What Tire Pressure Is Too Low? Learn How To Check Yours

Maintaining the proper tire pressure is essential for ensuring a smooth ride and maximizing fuel efficiency. Nevertheless, it can be tricky to determine what tire pressure is too low. In general, tires should be inflated to the manufacturer's recommended pressure.

Depending on the load being carried or the road conditions, it may be necessary to adjust the pressure in some cases. If the tires are underinflated, they will flex more and generate more heat, leading to a blowout.

On the other hand, if the tires are overinflated, they will provide a less comfortable ride and may wear down more quickly. Keeping an eye on the tire pressure is important, as is inflating or deflating the tires as needed.

What is Low Tire Pressure?

  • Low tire pressure—also known as underinflation—is a condition in which one or more tires have an air pressure below the manufacturer's minimum recommended cold inflation pressure. It is a common cause of tire problems and can be dangerous because it causes tires to wear out prematurely. Underinflation also reduces fuel efficiency, harms vehicle handling, and increases the risk of tire blowouts. If you fail to replace your tires frequently enough, your worn-out tires may cause an accident.*
  • The term "cold" is important because as you drive, friction between the road surface and your tires generates heat inside them. The higher temperature increases the air pressure inside each tire slightly above its cold inflation level.
  • Frequently checking your tires' air pressure using a tire gauge is the only way to determine if they're properly inflated. Learn when, how, and how often to check your tires' air pressure.

Low Tire Pressure Warning Light

A low tire pressure warning light is a dashboard alert message displayed on your vehicle's dash. The low tire pressure alert will come up if the tire pressure sensor detects that one of the tires is 25% below the recommended pressure.

The low tire pressure indicator will look like an exclamation mark in parentheses, accompanied by a car picture and an exclamation mark.

If you see the low tire pressure light, it's important to pull over at your next opportunity and check your tires for damage or punctures. Check your owner's manual to determine how much air to add to your tires if there are no punctures.

Check Your Tire Pressure

Check tire pressure when tires are cold. When you drive, your tires warm up and expand, and the reading will be inaccurate if you check the pressure while they're still hot.

Check tire pressure when the car is parked. You only get a reading for one tire when you check the pressure while driving, so you won't get a good picture of your overall tire condition.

Check tire pressure using a tire pressure gauge. By using a dedicated air pressure gauge, you get the most accurate reading possible. These range from cheap ($5) to expensive ($50).

Why is Low Tire Pressure Bad?

Low tire pressure can be a nightmare for drivers, and it can cause your tires to wear out faster and become susceptible to blowouts. In addition, this can lead to accidents and leave you stranded on the side of the road due to a flat tire.

Let's be honest: none of these scenarios sound like fun. No one wants to deal with these situations. That said, low tire pressure is more than just an inconvenience. It also causes your fuel economy to suffer and could even cost you additional money down the road due to replacing your tires sooner than expected.

You can also get ticketed if you have low tire pressure in some states (like California and Louisiana). This can result in costly fines and points on your license—and no one wants either of those things.

What is the recommended frequency of checking tire pressure?

Your tires should be checked once a month to ensure they are at the proper pressure. Don't forget to check your spare; if you're in an emergency, you'll want to be sure it's properly inflated.

Consider adding a tire pressure gauge to your emergency kit. If you have a newer car, you can check the tire pressure on your dashboard. You can also usually find out if the tires are cold or hot when checking them.

To make sure you're driving safely, check your tire pressure regularly and ensure you're above the recommended tire pressure.

To make sure you're driving safely, check your tire pressure regularly. You must ensure that your tires have 2/32 inches of tread depth to ensure they have enough traction.

You can measure the tread depth with a penny or a quarter. If the tread covers the top of Lincoln's head, you have more than 2/32 of an inch and are safe to drive. In this case, you should replace your tires right away if you can see Lincoln's entire head.

What Affects Tire Pressure?  

The most common thing that affects your tire pressure is temperature. It sounds obvious, but the air expands when it gets hot and contracts when it gets cold—like a sponge.

Also, changes in altitude can make a difference. If you live in Denver and go down to sea level during the weekend, your tire pressure light may come on due to the expanding air inside your tires.

Tire age, load, tire size, type of tire, and vehicle make and model can affect your tire pressure slightly. These factors shouldn't alter your tire pressure unless you have a problem with your TPMS sensors (Tire Pressure Monitoring System).

How Do You Tell If You Have Low Tire Pressure?

