Informational Guide

How To Read Tire Pressure Gauge

In this guide, we show you how to read tire pressure gauge and how to use it.

To ensure there’s a proper amount of air in your car tires, you must check it often. However, if you don’t know how to read a tire pressure gauge, you need to read some instructions. In this guide, we look at the way to handle reading this valuable tool in multiple ways, including how to read a tire pressure gauge at a gas station. 

Before you learn how to read a tire air pressure gauge, you must understand how it works. The gauge itself is very simply designed, no matter what type you use. There’s a piston inside the chamber combined with a calibration rod and spring that runs down the entire length of the inside. 

The tire pressure gauge reading is found by pushing the end of the tool on the valve stem. It reads the pressure inside the tire and relates it to you in whatever form the gauge is capable of.

mechanic inflating a tire

Different Types Of Tire Pressure Gauges 

  • Stick Tire Pressure Gauge  
    Most people want to know how to read a tire pressure gauge pen because these sticks are the most popular. They are the cheapest and most compact. However, the tire gauge pressure reading is the hardest to understand with this tool.  
  • Analog Tire Pressure Gauge  
    The dial pressure gauge has an analog dial that looks like a clock face. The needle indicates the pressure inside the tire. These can have better features than the stick, such as an extension hose and shock-resistant cover. In some cases, you might need to use two hands when using this tire pressure gauge and learning how to use it.
  • Digital Tire Pressure Gauge  
    This easy to read tire pressure gauge has an LCD face on it, ensuring you never wonder how much air pressure is in the tires. Some of the displays will also light up, making it easy to read at night. However, these are also the most expensive options.
different types of tire pressure gauges

How To Correctly Read Tire Pressure Gauge 

If you want to know how to use a tire pressure gauge, you don’t need a lot of mechanical experience. In fact, anyone can follow the steps to learn how to read a tire air pressure gauge. Whether you want to know how to read a bike tire pressure gauge or you are hoping to figure out how to read a tire pressure gauge pen, you will follow the same steps.

  1. 1
    Check the air pressure when the tires are cold. 
  2. 2
    Determine the manufacturer’s recommended psi (pounds per square inch). 
  3. 3
    Remove the cap from the tire. 
  4. 4
    Push the pressure gauge down on the valve stem until you hear a hiss. 
  5. 5
    Remove the pressure gauge and check the reading. 
  6. 6
    Add air if needed, and don't forget to replace the cap on the valve stem. 
  7. 7
    Perform the following with the remaining tires. 

You may need to spend a few coins if you want to figure out how to read a gas station tire pressure gauge. However, the majority of the gauges are the same as the stick-type listed above. You can follow the same technique once the machine is working.  

how to read tire pressure gauge

Finding The Right Tire Pressure (For Cars & Trucks)

It’s important to find the recommended PSI (pounds per square inch) from the manufacturer. You can find this figure in the owner’s manual or on the driver’s side door jamb. What should a tire pressure gauge read? For a typical passenger car, the average PSI normally falls between 30 and 35. However, heavier vehicles that use larger tires will usually require more than this. Additionally, the air needed in your spare tire might be different.

Further Reading - How Much Air Should You Put In Your Tires?

How To Check Tire Pressure Gauge Accuracy  

Now that you know how to read the tire pressure gauge, you want to make sure it is accurate. Over time, it might become less accurate. If you have your tire pressure gauge and a newer one that you know is working, you can check the same tire with both to check accuracy. Don’t count on the reading of a tire pressure gauge at the gas station, as these aren’t always accurate and should only be used in an emergency. 

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How do I know if my tire needs air without a gauge? 

If you are in a pinch, you can push your tire with your hands. If the tire has gotten squishy or soft, you might need to add some air. On the other hand, if it is too hard and you can’t push it at all, there might be too much air.  

Why is my TPMS light on, but the tires are fine? 

If the TPMS light has come on but the tires have the right amount of air, there could be a problem with the sensor. Thankfully, they are easy and inexpensive to replace.  

Why do pressure gauges fail? 

If the tire pressure gauge won’t read, it might have been dropped or otherwise damaged, leading to trouble getting the information. For the cost of an air pressure gauge, it might be time to get another one. 

Is 35 PSI too much for most tires? 

It depends on the tire and what type of vehicle you drive. Don’t ever exceed the maximum recommended PSI listed in the owner’s manual or on the driver’s side door jamb.


How do you read a tire pressure gauge? We’ve showed you the different types of tire pressure gauges and how to read them so you can take charge of your tire’s health. Keep the right amount of air in the tires to ensure a longer service life.