How to check your tire pressure


Performing regular tire pressure checks is an important part of being a car owner. Not only does checking your tire pressure help the life of each tire, but it might even help the life of your passengers too. Sound extreme? Think again. Driving with a flat tire can be dangerous, and could easily cause an accident by not performing the way a tire should when you need it to.

If you're a little foggy on how tire pressure works, here are some things you need to know:

What's in there exactly?

Most tires are filled with compressed air. But some tire retailers are now filling their customers' tires with nitrogen. For those who don't know their chemistry, nitrogen is just dry air with the oxygen removed (air is 79% nitrogen already). Having nitrogen instead of oxygen in your tires means less air is able to escape and your tire pressure stays higher for longer. However, this isn't the only factor that determines the pressure of your tires. Air leaks can happen too. These occur in areas such as the tire/rim interface, the valve, the valve/rim interface and the wheel.

What tools are needed?

Just one. A quality pressure gauge is a wise investment for any car owner. It's also smart to keep it in your glove compartment. That way if you ever need to spontaneously check your tire pressure, you don't have to rely on a nearby gas station to supply you with a gauge. The pressure gauge you'll find at a gas station can be worn and less accurate than one that you purchase and keep for yourself.

What is good pressure?

How do you know when your tire pressure is correct? Can it be too high? Lots of people aren't sure where to set the pressure of their tires, and a good place to start is the recommendation made by the manufacturer of the tire. If you're using the tires that came with your car, you may find the recommended pressure on a sticker inside the driver's side door, or on the back of the gas filler door. It could also be located in the owner's manual. Some manufacturers give a range of ideal tire pressure, or they'll give you two different recommendations, depending on the vehicle's load.

Now that you know a little more about how tire pressure works, you can easily check for yourself in three easy steps:

  1. Check them cold
    For the most accurate pressure reading, always remember to check your tires when they're cold. A good rule of thumb is to check them at least three hours after they've been driven.
  2. Wait for the hiss
    The actual check of the tires is fairly simple. All you have to do is insert the pressure gauge into the valve stem and wait for the gauge to pop out and show the measured psi number (psi stands for ‘pounds per square inch'). You'll hear a hiss, which means air is escaping. But it's not likely that it will affect the current read of the gauge.
  3. Get the number
    Once you've got your psi number, compare it with the manufacturer's recommended number. If it's above the desired number, release air from the tires until it matches. If below the desired number, add air until it matches.

How to make a claim

Call 1-877-251-8656 to speak with a Claims Advisor.

Renewing your policy

Call 1-877-251-8652 for information regarding policy renewal.

Buying a new policy

Call 1-866-660-9035 for information on obtaining a quote.

Need help?

Take a look at the top 5 FAQs:

  • What are my choices in terms of auto coverage?

    What are my choices in terms of auto coverage?

    If you own or drive a vehicle in Canada, you must be insured. Different provinces have different requirements, but the four mandatory elements of auto insurance are:

    1. Liability - if you cause an accident and someone sues you
    2. Accident benefits - if you or someone in your vehicle is hurt in an accident
    3. Direct compensation – property damage (Ontario only)- if your vehicle gets damaged (and it's determined you're not at-fault or only partly at-fault)
    4. Uninsured motorist - if you're in an accident with an uninsured or hit-and-run driver
  • How do I reduce my insurance costs?

    How do I reduce my insurance costs?

    There are several things you can do to reduce your insurance premium costs:

    1. Work on your driving record
      Here's an easy, yet effective way to bring down your insurance costs: build a consistent accident and conviction-free track record with an insurance company.
    2. Choose your automobile wisely
      Do your research before you invest in a new car. Read consumer reports, and check with your insurance company to find out which cars tend to be targets for theft and vandalism. Remember, if you buy a car with a high theft rate, your premium will be higher.
    3. Adjust how you use your car
      By adjusting the way you use your vehicle, you can also bring down the cost of your insurance rates. If you live in a metropolitan area:
      • can you take the subway, train or bus to work?
      • has your job changed, or have you moved recently?
      • do you use your automobile to drive a short distance to work?
      • does your vehicle get used for low annual kilometers?
        If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be entitled to lower insurance costs. Another consideration is whether you let others use your car. It is sometimes possible to exclude certain high-risk drivers from your policy so that good drivers are not penalized with a higher premium.
    4. Choose a higher deductible
      If you choose a higher deductible up front, your premiums will be lower.
    5. Review your coverage
      Take a closer look at your coverage to make sure you're not paying for things you don't need.
  • How can I earn PC Optimum points?

    How can I earn PC Optimum points?

    When you use your President's Choice Financial Mastercard to pay your PC auto insurance premium, you'll get 20 PC Optimum points per dollar of your premium.

  • Are other drivers insured to drive my car?

    Are other drivers insured to drive my car?

    Yes, as long as he/she has your permission to drive the vehicle, has a valid driver's licence and has not been specifically excluded from driving the vehicle. However, all licensed drivers in your household must be listed on your policy—regardless of how often they use your vehicle.

  • What is a deductible?

    What is a deductible?

    A deductible is the amount that you agree to pay towards the repair or replacement of your vehicle before your insurance pays the rest. You choose your deductible amount when you purchase your auto insurance. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium.

See all Auto Insurance FAQs


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