Many drivers are taking a major gamble by not checking their tire pressure regularly. To get the best performance and longest life, you want to ensure your tires are at the proper pressure levels. While putting air in your tires requires accessing an air compressor, letting air out of your tires doesn’t and is incredibly easy.
Today, we’ll be going step by step through the process, so you’ll know what to do when you need to adjust your tire pressure. Let’s get started!
Why Would You Let Air Out of Your Tires?
Proper tire pressure helps give you the best driving experience, performance, and longevity. So there are some real-life situations where you might be looking to let some air out of your tires.
For starters, you’ll want to let the air out of your tires if they exceed the recommended tire pressure set by the manufacturer. Vehicle tires have the maximum cold tire pressure stamped on their sidewall. If you check your tires before driving and discover there’s too much air in them, let some air out.
Another instance you might want to let some air out of your tires is to gain traction in mud or sand. By airing down your tires, you increase their surface area and footprint. This helps avoid them sinking into the mud or sand and assists if you’re stuck. You’ll likely want to let out approximately 15 pounds per square inch (PSI) of air to get the intended results.
How to Easily Let Air Out of Your Tires
Letting air out of your tires is relatively easy. Keeping a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle glove box or a convenient storage compartment can further simplify this process. Let’s take a look at what you need to do!
Locate the Valve and Take the Cap Off
The first thing you’ll need to do is locate the valve on each tire. This is typically between spokes or sticking through the plastic hub cap. The cap on top of the valve can be any color, but they’re typically either green, black, or chrome.
Unscrew the cap and put it in a safe place so it doesn’t get lost. These caps don’t keep the air in your tires, but it keeps debris and road gunk from causing wear and tear on your valve and valve stem.
Check The Tire Pressure
Grab a digital or analog tire pressure gauge to check the PSI of your tires. You want to know how much air you need to let out and avoid letting out too much air. Keep the tire pressure gauge handy because you’ll likely need to use it a couple of times when letting out air in your tires.
Press the Metal Pin in the Valve With a Screwdriver or Pressure Gauge
The inside of the valve will have a metal pin (the core) that screws into its center. Use a screwdriver or a pressure gauge to press in on the metal pin at the tip of the core. This will open the valve to release air. When you stop pressing on the pin, it will close and stop releasing air.
Many tire pressure gauges will come with notches or nubs that make it easy to press in on the core. This is another reason we recommend storing a tire pressure gauge in a convenient spot in your vehicle.
Recheck Tire Pressure
Once you’ve released a sufficient amount of air from your tires, use the tire pressure to confirm your intuition. Depending on how much air you released, you may have let out too much or too little air. Repeat releasing and checking the tire pressure until each tire is at the correct level.
Pro Tip: Knowing What Is An RV Tire Pressure Monitor is crucial to keeping your tires in working condition.
Jack Up Vehicle If Letting All of the Air Out of Tires
If you’re planning to deflate your tires completely, take the weight of your car off them. Use a jack to lift your car and then slide jack stands under the jack points in your vehicle’s chassis. Once you’ve placed the jack stand, slowly lower the jack and move on to the next tire.
Failure to take the weight off your tires can cause permanent damage to your tires and other essential components. You can inadvertently do some costly damage to your vehicle.
It is essential to confirm the jack and jack stands you’re using are sufficient to hold the weight load. Avoid going under the vehicle unless it is necessary.
How Bad Is It to Overinflate Your Tires?
For years the myth of driving with overinflated tires was an excellent way to increase fuel efficiency. In reality, any increase in MPGs was minimal and was offset by shortening the life of the tires and increasing the chances for a costly tire blowout.
Overinflated tires are much less resistant to road hazards. Potholes, cracks, and road debris are all common road hazards that can severely damage your tires. It’s also important to know that overinflated tires ride rougher, so you’ll feel the impact of these road hazards even more.
What Happens if Tires Are Underinflated?
While overinflating your tires can cause damage, so can underinflated tires. Underinflated tires increase the tire’s surface area with the road to create more friction and increase grip. However, friction creates heat, which breaks down rubber compounds. So underinflated tires will heat up as you travel down the road and likely lead to a tire blowout.
Keep in Mind: RV tires are different than car tires, so make sure you have the right type for your vehicle. Want to know if special tires are necessary for you? Read more about: Do All Types of RVs Need Special Tires?
Does Letting Air Out of Your Tires Help in Ice?
While letting air out of your tires can help with snow, it’s not likely going to make much difference when it comes to ice. Studded tires are typically the only tire recommended for driving on ice.
Deflating your tires for ice or snow can be very dangerous as it would mean driving around with reduced pressure. Increasing friction between your tires and the road will create substantially more heat, which will increase the wear and tear on your tires. If you live in an area that experiences extreme winter conditions, a quality set of winter tires may be worth considering.
Always Check Your Tire Pressure
Staying on top of your tire pressure is essential for optimal performance and the longevity of your tires. It can seem like a balancing act to keep your tires at the proper pressure, especially if you’re dealing with large temperature swings or changes in elevation. If you’re concerned about the tire pressure, get out and check. It’s better to check your tire pressure and make the appropriate adjustments than risk damaging your vehicle or getting into an accident due to a tire blowout.
How often do you check the tires on your vehicle? Drop a comment below!
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