Cars and Trucks — February 1, 2019
Checking your tire pressure doesn’t take very long, and only requires an inexpensive tool called a tire pressure gauge and the commitment to do it. In modern cars, the tire pressure monitoring system gives a pretty accurate measurement, and all you have to do is press some buttons on your car to get the reading. Back when I was growing up, my best friend Randy Stewart insisted that eyeballing your tires for proper inflation was enough, but this was also the guy who insisted on checking the engine oil level in his car by blowing across the oil filler valve and measuring the pitch of the sound that it made, so take that advice with a grain of salt.
To measure your tire pressure correctly, wait till your car’s been immobile for at least three hours to allow the pressure to stabilize (mornings are a great time), remove the valve stem cap, place the tire gauge over the stem, and press down. Most tire gauges are the “pencil” style, with a ruler that slides out to show the reading, but you can get fancy and get a digital gauge for a clearer, more accurate reading. Make sure that you don’t hear the “sssst” sound of air escaping when you press the gauge down, as that means the gauge is not seated correctly on the stem, and you’re not taking a proper reading.
Once you get the reading, compare it to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure, which you can find in your car owner’s manual or on the sticker inside the driver’s side door. If the pressure is too high, let a little air out by pressing down on the little pin that’s in the center of the valve stem. If you look at it from above, it looks like a target in the middle of a circle, which is a great coincidence. Re-measure, and repeat if necessary. If it’s too low, fill the tire with air to the right pressure. Most gas stations have air pumps that make your job easier by allowing you to set the tire pressure on the pump so that it stops pumping when it hits the right pressure.
Once you’re done with all your tires, make sure to check the inside of the cap for any foreign objects before replacing it, as a stone or other roadside debris that’s stuck in the cap can cause your tire to slowly deflate. There’s nothing more deflating than a slowly deflating tire….sorry, dad joke moment. I recommend having some wet wipes handy in your car (baby wipes work great!), as the dust generated from braking gets pretty nasty and you’ll want to wipe your hands clean right after you’re done. Given how simple it is to check your tire pressure, there’s no reason not to, and the benefits are significant, and potentially life-saving. And if you really want to, you can still eyeball your tires after you’re done, just to be sure.
TUFFY the Rhino is more than just the Armstrong Tire mascot. On the surface, TUFFY appears to be a tough, hardened character, and arguably there is “none tougher.” In fact, he’s really a softie at heart, charming folks wherever he goes – a gentleman, for sure, but one who would equally be at home blazing frontiers as he would be dancing the waltz at a grand soirée. Often referred to as “The most interesting rhino in the world,” TUFFY has traveled the world and made many appearances representing Armstrong Tire, from advertisements co-starring stars like Lucille Ball to being featured on many eBay listings. However, he remains a simple, Midwestern rhino at heart, one that’s rooted in empathy, humility, and family values.