After I bought my car last September, I went to Walmart and bought a tire pressure gauge because I knew it was important to maintain proper air pressure in your tires. I took the gauge home, put it in the glove compartment of my car, and promptly forgot about it for almost a year.

Last week, I was out shopping when I noticed my front tires looked a bit underinflated. I got home, fished out the tire pressure gauge, and it was then I realized I had never measured the pressure in a tire before. It was easy to do fortunately and I discovered that all my tires were basically at 28 psi, several hours after waiting for the tires to cool down. The people at Toyota suggest the optimal tire pressure for my car is 32 psi, so all my tires needed some air.

This maybe embarrassing to admit, but I’ve never put air in a car tire before. I’ve been driving on and off since I was a teenager but never had to do tire maintenance before. Now that I own my vehicle, this is the type of stuff that I’m having to deal with. Of course, I know that most gas stations have a spot where they have a compressor when you can add air to your tires. When I was kid and for most of my adult life, this air was free of charge. Recently, in an effort to squeeze as much money out of people as possible, gas stations have begun to charge people for air.

I also live fairly close to two different car tire shops and I know both will check your tire pressure and inflate your tires for free. I didn’t think this was the best idea since you have to rely on them to be not busy and they probably want to do work that makes them money rather than filling up some random person’s tires with air. Most importantly, I wanted to do it myself, rather let someone else do it.

So I decided to bite the bullet and headed off to the nearest gas station for some air. When I got there, I saw it cost $1.50 for about five minutes of compressor time. You don’t want to waste all that time, so I took the caps off all the valve stems on my tires before paying. After I tapped my credit card, the compressor roared to life, noisy and rumbly. I grabbed the hose and proceeded to give the first time a short burst of air. I checked the pressure with my gauge. It was nearly at 30 psi, so I gave it another blast. That was enough to get it right up to 32 psi. I repeated the same thing with the three other tires. It wasn’t that difficult at all.

I finished quickly enough that when I put the hose back, the next person in line for air was able to fill up his tires before the time expired. That guy got a freebie from me.

I am learning lots about car maintenance and I believe at this rate, I will be able to rebuild my engine by September.

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