Tire pressure is low when:

  • You feel that the steering and driving feel is not smooth. This makes the vehicle feel "heavy" and more difficult to maneuver.
  • The fuel economy suffers. The lower the tire pressure, the higher your fuel consumption will be. The extra rolling resistance of a tire with low pressure also generates more heat in the tires, leading to damage.
  • Treadwear increases. A tire with too little air expands unevenly due to centrifugal force when it rotates at high speeds (i.e., on a highway). This can cause premature tread wear or even affect how well certain areas grip ice and snow, leading to increased stopping distances or even tire blowouts.

Fuel economy

In addition to affecting your vehicle's handling and safety, under-inflated tires hurt your fuel economy. How much? If your tire pressure is too low, according to the EPA, you will lose 0.2 percent of your gas mileage.

With gas around $2 per gallon right now, that equates to only an extra four cents or so per gallon if you're using a gas tank (around 12 gallons). If you drive a lot, for instance, in rush hour traffic, with gas at $4 per gallon, those four cents will add up very quickly.

Tire Wear

It's time to check your tire pressure. If you're new to tire pressure, you should be checking your tires regularly—or at least once a month.

Tire wear is a pretty straightforward concept: The treads on your tires wear down, and the sidewalls stay the same. In all senses of the word, your car is losing control.

The worn tread will cause your tires to deflate over time slowly; this is why it's important to maintain proper tire pressure while driving.

Keeping your tires at the right pressure can prevent dangerous situations while driving on unfamiliar roads or highways.

Stopping Distance

In addition to this article, you should know how much air to add or remove to your tires when they are new. This can be tricky because it varies depending on the vehicle and tire manufacturer, but there are a few basic rules of thumb:

  • When your tires are new, they will usually come with a recommended pressure written on the sidewall. You should check these pressures before every driving trip to ensure that you're within the safe range for your tires.
  • The temperature, humidity, and other factors that affect tire life affect tire manufacturer's recommendation pressures. Don't assume the pressure recommended for summer driving is the same as winter.
  • Tire manufacturers may not recommend pressures lower than those used when the tires were manufactured, even if they state otherwise in their advertisement.

Don't worry if you think you have lost air from your tires—it happens all the time—and don't hesitate to add air when needed. Don't overinflate, and always check manufacturer recommendations before adding fuel to your air compressor.

The attendant at the gas station who insists you add more air after you run out of gas is part of a profession trying to sell more product (and profit) without regard to quality.

What happens when your tire gets low on air?

There are several dangers and disadvantages when driving with low tire pressure. First, you have less traction on the road, and you will have less control of your car, especially in slippery conditions like rain or snow.

Also, underinflated tires wear out faster than properly inflated tires. So what does this mean? You will need to replace your tires more often and spend more money. Finally, it takes longer to stop if you hit the brakes in an emergency.

Sudden Loss of Control

Sudden loss of control. That is a statement that can mean bad things for your safety, and it can also mean increased gas mileage and longer tire life when you're paying attention to the pressure in your tires, though.

When your tires are underinflated, you put yourself at risk of a sudden loss of control by having worn or bald tires on the road at highway speeds. Losing control of your car in a dangerous situation should be avoided.

The proper tire pressure helps you stay safe on the road and provides good long-term care for your vehicle's tires. You can check out our post on what tire pressure is too low [LINK] to learn more about an ideal range of inflation levels for each brand and model of vehicle.


Blowouts are the stuff of nightmares. The tire suddenly loses air pressure and separates from the wheel, leaving you in control of a car that can no longer be steered. This is an incredibly dangerous situation, but it's also extremely difficult to recover from. People generally slam on the brakes and pull over to the side of the road when they have a blowout.

This couldn't be further from the truth. A blowout is a scary moment, but if you know how to react (and don't panic), you can usually control your vehicle until you come to a safe stop.

How Can Low Tire Pressure Be When It's Time To Drive?

You may even see the low tire pressure warning light come on your dashboard in extreme cases. In most of our vehicles, we've run at least 20% below the recommended tire pressure for some time.

If you don't have TPMS in your car, it's up to you to check your tire pressure with a gauge before driving, and that will allow you to decide if the current reading is too low for safe driving or not.

Why is it important to check tire pressure?

You might wonder why checking your tire pressure is such a big deal—it can save you money, time, and maybe even your life. Incorrectly inflated tires can result in punctures, blowouts, and unsafe driving conditions, to name a few. With this being said, you need to check your tires' air pressure once every month (at least).

What is the lowest tire pressure you can have and still drive?

  • Yes, you can still drive with low tire pressure, but you're asking for trouble if it's too low. A car's braking distance is extended by the reduced traction between the tire and the road.
  • There may be circumstances where you will not be able to stop as quickly or in time as you are used to stopping.
  • If police officers notice that your tires are overinflated, they may pull you over and issue a ticket.
  • You are more likely to experience a flat tire or blowout if your tire pressure is too low.
  • Low tire pressure can also cause damage to other parts of your vehicle, such as the suspension and tires themselves.

