the pumps hose onto the valve and you should hear a little sot of air burst out. Start to pump the tires and for everything 3 seconds, the tires should have inflated by 1 PSI. Some pumps will allow you to reprogram the system meaning that an alarm will sound automatically when the cycle is done.

5. if you’ve accidentally overinflated the tires, you’ll need to let some air out the back of the hose. You can press the middle of the valve stem to allow some air out. For every three seconds that the pin is pushed down, the tire should lose the amount 1 psi.

6. once the hose is removed, you should put the valve stem back on.

Tire Pressure Sensor Fault

When your tire is low, you may receive a message on the dashboard saying tire pressure sensor fault. This is an electronic system that’s designed to measure the pressure of the air that’s inside your tires. The TPMS reports in real time the tire pressure of your vehicle and this can either be via the gauge, pictogram display, or the low-pressure warning light.

When the tire pressure sensor fault light comes on, it means that your tire pressure is too low or too high. To check what’s wrong with the tire pressure, you should use a professional OBD2 scanner (View on Amazon). This tool will allow you to look up the error code on the scanner, whilst a standard OBD2 scanner tool will force you to look up the error codes meaning in your car’s manual. With this tool, you can scan the TPMS control unit and read the error code on the scanner to see what the problem is with your TPMS unit.

How to Reset the TPMS

Professional OBD2 Scanner – If you want to reset the TPMS light that shows on your dashboard, you can use a few methods. One good method you can use is the professional OBD2 scanner. Professional OBD2 scanners are so advanced that they can do multiple things for your vehicle and you won’t have to buy separate equipment each time you have a problem with your car. Some diagnostic tools will allow you to reset the tire pressure light so that it won’t come on again until there’s another problem with your tire pressure.

Drive at 50 MPH – if you drive at high speeds over a long period of time, you might be able to reset the TPMS light. The recommended speed that you should be driving at is 50 mph for over 10 miles until the TPMS control unit has calibrated itself. This can be done on the highway. Some vehicles will require you to drive faster while other vehicle will require you to driving at a slower speed.

TPMS Reset Tool – Another way you can get rid of the TPMS warning light is by using a TPMS reset tool (View on Amazon). If the warning light is still on your dashboard, a TPMS reset tool will allow you to reset the TPMS light by clicking a button in your car. If your OBD2 scanner is a professional one that can be used by mechanics, then you’ll be able to use it to reset the TPMS control unit. Using an OBD2 scanner that isn’t advanced enough won’t allow you to do this.

Job Guthiri is a freelance writer with 3 years of experience writing for Motorsrun and other established automobile outlets. His focus and key interests are Tacomas and maintenance. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.