How to check your tyre pressure

Vehicle tyres are subjected to a great deal of stress throughout the course of their lifetime. Always on the move, keeping you safe and secure while you go about your day.

Your tyres, like any other piece of equipment that has to be replaced from time to time, need to be checked on a regular basis to ensure they are kept in a roadworthy state - failing to do so could result in a failed MOT or being pulled over by the boys in blue.

Luckily, thousands of petrol stations and supermarkets around the UK allow you to check your tyre pressure - sometimes for free. In this helpful guide, we'll share to reveal our top recommendations for ensuring you're pumping your tyres to the correct pressure and how to do so.

Car tyre photograph

What should my tyre pressure be?

Each vehicle will have a different tyre pressure, and therefore it is critical to determine the proper pressures for your car, truck, or van. Finding these might be difficult, but can be made easy if you know where to look.

How to find tyre pressure

Generally, any modern vehicle will have tyre pressures located in one of the below three areas:

  • On the inside of your fuel filler flap.
  • On the side of your passenger or driver’s door.
  • Within your handbook (either paper copy or in the infotainment system).

The tyre pressure will be shown in PSI or Bar, depending on the manufacturer. It's critical to get this right because they're both very different pressure checking metrics.

Most tyre machines at gas stations measure in PSI, therefore knowing how to convert this is vital if your car pressures are displayed in Bar. Fortunately, we've published the formula below to help you get started.

1 PSI is equal to 0.06 Bar. As an example, 32 PSI = 2.20 Bar.

If your maths isn’t quick enough, a quick Google search will convert the pressures for you.

How often should you check tyre pressure

Because tyre pressure is an important factor in keeping you and other road users safe, we recommend checking your tyre pressures on a routine basis – and especially before any long journeys that will keep you in your car for more than an hour at a time.

Make it a habit to check your tyres on a regular basis. Look for tyres that appear to deflate over time; this could be an indicator of a gradual puncture, which is more difficult to detect. Bulges or damage to the tyre's sidewall should be checked by a professional to determine whether new tyres are required.

Keep an eye on the tread on your tyres as well. The most common method is to use a 20p coin. Insert it into the tyre's tread grooves. If you can't see the coin's outside band, your tyres are over the legal limit of 1.6mm.

If you can see the band, your tyres are past their usable life and should be assessed by a professional.

Car tyres

When should tyre pressure be checked?

It's difficult to get into the habit of checking your tyre pressure because it's not something we deal with every day, but we'd recommend doing so if you're going to embark on a lengthy drive – of more than an hour at a time.

Aside from that, make it a habit to check your tyre pressure at least once a month, and keep an eye on the rubber to ensure there are no anomalies in the way it looks or feels.

How to check tyre pressure

Any petrol station in the UK will most likely have a tyre pressure checker. Some of them are free, while others charge a small fee, such as 50p for two minutes of airtime. If you don't have cash with you, there are now a lot of devices that accept contactless payments — mainly in supermarkets. Here's a step-by-step guide to getting started:

  1. Park up at the tyre pressure machine and double-check the cost.
  2. Before adding your funds (if applicable) check your vehicle tyre pressure.
  3. Using the +/- buttons on the machine, select the pressure for your first tyre.
  4. Unscrew the dust caps and store them securely in your pocket.
  5. Add in your money (if applicable) – the machine will start.
  6. Taking the hose, securely place it on the tyre valve and hold it in place.
  7. Once the desired pressure has been reached, you will hear a beep.
  8. Carefully remove the hose from the tyre and adjust the pressure if needed, move on to your next tyre.
  9. Repeat until all tyres have been inflated. 

And there you have it, your in-depth guide on how to check your tyre pressures. Want to know more about average speed cameras? Check out our helpful blog article, and if you’re searching for high-visibility chevrons, our range is fully Chapter 8 compliant.