In honor of the 11th annual Tire Safety Week, Bankrate.com is urging you to check your car tire pressure today -- and to make a note to check it the first week of every month in the future. Only 15 percent of motorists check their tire pressure properly on a monthly basis, according to the latest data by the Rubber Manufacturers Association. That's a dismal statistic considering that underinflated tires greatly increase the risk of a car crash, which can result in higher car insurance rates, not to mention personal injury, and increase ownership costs through reduced fuel economy and faster tire wear.
Checking your car's tire pressure is easy. A tire pressure gauge costs a few dollars at the local auto parts store or the auto section of any big-box retailer. Check the pressure by firmly inserting the end into the tire stem when the tires are cold. Consult your owner's manual or the driver-side doorjamb of your car for the proper pressure. (The sidewall of the tire lists the maximum pressure for the tire, not the recommended pressure.) Tires naturally lose air over time, so be prepared to add air to bring the tires back within the recommended pressure. Finally, if you car is equipped with a spare tire, don't forget to check that too.
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.