Close up of Lincoln wheel and hubcap

On average, tires lose around one pound per square inch (psi) of pressure a month, and lose an additional 1 psi for every 10-degree drop in outside temperature.

Check your tires’ condition and pressure at least once a month for longer and better performance.

  1. To get an accurate pressure reading, your tires need to be read “cold,” meaning the vehicle has been parked for at least one hour in the shade. Checking in the early morning—when the ambient temperature is lowest—is optimal.

    If you must check tire pressure when the tires are warm, remember that the pressures will read 4-6 psi higher than they would if checked cold.

  2. Remove the tire valve cap, and place the tire pressure gauge on it firmly. Make sure you don’t hear any air leaking. A digital or dial gauge should give you a reading on the screen or dial; stick-type gauges have a stick that pops out the bottom—the highest pressure shown is your current tire pressure.

  3. Remove the tire gauge, then remeasure twice more for accuracy.

  4. If the pressure is low, add air by placing the end of an air pump hose over the tire valve.

    If you’re using a high-pressure air hose at a station, only fill the tire for five seconds, then stop. Lower-pressure personal air pumps can stay on for longer, especially if the tire is very low. Never leave the pump alone as it could overinflate the tire and damage it.

  5. Recheck the pressure. If the tire is overinflated, you can release air by pressing the valve inside the tire valve stem.

  6. Once you have confirmed your tire is inflated to the proper level, replace the valve cap.

  7. Repeat steps two through six for each of your remaining tires, including the spare.