One says, "I never check the tire pressure."
Another told us, "I just never think to check it."
A third explains, "I'm too lazy to worry about it."
Mechanic Alex Rodriguez sees firsthand just how dangerous it is to ignore your car's tires.
He says, "Some people have blowouts or tire failures. If you keep the correct air pressure in your tires, all these things could be avoided."
Consumer Reports' Jon Linkov says checking your tires at least once a month is one of the best safety moves you can make.
Jon says, "Underinflated tires contribute to thousands of crash-related injuries each year. Not only can they lead to blow-outs, they can also negatively affect your car's handling."
At Consumer Reports' test track, this car - with underinflated tires - has a lot of trouble on the emergency-handling course.
But with the tires properly inflated, the tester has no problem maneuvering through the same course.
Jon explains, "Underinflated tires also waste fuel and they wear out a lot faster."
Look how worn out the shoulder tread is on this underinflated tire.
To make it easier to check your tire pressure, Consumer Reports tested 14 gauges. They cost anywhere from $4 to $56.
Digital gauges are the easiest to read. This Accutire gauge for about 10 dollars is one of the top-rated ones. Next...
Jon says, "You want to make sure that you have the correct recommended tire pressure. A common mistake is going by the tire pressure listed on the tire. That's actually the pressure for the car's maximum carrying load."
Instead, look for a sticker on the driver's-side door or check your owner's manual.
To get an accurate tire-pressure reading, you have to check tires when they're cold. Having a tire gauge on hand makes that a lot easier. If you've driven your car, it takes about three hours for the tires to cool.
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