Vehicle Maintenance – Tire Pressure

Tire Pressure, Tire Pressure, Where Art Thou Tire Pressure! I know only too well the results of not keeping your tires in check. Not only will keeping your tires filled with the required amount of air (or helium if you drive a smart car) help you to maintain better fuel efficiency, it could keep you from having a mishap. I blew out a tire not too long ago. And, I must admit, it was the scariest thing that has happened to me since I started driving. My dad taught me how to drive…which was not a good thing since he was a drunk driver. So I learned to weave and drift across 3 lanes just like him. He’d set his beer can smack dab on the middle of the dashboard and say “Now line that up with the edge of the road.” Then he’d climb over into the backseat and pass out.

I learned to drive when I was 8 years old. And with all of the experience I have, nothing could prepare me for blowing out a tire. In my experience, if you don’t have your music up too loud, you can hear the tire blow. It sounds exactly like a gunshot. And it scared the crap out of me. The first thing I thought was “Who is shooting at me??” Then the car started to shimmy and I realized I had blown out a tire. Thank God it wasn’t a front tire, because I hear if you’re driving on that front rim, it could really jerk the wheel. Also, in my experience, I discovered that usually when you blow out a tire, you are doing freeway speed, which is very inconvenient. And, you’re usually by yourself and its night time. And every serial killer comes out of the woodwork to help you change that tire. I’ve seen those windscreens that you can put up in your rear window that say “CALL 911.” I wished I had one that said “DON’T STOP TO HELP…I’VE ALREADY CALLED ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE.” I felt bad because, here in Texas, there are good ole boys with good old-fashioned manners. So, of course, several of them stopped to help a woman in distress. I’ve seen horrific things on the news, so I was not taking any chances. After all, it was dark outside. I had all of my doors locked and my driver-side window rolled down just enough that I could communicate but not have someone able to reach in and throttle me. I felt bad mostly because they’d pull up behind me and risk their own lives by squeezing between my car and the semi trucks flying by, just to get to my window. Where I told them, apologetically, “Thanks for risking your life to help, but I have already called roadside assistance and they are on their way.” When, what I really wanted to say was “Didn’t I see you on Craigslist?” Like the Craigslist killer was out there changing tires.

Here’s what you can do to keep those tires inflated and in tip-top shape. Purchase a tire pressure gauge. One should only cost a few dollars, but don’t get a cheap one that may stick or show an improper reading. Most gas stations will have an air hose you can use for just a few quarters. The PSI (i.e. pounds per square inch) requirement should be stamped on the sidewall of the tire itself. Or, inside the car door, there may be a sticker that notes what the actual PSI recommendations are for your type of car. You should try to check your tire pressure when the tires are cold. Use the air gauge to check your tire’s pressure. If it is low, fill it with the air hose a little at a time and keep re-checking it with the tire gauge until it is at its appropriate level. Don’t over-inflate your tires. If this happens, you can use the tire gauge to let air escape…just enough to its recommended level. While under-inflated tires cause wear on the outside of the tire and are actually a driving hazard, over-inflated tires will wear out more quickly and can cause a blowout.

Until next week…keep your ego under-inflated and your tires at their proper inflation.

Daun Thompson
Comedienne / Artist / Writer / Idea Mogul

Tire Pressure – Comedy Defensive Driving