How low does tire pressure have to be for the low tire pressure light to come on?

If you have a low tire on pressure, it can be a pain to find out how low the pressure is. The new Low Tire Pressure Light illuminates when the tire pressure is below 25 psi, 15 psi, or 7 psi (depending on your vehicle and tire).

The light will come on if the pressure drops below these levels. If you wonder how to check your tire's air pressure, this simple guide will help you.

What causes tire pressure to become low?

Tire pressure drops over time due to several factors. One major source of pressure loss is temperature. As the temperature drops by ten degrees Fahrenheit, the air in your tires contracts, and your tire pressure decreases by one pound.

Also, if you swapped out your original equipment (OE) wheels and didn't keep the TPMS sensors, you can lose tire pressure.

Some cars have a special low-pressure warning light, but some don't. That is why it is important to make sure that your tire air pressure is maintained regularly.

How do I know how much pressure to put on my tires?

To know what tire pressure is too low, you should know your car's tire pressure. There are several places you can find this out.

  • Check the owner's manual. The best place to look is always in your vehicle's owner's manual. It will list not only the recommended tire pressure for your car, truck, or SUV but also the proper cold tire inflation psi for the spare tire.
  • Check a label inside the driver's door jamb or glove box door. These labels are located on the driver's side door jamb or in an unused area of the glove box door.
  • Check the tires themselves. Depending on where you live and your tires' age, you may simply need to check your tires. Newer (2012 onwards) vehicles have had their recommended tire pressure printed onto each sidewall by law. If you do not have access to one of your manuals, this could save you a lot of trouble.

How do tire pressure monitoring systems work?

TPMS systems warn drivers when their tire pressure is dangerously low. TPMS directly monitors the air pressure in your tires and will alert you if they fall below a certain threshold.

Tire pressure sensors monitor the tires of your vehicle to determine if they have enough air pressure, typically 25 to 30 pounds per square inch (PSI). When one of your vehicle's tires reaches this minimum, an indicator light on your dashboard will let you know that you need to add air to that tire.

Can cold weather cause low tire pressure?

Yes. As it turns out, the temperature outside has a pretty profound effect on the pressure in your tires. For every 10 degrees Fahrenheit, your tire loses about 1 PSI of pressure.

A couple of hours after you check your tires at night and during the day when it gets 40F and -20F, your tires might be 20 PSI smaller.

If you live somewhere where the nighttime temperature drops really low, you should check your tire pressure at least twice a week.

How do you check tire pressure?  

The easiest way to check your tire pressure is with a tire pressure gauge. You can find these at any automotive store, and most gas stations have them available for customers.

A portable tire inflator or digital tire gauge with an inflator is also available, but it tends to be more expensive and bulkier than the smaller handheld gauges.

Follow these steps when checking your tire pressure:

  • Remove the cap from one of the valve stems on your tires to expose it, which will give you access to check your air pressure. If you don't have any caps on your valve stems, that's okay; just skip this step.
  • Make sure the round part of the tool is fully pressed against the wall of the valve stem opening (but be careful not to press too hard.)
  • Watch as the needle moves around until it stops and gives you a reading in PSI (pounds per square inch). If you need it inflated, put air in using an air compressor or air pump at a filling station before checking again with a tire gauge tool.

What Is Tire Pressure Too Low To Drive On?

In the comfort of your driveway, you can check your tire pressure with a tire pressure gauge if you have one at home.

So how do you check your tire pressure? First, make sure that your tires are cold (or "at ambient temperature") before checking the pressure. If you drive with underinflated tires and immediately check the pressure, it will be too high.

Underinflation increases heat so if you want an accurate reading, let your car sit for a few hours before checking.

Place the tire pressure gauge over each valve stem when the vehicle is cool and parked in a shady area. The gauge will hiss as it starts measuring pressure; wait until it stops hissing to get an accurate reading.

However, air compressors tend to overinflate, so using a traditional manual-reading tire gauge or digital tire gauge is best.

Dangerously low tire pressure: what is it?

Dangerously low tire pressure is not just inconvenient; it can also be dangerous. These are some of the signs you need to watch out for:

Your Vehicle Loses Control—Either at High Speeds or Slow Ones

Underinflated tires make it harder for you to control your vehicle, and tires with less air have less stability and are less able to grip the road. Under normal driving conditions, a driver won't notice a difference if their tire pressure is only 10 PSI low.

However, the underinflated tires can lose traction quickly if they need to brake suddenly or turn sharply while driving fast.

