The tire pressure may reduce from time to time. That is why you have to check your tire pressure at least once a month or whenever necessary. The best part is how such an activity does not take long.
However, you will need a tire pressure gauge to know the level of tire pressure. What happens if you do not own one? What are your options?
This guide looks at the various methods you would use when seeking to know your tire pressure without a gauge. It is not that hard, you might be surprised by the options available.
Table of Contents:
- Methods for Checking Your Tire Pressure Without Gauge
- How to Know if the Tire Pressure is Low
- Filling a Tire Without a Tire Gauge
- Driving on Low Tire Pressure
- Is it Normal to Lose Pressure?
Methods for Checking Your Tire Pressure Without Gauge
If you are just leaving the house and you find yourself in need of checking the tire pressure, do not panic.
Below are a few methods you can use to check the tire pressure in the tires.
1. Use your hand
Yes, sometimes you do not need a sophisticated gauge to see that your tire pressure is low.
With your hand, try to push down on the tire. If you notice it is soft and squishy, then the pressure is low.
If the tire pressure is at the recommended level, you would not be able to squish the tire with your hand. It is always hard. Also, it could mean the tire is overinflated.
In case you feel the pressure is too low, pump in some air until it gets but not too hard.
If the tire is too hard, let out some air until it is slightly soft. Ensure not to let out too much air.
2. With your eyes
Of course, this would have been on the list too. In most cases, just eyeballing the tire can tell you if there is enough pressure or not.
Start by parking the car on a flat surface. Then walk around the car looking at the tires to see which one looks lower compared to the others.
Focus more on the sides of the tires to see if the tire is protruding or not.
When the tires are protruding extensively, it means the sidewall is more visible and that is low pressure. Fill the tire with more pressure until it is less protruding.
You can still use your hard to check if the tire is hard and then stop filling with air.
3. Check PSI Information About the Car
All vehicles you see around have a specific PSI that you have to actually use. This type of information is key in ensuring that your tires are properly inflated and there is no uneven wear.
Look at the driver’s manual or the driver’s side door to see the tire pressure information. It would mostly be mentioned in terms of PSI.
This number is the lowest you can have in the tires for the best ride and handling. And also for normal wear and tear of the tires.
Most sedans and minivans would have the recommended pressure at 32 to 40 PSI. SUVs and trucks could use 10 PSI more in most cases.
4. Check your cargo
Depending on how much cargo you have on the vehicle, it is possible for the tires to get weighed down.
If you notice the tires are weighed down because of cargo, add some tire pressure to distribute the weight better rather than driving with the sidewalls protruding.
Reduce the tire pressure once the cargo is unloaded to get the tire pressure back to the normal range.
Below is a video with more details on checking tire pressure without a gauge
How to Know if the Tire Pressure is Low
There are a couple of signs that would help you know if the tire pressure is low.
When you notice these signs, it is time for you to refill the tire pressure and have the car driving properly.
The most notable would be a spongy drive. The car does feel like it is not moving as fast as you would like.
Such a spongy ride often means your tires are softer and you need to add more tire pressure.
It might also feel as if the shock absorbers are not working. That is low pressure for you right there.
You would feel each bump getting through the suspension. Such an unpleasant ride can be solved by inflating the tires.
Sometimes you would also end up with alignment issues. So, check the tire pressure just to make sure it is not the one causing these issues.
Gas mileage would also be affected when the tire pressure is too low. It is mostly because there is more drag or resistance. With the tires properly filled with pressure, you may notice an improvement in gas mileage.
Here is a video with details on how much pressure is good for your car
Filling a Tire Without a Tire Gauge
A tire gauge is not always needed when you want to fill air into your tires. As such, all you need is an air compressor and start pumping air into your tires.
Visit your local gas station and get to the air compressor. It will be free in most cases to get the air-filled into your tires.
If there is no attendant to do it for you, then go ahead and do it yourself.
Open the tire valve caps and set the pressure level on the compressor interface.
If you cannot set it, then you have to control it yourself by checking the scale and releasing the trigger when the tire pressure is on the desired mark.
Attach the nozzle to the valve stem and start inflating the tire. The machine beeps once the set pressure is achieved. Just like that, you should have the tire pressure back to normal.
Set the valve caps back onto the tires and you should be good.
Driving on Low Tire Pressure
Though not recommended, it is possible to drive on low tire pressure. Just make sure you do not do it more often as you might end up with more uneven wear on your tires.
So, let us assume you have no choice but to drive on low pressure, what is the best way to handle it?
Start by removing the extra weight from the car. This is key in keeping less strain on the tires so that you can drive without a problem.
Also, consider driving slowly to keep the friction down until you get to a gas station to fill the pressure back to the normal range.
If the pressure is too low, turn on the hazard or emergency lights so that other drivers approach with caution.
However, have it addressed as soon as possible to keep the tire from wearing unevenly.
Is it Normal to Lose Pressure?
You may have come across claims that you can lose an average of 1 to 2 PSI per month. However, there are many things that can lead to losing more pressure.
The main factors affecting how much pressure you lose include;
- How many miles you have driven. Driving for long hours can mean losing more.
- The road conditions
- Unseen or sneaky punctures
- How well you drive the vehicle
Tires will be used more often. So, even if you only drive 20 miles per day to work, expect to lose some pressure too.
Road conditions mean how susceptible the tire is to damage. If the road surface is not the best, you may experience more damage and lose pressure too.
Every person has a different driving style. If you keep breaking and accelerating hard, it is possible to lose more pressure. This is compared to someone who might have to keep driving carefully.
You may have also experienced sneaky punctures before. These are the type of punctures that can happen anytime and without figuring out when they actually did.
The best way to avert them is by routinely checking the tires and having them repaired in case of excessive pressure loss.
Is it dangerous driving around on low-pressure tires?
The low pressure in tires can lead to other issues such as uneven tires and handling issues.
There are some people who have had their tires blow up because they were driving on low-pressure tires for a long time.
How do you know a tire has low pressure?
In most cases, a visual inspection can help you see if there is a tire with low pressure. If the car has a TPMS system, then the light comes on if the tires have too low or too high pressure in them.
Should you underinflate tires in winter?
Some people might think underinflating the tires in winter is good, but that is not always true.
What you need are winter tires that can handle the conditions appropriately and keep you safe. When the tires are underinflated, they may make steering and handling hard.
Why is the TPMS light still on even after filling the tires?
The chances are you might be having a slow leak in the tires. Also, sometimes the TPMS sensor could be broken and it needs to be replaced to work correctly again.