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New Tire Pressure App Could Save You Hundreds

We sometimes forget how important maintaining proper tire pressure is to our cars. It keeps us safe, comfortable, and can even save us money. Potentially thousands of dollars, in fact. But what’s the best way to keep track without doing a lap with a pressure gauge once or twice a month? Well, newer cars are starting to include a built-in tire monitoring system. Most of us, however, probably don’t have brand spanking new rides with all the latest features.

Know My Tires

That’s where this new smartphone and tablet app comes in. It’s called KnowMyTires, and it’s available for both iOS and Android. Just pull it up on your device and bam! A real time display showing each of your tire’s pressure readings and temperatures. You’ll also get a notification if the temp gets too high or pressure too low. Sounds sweet, right?

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But you’re probably worried about installation. Don’t be. It couldn’t be simpler. Unscrew your old valve caps and replace them with your fancy new ones, plug the receiver into your lighter socket, and you’re done. Oh, and install the app. This should be easy in practice, but not all of us know how to actually work our smartphones. That’s what kids are for.

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Everything will run you about $200. Fortunately, the caps have an anti-theft design, so you don’t have to worry about anyone running off with them.

Advantages of Perfect Tire Pressure

The lower your tire’s pressure, the more of it is touching the ground. That means more wear and tear, which means tires that are less safe and need to be replaced more often. Tires underinflated by just 10% can see a 16% decrease in tread life.

It lowers your fuel efficiency as well, burning more gas – up to 10% for a tire 30% below the proper level. If you listen closely, you can actually hear the dollars leaking out of your bank account like the hiss of a punctured tire.

If it dips really low, all that extra friction can cause your tire to heat up. And overheating rubber is not a good thing. It will begin to come apart and eventually blow completely. No more tire and possibly no more car, since blown tires can cause some very serious accidents.

So just pack that tire full of air, right? Not really. Too much pressure and it’s barely touching the ground. Now you’re jumping all over the road. Traction decreases, it takes longer to stop, and your ride isn’t nearly as smooth.

How to Manually Check Pressure

So you don’t have the money for gizmos or another car. We’ve been there. That doesn’t mean you’re completely out of luck.

You’ll just have to break out the elbow grease and do things the old-fashioned way. First, you’ll need an air pressure gauge. The digital or dial styled gauges are the way to go for accuracy.

Next, you’ll need to know the recommended pressure for your tires or vehicle. It will be listed in pounds per square inch (psi) and can be found in your owner’s manual or sometimes labeled on your driver’s side door. Don’t look at the tire – that’s the maximum pressure, not the recommended.

Once you find the number, know that it usually refers to the “cold” pressure. Basically, a tire that hasn’t been driven on recently (or driven just a few miles). Sometimes a “hot” pressure will also be listed – a tired that’s been driven on, in case it’s not obvious – but it’s usually best to just check a cold tire.

Too little air? It’s as simple as adding more with the air compressor at your local gas station – or hiding in the back of your garage beneath those 2x4s. Too much air? Just use a rounded surface to press the pin inside your tire’s air valve to release some.

Don’t Forget

It’s recommended that you check your tire pressure at least once a month. And don’t assume all four tires are correct just because most of them are. Also, don’t forget to break the spare out every once and a while and check it too. Don’t want to be stuck on the side of the road with a flat spare tire.

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Everything will run you about $200. Fortunately, the caps have an anti-theft design, so you don’t have to worry about anyone running off with them.