It is the Goldilocks syndrome. When it comes to tire pressure, whether for a car, truck, or RV, you need to have the pressure just right. It cannot be under inflated nor can it be over inflated. Both of those situations will cause your tire damage and possibly a blowout.
The best way to check your tire pressure is to use the proper gauge. There are cheap ones on the market so avoid them. Then make sure that your tires are only filled to the number placed on the side of your tires. That is the maximum pressure you can have on them.
To learn more about this topic just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you do not have to rely on anyone else to tell you your tire pressure. Keeping your tires at their proper levels is your responsibility
It is a given that you will need to use a tire pressure gauge. Which one you use is up to you as there are a large variety of these gauges on the market today. But to use a gauge, you will need to understand load ratings and maximum air pressure.
Just seeing the air pressure on the gauge is not going to be enough as you need to know if that registered number is under, over, inflated, or on the mark. The maximum psi marked on your tire is already set to the load range.
1. Use the PSI rating on the sidewall
All you have to do is put enough air into your tire and stop filling when the gauge reads that maximum psi level. For some passenger cars that level is about 36 psi. That is about standard as passenger cars do not carry a lot of weight.
But when it comes to trucks and RVs you will be putting more air pressure in because these vehicles do carry a lot of weight. Your tire’s maximum psi can range between 45 to 110 depending on the type of vehicle, its size, and other factors.
2. Use the tire information sticker
There is a sticker placed by the manufacturer on trailers and other RVs that tell you the maximum weight you can carry and the maximum tire pressure you can put in.
This sticker could be inside the glove box, on the driver’s door, or the tongue on the driver’s side. It will give you all the information you will need. You just fill the tire up to what the sticker says and you should be fine.
However, there is one drawback to this method. That drawback is you may have replaced the tires for a better set and this new set has a different maximum psi and load rating.
If you follow the sticker, you could be under-inflating the tire and setting yourself up for some tire problems in the near future.
3. Using axle weights and tire load charts
This is a bit more work but it will give you a more accurate psi. The reason you get a more accurate psi is that axle ratings let you know how much weight they can handle and the tire charts match the psi to those load ratings.
There is going to be some driving and work involved in this method. You need to find a CAT scale or similar scale where you can weigh the tires and axles. Then before you leave to go to the scales, load your RV with all your supplies, etc.
Then go and weigh your axles. Keep in mind that RVs are NOT balanced when they leave the factory or the dealer. You may be inadvertently putting too much weight on one tire.
The scales will help you see this difference. Once you get the results, you may want to repack your RV or trailer to balance the load out.
Not to sound condescending, but this is an easy process and much like checking the air in your car’s tires when you think they are low. It is not rocket science as there really is only one way to check your tire’s psi at a gas station.
You should have your own tire gauge as many gas stations do not have them on their air pumps. Some do and they may or may not be accurate. That is why you buy your own tire gauge and bring it along with you. Just keep it in an easy-to-access place.
Now put the gauge on the valve after unscrewing the valve cover. You do not have to hold it for a long time, a quick burst of air will get you the tire pressure. Then read what the gauge says.
If the gauge is below the maximum psi for your tire, then you will need to attach the hose to the valve and put some more in. Go carefully and in short bursts to avoid over-inflating the tire.
Once you have finished filling the tire and have the right air pressure, put the valve cap back on and go on your way. Keep in mind all the parameters we have already discussed. But keeping to what the sidewall says will give you the right tire pressure.
Truck drivers would check the air pressure in their tires just by kicking the tire. There is a certain sound a tire makes when they are filled to the right psi. You have to train your ear to hear that sound plus kick the tire with the right amount of strength.
But before you try this, make sure you have the right pair of boots on. Sneakers, thongs, sandals, etc., will not get you that sound. You may hurt your foot though.
The next method is to use your hands. Push down on the tire with both hands and if it feels squishy or soft, then you will need to add some air. Just be careful that you do not over-inflate the tire. An over-inflated tire will be rock-hard and will not push down.
The third method is to use your eyes. Make sure to park on a flat surface and then eyeball your tires. You are looking to see if the tire looks flat or under-inflated or not.
If the tires look low or some of the tires are protruding, then you need to add some air. Finally, you can see what your cargo is doing to your tires. If one tire is overloaded then it will sink and look flat, etc., You have too much cargo on it or the tire is low on air when you see this problem.
Readjusting the cargo may help some, but you also may need to add air to the tire. There are other ways to tell that your tire is low on air without using a gauge, BUT BUY a gauge and always have it in your RV so you do not have to go through these methods.
Remember, all these methods are estimates and you run the risk of over-inflating a tire without knowing you did that.
Yes, you can and many of the more recent RVs and trucks have tire monitoring systems built-in or you can add them as optional equipment. Because tire safety is so important, manufacturers and governments have combined to make sure you are aware of the pressure in your tires.
If you have dual wheels on your axles, without these monitors, you could have a problem and not know about it. That is because the second wheel is still there working and keeping you rolling.
This is how the semi-truck and trailers make it to their destination or the next rest stop. You see all the rubber on the road from their blow out but you see no truck. That is because they could keep on driving till they found a safe place to pull over.
There are many tire monitoring devices you can buy in the after-market industry. Whether they are built-in or added later, it is a good idea to monitor your tire pressure. There are just too many factors that come into play to chance it.
When you have a big Class A RV, it is much more difficult to keep an eye on your tires. These tire monitoring systems let you keep your eye on those tires without you having to leave the driver’s seat.
No, you do not need a tire pressure monitoring system on your RV. But it is a good idea that you do have one. It is easy to start losing air in one tire and not notice that you are going flat on one side of your RV.
These tire pressure monitoring devices help you keep an eye on what is happening to your tires and their pressure. There are two types of systems you can buy. One is the direct method and the other is the indirect method. The latter is not as accurate as the former.
The direct method has a sensor that attaches directly to your tire and monitors the air pressure. The indirect system uses tire rotation to warn you if you are losing air.
These systems should provide a monitor that you can attach to the dash and you can see how your tires are doing. These systems are a good idea to have but not mandatory as of yet.
The best time to check your tire pressure is when your tires are cold. The term cold means that the tires are at the same temperature as the ambient outdoor temperature. Or those tires need to have sat for 4 hours after driving before you check the air pressure.
The reason for this is that when your tires get hot, the psi can increase substantially. It is estimated that the psi in your hot tires goes up by 2 for every 10 degrees F.
It is not just driving that heats those tires. The sun can heat them up between 10 and 50 degrees depending on your location. That means that you need to check your tire pressure long before the sun heats them up.
In a majority of cases, that means you should check your tires first thing in the morning and when the tires are still in the shade.
The easiest way is to let a tire company put the air in for you. We are not sounding smart here it is the best option when you are not physically able to bend down and handle the problem yourself.
The next easiest way is for those who can do the physical work. That is to buy your own portable air compressor. Make sure it comes with the tire attachments so you can hook it up and put air inside quickly.
While many diesel RVs have an air compressor built into their engines, etc., this is not an easy method to use. It is convenient but difficult to get the air to your tire.
You can avoid using a bike tire hand pump. Too much work and the air goes in too slow for it to be of any real use.
Putting air into an RV tire is like putting air into a passenger vehicle’s tire. It is simple, straight forward, and not that difficult. The key is to know how much air you need and have an accurate gauge to help you.
The tire gives you the psi level already so look at it if you do not remember how much your tires should have. Then buy a good tire gauge and an air compressor so you can refill your tires when tire trouble reaches you on the road.