How to Let Air Out of a Car Tire [And When You Should]

By Jed Lehman •  Updated: 01/18/23 •  7 min read

Welcome to our guide explaining how to let air out of a car tire. Proper tire inflation is crucial for ensuring the safe operation of your vehicle. When tires are under-inflated, they can cause poor handling, increased fuel consumption, and a higher risk of failure. Conversely, over-inflated tires can lead to a bumpy ride and an increased risk of a blowout. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps to safely letting air out of a car tire. This will make it so you can achieve the proper tire pressure for your vehicle. We will cover how to locate the valve stem, use a tire gauge, and properly replace the valve stem cap.

How to Let Air Out of Your Car Tire Safely

There are a few steps you can take to safely let air out of a car tire:

  1. Locate the valve stem: On the sidewall of your tire, you should see a small, round cap that covers the valve stem. This is where you will release the air from the tire.
  2. Remove the valve stem cap: Use your finger or a small tool, such as a screwdriver or a valve stem cap remover, to twist the cap off of the valve stem.
  3. Use a tire gauge: Before you release any air from the tire, you should use a tire gauge to check the current pressure of the tire. This will give you a baseline for how much air to let out.
  4. Release the air: Once you have the valve stem cap off, use a tire pressure gauge with a release button on it, or use a manual tire deflator, to let out the desired amount of air.
  5. Replace the valve stem cap: Once you have let out the desired amount of air, replace the valve stem cap by screwing it back on.
  6. Re-check tire pressure: Once you are done, you should recheck the pressure of the tire with a tire gauge to make sure you have not let out too much air or not enough.

Best Air Compressor For the Job

It is important to note that you should always check the vehicle owner’s manual or the sidewall of the tire. This will ensure you determine the recommended tire pressure for your specific vehicle. With that said, letting air out of your car tire (or adding air to your car’s tire) is easy with this portable air compressor.

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It is very important to regularly check the tire pressure. You will likely have to make adjustments as needed to ensure your tires are properly inflated. This can help improve fuel efficiency, vehicle handling, and extend the life of your tires.

What Happens if There is Too Much Air in Car Tires?

If there is too much air in your car tires, it can cause a number of problems. Some of the most common issues associated with over-inflation include:

  1. Reduced Traction: Over-inflated tires have less contact with the road, which means less traction. This can make it harder to handle the vehicle. It can also make it more difficult to control, especially in wet or slippery conditions.
  2. Increased Ride Harshness: Over-inflated tires are less compliant, which means they don’t absorb bumps and vibrations as well. This can make the ride in the car much harsher, resulting in discomfort for the passengers
  3. Reduced Tread Life: Over-inflated tires have less contact with the road, which means they wear less evenly. This can lead to faster and more uneven tread wear, which can reduce the life of your tires.
  4. Increased Risk of Failure: Over-inflated tires are under more stress. This can increase the risk of a blowout or other failure. Over-inflation of tires increase chance of Sidewall Bulges and blowouts.
  5. Poor Fuel Efficiency: Over-inflated tires can cause your vehicle to work harder and consume more fuel.

It’s important to regularly check your tire pressure and make adjustments as needed to ensure your tires are properly inflated. By following the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle, which can be found in the vehicle owner’s manual or on the sidewall of the tire, you can improve fuel efficiency, vehicle handling, and extend the life of your tires.

Maintaining Proper Tire Pressure

Here are a few additional things you should know when it comes to maintaining proper tire pressure:

  1. Check tire pressure regularly: It’s important to check your tire pressure on a regular basis, at least once a month and before long trips, and make adjustments as needed.
  2. Check pressure when tires are cold: The best time to check your tire pressure is when the tires are cold, as driving even a short distance can cause the tires to heat up and give a higher reading.
  3. Use a reliable gauge: When checking your tire pressure, make sure to use a reliable tire gauge. Digital tire gauges are generally more accurate than analog gauges.
  4. Don’t forget the spare: Many people forget to check the pressure on their spare tire. This is just as important to make sure it’s properly inflated.
  5. Check tires under different loads: Make sure to check the tire pressure and adjust as needed when carrying extra passengers, cargo, or towing a trailer, as the recommended tire pressure can vary under different loads.
  6. Weather and temperature changes: Temperature changes can affect tire pressure. During cold weather, tire pressure can decrease. During hot weather, it can increase, so make sure to check tire pressure more often during these season and adjust accordingly.

Examples of when you may need to let air out of your car or truck tires include:

  1. If the tires appear to be overinflated
  2. When carrying a heavy load in the vehicle
  3. During hot weather conditions
  4. When driving on rough or off-road terrain
  5. Prior to driving at high speeds for an extended period of time
  6. After installing new tires on the vehicle, they need to be “seated” to match the shape of the rim

If the tires appear to be overinflated

Overinflated tires can cause a number of issues. Some of the most common are a rougher ride, decreased traction, and increased wear on the tires’ center. If you notice that your tires appear to be overinflated, it’s a good idea to let some air out. Do this until they reach the recommended pressure level.

When carrying a heavy load in the vehicle

If you’re carrying a heavy load in your vehicle, such as a full trunk or a roof rack with a lot of weight on it, the extra weight can put extra pressure on the tires. This can cause the tires to become overinflated. With that, it’s a good idea to let some air out in order to maintain the correct pressure level.

During hot weather conditions

Hot weather can cause the air inside your tires to expand, which can cause the tires to become overinflated. It’s a good idea to check the pressure of your tires on a regular basis when the weather is hot and let some air out as needed.

When driving on rough or off-road terrain

Rough or off-road terrain can put a lot of stress on your tires, especially if they are overinflated. When driving on rough terrain, it’s a good idea to let some air out of your tires in order to provide better traction and reduce the risk of a flat tire.

Prior to driving at high speeds for an extended period of time

High speeds can put a lot of stress on tires, especially when you’re driving for an extended period of time. To reduce the risk of a blowout, it’s a good idea to let some air out of your tires before hitting the highway.

After installing new tires on the vehicle, they need to be “seated” to match the shape of the rim

When you install new tires on your vehicle, the tires are usually filled with more air than necessary to make them easier to handle during installation. Once they are mounted, you should let some air out. This is so that they “seat” properly on the rim and to match the recommended air pressure.

Conclusion

Proper tire pressure can have a significant impact on your vehicle’s performance and safety. By taking the time to regularly check your tire pressure and make adjustments, you can improve fuel efficiency, vehicle handling, and extend the life of your tires.

Jed Lehman

Jed Lehman is a born gearhead who has been working on cars since he could crawl. He inherited his love for auto from his grandfather who owned a maintenance shop in Carlsbad, California. Jed is the driver behind Gearshift, and started this site to provide straightforward, helpful automobile information. From maintenance tips to product reviews, you can find it all here.