How to Determine the Ideal Tire Pressure for a Car

by Josh Baum

There are lots of tricks to getting the most wear out of your car tires, but the most helpful tactic is to always keep them inflated to their maximum level. Maxing out your tires' PSI is also the key to improved gas mileage and better handling. But if you're keeping your tires filled only to the PSI recommended by your car's manufacturer, you may not be getting all of the benefits.

Check your car's owner's manual to see what it says about tire pressure. Many auto manufacturers recommend a PSI around 30. Whatever your manual indicates as the ideal PSI should be the bare minimum of pressure inside your tires. If you do not have an owner's manual, check inside the door jam of the driver's door; many cars have stickers with the PSI recommendation affixed here.

Look at the sidewall of one of your tires. You should find that the maximum allowed PSI for that style of tire is printed or embossed on the sidewall. As it suggests, you should consider this to be the absolute highest safe PSI.

Reduce the maximum PSI as indicated on your tire sidewalls by 10 percent. The PSI you get should be your ideal everyday tire pressure. You won't experience as smooth of a ride as you would driving on tires inflated to the auto manufacturer's recommendation, but you'll be rewarded with better cornering, leaner gas mileage and reduced tire wear.

Pump up the tires to the maximum PSI before taking long highway road trips or before transporting a heavy load, including towing a trailer of any kind. This will offer greater safety.

Tip

  • check It's a good policy to check and top off your tires every time you fill up your gas tank.

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