You Find It Harder To Steer Your Vehicle

Underinflated tires become quite hard at low temperatures, affecting your vehicle's handling on the road. Cars and trucks affected by this can drive differently and lose control easily as they can move outside of their lane or off the road.

Safe Tire Pressure Range

The lowest "safe" tire pressure you can drive your car on is 30 PSI. Tires with low pressure will not be able to grip the road as well, which makes the vehicle feel sluggish. Additionally, they will wear out faster. Don't worry if your tires are above this threshold; however—you won't damage them.

The low end of what's safe doesn't mean it's recommended to have your tires at that level. Experts advise keeping your tires at least 5 PSI above what they say is the minimum possible tire pressure you can drive on (30 PSI).

This ensures they're not too low, but they're also not so high that they'll become more prone to punctures. Depending on the vehicle type and manufacturer, the ideal pressure range is between 32-35 PSI in most passenger cars.

Is Your Tire Pressure Too High?

The opposite is also true. Driving with overinflated tires is very dangerous, since it can lead to a blowout and lead to an accident. This is especially true when the air temperature rises and your tires get hotter.

The heat causes the air in your tires to expand, making them more susceptible to over-inflation and a blowout if you aren't careful. So make sure you check your tire pressure regularly.

Besides checking your tire pressure, you should check your tires for other problems that could cause an accident. Bleached spots on your tires, cracks in the sidewalls, improper alignment (which can cause uneven wear), and inadequate tread depth (if it is below 1/16th of an inch).

It is important to check your tire pressure at least once a month.

Keeping your tires properly inflated is very important. There are many reasons for proper tire inflation, including efficiency, safety, and cost savings. To check your tire pressure, you will need a gauge.

These inexpensive tools can be found at most auto parts stores or even some gas stations. You can read the valve stem's number by placing the gauge on top of it. If you've driven for any distance in the last couple of hours, it may be best to let your tires cool down before checking your tire pressure.

It's also helpful to keep a record of your findings to tell whether or not it's time for new tires.

What is good tire pressure?

The right pressure is crucial for safe and comfortable driving, tire life, and fuel economy.

Every vehicle uses tires rated according to their maximum weight and width. If you want to learn the recommended tire pressure on your car or truck, you'll need to look at your owner's manual. For many vehicles, the recommended pressure is printed right there on the label, but if it isn't, follow these steps:

Step 1: First, find the manufacturer's name of your vehicle.

Step 2: Once you know who makes it search for "tire pressure" or "tire pressure" on Google (or wherever you normally get information).

You should end up at a Web page with settings for various parameters about your car/truck. We've put here all the settings that differ from one car to another (e.g., what air filter size does my car require? ), so you can pick one that fits your vehicle.

What is normal tire pressure?

It is essential to check the tire pressure in order to determine whether they are too low. If you don't have a tire gauge, get one before proceeding. They're cheap and easy to use, and they can save you a lot of money by preventing balding tires and blowouts on the highway.

First, remove the cap from the valve stem at the top of each tire to check your tire pressure.

Then take your air gauge and place it firmly over the valve stem to create an air-tight seal. Pressing down firmly will cause you to hear a hissing sound, and this means you've done it right and are getting an accurate reading of how much air is in that tire.

Do Car Companies Determine Recommended Tire Pressure?

Yes, tire pressure is determined by the manufacturer and vehicle. Car companies set the recommended tire pressure, and they use the same principle from above to determine what's best for their vehicles.

Due to other factors such as fuel economy and weight distribution, you may find your car's tire pressure varies from another model year.

You can find out what your car company recommends by checking the owner's manual or on a sticker inside the driver's door frame.

The wheel bearings should be worn evenly throughout the life of the car.

Most manufacturers place a sticker on your vehicle's interior driver-side door jamb. This "Door Jamb Tire Pressure Sticker" lists the tire pressure for all four tires and the spare tire. The sticker also includes any recommended load index and speed rating for your vehicle.

Unless it's stated in your owner's manual or on a sticker, you'll need to contact your tire dealer if you don't find it.

Do I have to change the pressure with different tires?

The above section discusses how different tires are designed to handle different pressures. It's important to follow your tires' pressure recommendations because too much pressure can cause damage.

For example, if you have a regular tire that can handle a maximum of 30 PSI and put in 40 PSI, the tire will wear unevenly, which could blow out. The same goes for putting too little pressure into your high-pressure tires (you don't want them to wear too quickly).

Follow the manufacturer's guidelines. They know what they're doing.


By now you should know a lot more about tire pressure if you have reached the end of this article. You know how to check your tire pressure and what different ways you can use to do that.

Moreover, you also understand what factors affect your vehicle's tire pressure and which range is ideal for your car's tires. We hope you learned something new from this article today.

David V. Williamson

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