How to put air in tyres safely

By David Sholicar

As your tyres are the only contact your car has with the road, it's vitally important that they are in good condition, as well as being filled to the correct pressure.

Tyre Air

In recent years, the degree of maintenance it is possible for a layperson to complete on their vehicle has decreased dramatically. With a raft of plastic covers and the disappearance of any user-serviceable parts, the engine bays on modern cars bear almost no resemblance to those of 20 or more years ago.
However, one job which remains straightforward, as well as being vital to the safe and effective running of a vehicle, is the checking of tyre pressure, as well as remedying any issues which have been uncovered after checking the tyres. Our years of experience tell us that this should take place around once a month.

How much air in tyres?

You should make sure that you have the right size of tyres fitted on your vehicle and that the tread is above the legal limit. Making sure you have the correct air pressure is important to get the best combination of safety, handling, braking, fuel economy and comfort. We would suggest you check the air pressure at least once a month and before every long journey.
Your vehicle manual will have the correct tyre pressure, or garages can show you a list of makes and models, along with the right pressure. It is vital that you ensure that your tyres are not over inflated, as this can decrease the life of the tyre, putting undue strain on the rubber. Similarly, too little air can cause handling and fuel efficiency to be affected.

How to put air in tyres in the UK

It is straight-forward to use the air dispenser at your local garage. Most garages in the UK have air dispensers on their forecourts. Just make sure you have parked correctly in the bay, so that you can reach all four tyres with the air pump. Some tyre retailers and garages also have pumps where you can check your tyre pressure.
You'll get the most accurate reading when your tyres are cold, so it is best to check them first thing in the morning. As the tyres warm up when you drive, the pressure climbs, so you'll get a less accurate reading. With some pumps, you can set the air pressure and they will automatically adjust the pressure to that reading. With other pumps, you have to manually control the delivery of air until the gauge reaches the right pressure.

How to inflate car tyres

Firstly, you need to remove the caps from each tyre valve. Then put the pump fitting over the valve stem and release the clasp so it is securely attached. Now, look at the gauge to see what the pressure is. You will need to press the plus or minus button to add or let out air.
You should add air in short bursts so that you do not overfill the tyre. If this happens, you can just let out a little air until you hit the right reading. Then release the clasp and remove the air pump from the valve and go on to the next tyre. Don't forget to check the spare tyre so it is correctly inflated in case you should need it. Finally, replace the caps on the valves as they stop dust and debris getting into the valve.
This is also a good time to check your tyres for wear or damage to either the tread or sidewall. If your tread is less than 1.6mm, then the tyre needs replacing. You should also look to see if anything is lodged in the tread and for uneven wear, which could mean the wheels need balancing or aligning.

The local garage you can trust

If you are still uncomfortable with the idea of running these maintenance tasks on your tyres, you can book your vehicle in for a free tyre check at your local Protyre garage. Our qualified tyre professionals will check the safety of your tyres, letting you know if it's time to spring for a new set of tyres from a leading brand such as Pirelli or a wide range of budget brands - or whether they are safe to continue.

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By David Sholicar
David is the National Retail Operations Manager for Protyre. One of David’s areas of responsibility and expertise is dealing with the DVSA and MOT’s for Protyre. As the Authorised Examiner Designate Manager ( AEDM ) David deals with applications for changes to the many Vehicle Testing Stations ( VTS’s) including managing the growth of the Number of MOT testing stations that Protyre operate, allocating MOT tester roles, and monitoring the MOT Test logs to ensure that Protyre MOT standards are maintained as the best in the industry.
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