Bathing suit. Check. Sunscreen with SPF 150. Check. Kids in car. Check. Ready to hit the road for Memorial Day weekend travel. Che… Wait, not yet. Where’s that tire pressure gauge?
Whether your holiday weekend involves a vacay or a stay-cay, you don’t want to waste fuel (or the cash spent on that pricey fuel) due to underinflated tires. But you might be thinking, Hey, I have a tire pressure monitoring system, so I’m good to go! Not quite – you still need to check the air pressure on a regular basis, because even if the tires aren’t underinflated enough to signal the low-pressure warning light, keeping them at the recommended pressure can reduce the average amount of fuel use by 3 to 4 percent.
Ford advises checking tire inflation pressures at least once a month and always before a road trip, using an accurate (+/- 0.5 pounds per square inch, or psi) digital tire inflation pressure gauge; that type tends to be more accurate than the old-fashioned mechanic gauge. You’ll find the proper air pressure for the front, rear and spare tires listed on a sticker on the vehicle, usually on the driver doorjamb. The pressure listed on the tire sidewall is the maximum for the tire and not necessarily the recommended inflation pressure.
Keep in mind you should check the pressure when the tires are cold – before you start driving – or the tire will be hot and the inflation pressure will increase, and never bleed air pressure from hot tires. Also check the pressure in the spare tire; that’s easy to overlook.
Now, get out there and enjoy the long weekend!