Checking the pressure of your car tyres regularly and maintaining them will ensure good handling, steering and safety, as well extend the life of your tyres, saving you money.
Check your car tyre pressure regularly
Checking your tyre pressure regularly is easy and helps keep your car running smoothly. It's best to check them every week or two or when you stop to refuel if you don't drive that often.
The correct pressures for your car tyres – often different for the front and rear tyres – are usually found on a label inside one of the front door openings. You can also find them in the owner’s manual.
It's handy to have your own tyre pressure gauge as the fuel station ones aren't always accurate. They're inexpensive and available from motor accessory stores such as Repco, where NRMA Members are able to access discounts.
It's best to check your check your tyres when they're cold or haven't been driven on. If that isn't possible, a good rule, is to add 2psi to the manufacturer’s specified tyre pressure, to account for the increase in temperature and pressure.
How do I check my tyre pressure?
Air hoses with tyre pressure gauges are available for use at most service stations; however, the NRMA recommends you buy a simple pen-shaped pneumatic/mechanical gauge to ensure accurate readings.
1. Check the tyre placard – usually inside one of the front door openings – or the owner's manual for the correct tyre pressures for your car. The pressure often differs for the front and the rear tyres.
2. Unscrew the cap on the air valve of your tyre.
3. Push your tyre pressure gauge firmly onto the tyre valve.
4. Look at the pressure reading on the gauge.
5. If the reading is low, attach the air hose to the tyre valve and increase the pressure to the correct level, rechecking with your own gauge if necessary.
6. Screw the cap back onto the tyre air valve.
Check for tyre wear
Tyres can deteriorate quickly and need replacing often, particularly if you're not maintaining them correctly. It's improtant to know the signs of a worn tyre and replace it as soon as you see it.
How to check if your tyres are worn out.
On your tyre you will see small bars of rubber running across the grooves in between the tread at several places around the tyre, called tread-wear indicators. These are designed to tell you when the tyre is worn out.
If the tread is worn down to these bars on any part of the tyre –indicating the legal minimum of 1.5mm of tread depth has been reached – the tyre is worn out and unroadworthy, and needs to be replaced as soon as possible.
Damage to the tyre’s sidewall or tread, such as cuts or bulges, could also make your tyres unroadworthy. If your tyres show any of these signs, have them checked out by your mechanic or a tyre specialist.
Remember, it is not only dangerous to drive on worn-out or damaged tyres, it's also illegal.
Rotate your car tyres
Routinely moving your car’s wheels and tyres around the car – such as from the front to the back – helps even out the wear across all four of them, lengthening the life of the set.
Different cars wear the front and back tyres at different rates, or can have different tyre sizes front and back, so there is a correct way to rotate tyres for each model. This is usually described in the owner’s manual.
If you’re unsure, check with your nearest NRMA car servicing, where you can also have the job done. It is much easier to rotate tyres with the car up on a hoist than with a jack in your driveway, so it makes sense to do a routine tyre rotation when you get your car serviced.
If your car has a full sized spare tyre, add it into the rotation by changing it out with one of the four tyres on the car. This is the best way to extend the lifespan of all your tyres.
Understanding the markings on a car tyre
There are markings on the side of your car’s tyres that tell you the tyre’s type, size, and load and speed ratings. Here's what they mean:
Let’s say the sidewall of your tyres reads P 195/60R15 94H:
Have a question or need help? Contact the NRMA motoring advice team on 13 11 22, Monday-Friday 8.30am – 5pm.