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How do I best add air to my tire?

I’m a first-time car owner. There’s an air dispenser at the gas station a mile away (I have quarters) and I have a tire gauge. I just don’t want to pop the tire…

EDIT: The pressure is at 25 and the door jamb says “cold air” tire pressure should be 35 psi. So just go up to that? It’s 80 degrees out right now…

I have a vivid memory of my Dad popping my bicycle tire because he overinflated it, and I don’t want that to happen to an expensive car tire.


Buy a foot pump. Figure out how many strokes adds a pound. The exercise’ll probably do you good too.

Most tire shops will air your tires for free. Other wise just put air in a little at a time and check it with the gauge until you reach the pressure that is on the door plate. This is not rocket science. Do you not have a friend or relative that can show you how this is done.

Edit: I also tip the person who airs my tires a couple of dollars.

If you have a decent gauge just check every now & agin & stop when it reaches the pressure that is marked on the sidewall of the tire this should be done when tire is cold.

Follow what the manufacturer recommends for tire pressure on placard on the drivers door jamb. Not what it says on the side of the tire.

The pressure indicated on the side of the tire is the MAX pressure.

This is because the tire on your vehicle can be used on all kinds of vehicles.

And every vehicle has a different tire pressure specified by the vehicle manufacturers.



“This is not rocket science.” Why was that necessary?


I always thought the pressure on the sidewall was MAX cold pressure.I may be wrong but just about every car or truck I had the #s were different between the door & tire.

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I check oil & tire pressure every week & using what is marked on tire & have no problem" s with uneven wear.

This is another problem that a search on Google will have so many video’s that a person might not live long enough to watch them all.

Renegade, do you not think the vehicle manufacture’s know what tire pressure is proper ?


Are you driving around with your tires at 45 PSI? That’s not a good practice.


I am not disputing your point,I have been doing it that way for many years as that was the way I was taught many year’s ago & now it is just habit.

Since you’re a first-time owner, let me make sure you understand a few basics. When the outside temperature changes (or the sun shines on the tire for a while), the pressure in the tire will change. Also, when you drive on the tires, the pressure will go up. What the manufacturer wants is for your tires to be at 35 PSI during the coldest part of the day (usually first thing in the morning) when you haven’t driven on the tires in at least a few hours.

Therefore, if your car sits outside at night, go out first thing in the morning, measure the pressure, and make a note of how many PSI you need to add to get to 35 PSI. When you get to the gas station, your pressure will probably be higher by then, but add the amount you calculated in the morning regardless. Double-check the pressure the next morning, but you should be pretty close.

If you park in a garage, it’s a little more complicated because that’s not the coldest temperature that the tires could be exposed to once you head outside. In that case, you can adjust for this by doing a little math. Take the temperature in the garage, subtract the outside temperature in the morning, divide by 10, and reduce your measurement by that amount. For instance, if your garage is at 75 degrees when the typical morning temperature is 55 degrees and you measure the tires at 30 PSI, then treat the tires as though they have 28 PSI, so that you’d add 7 PSI.

By the way, it isn’t ideal that you let the tires get to 25 PSI (or maybe even less). You can wear out your tires more quickly when they’re underinflated, costing you money unnecessarily. Check your pressures more often, especially in fall when temperatures are dropping. I probably check mine twice a month, but at a minimum you should do it monthly.

Don’t worry about popping the tire. The pressure needed to do that is so far above 35 PSI that you’ll never be anywhere near that.


So the reading of 25 psi I have right now is high, because it’s hot out? So in cold temps it would be even lower?

Also, do you check every morning or could I do just once a week?

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Once a week is plenty. Check it first thing in the morning, if they’re low go to wherever you choose to add pressure and increase them to the number on the sticker in the car. Being a couple of pounds low isn’t a big issue, but you don’t want to drive around 10 pounds low for too long.

What kind of tire gauge do you have, exactly?

Please, just go to a tire shop and have them air your tires. Or go to the station and put all tires at 35 PSI. In the morning if they are a few pounds high let air out. You are going to drive yourself to drink over this. I check my oil and tires once a week before driving and Saturday is the day I do that.

I recommend you buy and carry in your car one of these:

Not only can you use it to put air in your tires, you can use it to jump start a car that has a dead battery. You can also use the USB outlet to charge your cell phone when the power is out at your home.

Regarding your question about how much pressure to use, use the amount on the sticker on your door jam. The maximum tire pressure listed on the tires is not the recommended tire pressure for your car.


Good for you for checking your tire pressure. Just a few thoughts; tire pressure changes ~1psi for every 10 degree F, once the tires are warmed up from driving pressure will increase another 2-3 psi. I once popped a bicycle tire using a gas station pump. Don’t worry about popping a car tire at a gas station.

Spend a couple of dollars and get a dial type pressure gauge like this:

I picked up one of these for my daughter’s car, it works just as well as a more expensive one I have.

I would run over to the gas station and inflate the tires to 35-38 psi. Once you get home you can adjust the tire pressure at your leisure. A couple of psi higher or lower won’t make much difference in driveability. Don’t forget to check your oil and coolant levels too. Your Owner’s manual will have instructions.

Good luck,

Ed B.

“Because that’s the way it’s always been done” is a terrible reason to do something a particular way.

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