Do you know how to let the air out of a tire? It’s a skill that everyone should know, especially if you own a car. The easiest way involves depressing the small pin in the centre of your tires valve stem.
Not knowing how to do so can mean if your tires pressure is too high and don’t know how to release some of the air pressure, you tire is much more likely to suffer a blowout. This can cause a huge accident and be extremely dangerous.
In this blog post, we will walk you through the process of letting the air out of a tire, step-by-step. This is an important task to know how to do, as there are many factors which can lead to the pressure inside your tires fluctuating.
Types of tire valves
There are a few different types of valves used on tires. The most popular type of valves is the Schrader valve, which is what you will find in use on pretty much all car tires today.
Schrader valves are sometimes also called the “American Valve” and is a pneumatic valve that has a small pin in the center of the valve stem. The pin is used to let air enter or exit the tire when it is pressed down.
Another type of valve is the Presta valve, which is often used on bicycles. Presta valves are thinner than Schrader valves and have a small knob on the top of the valve stem. The air pressure in the tires holds the valve shut.
A small screw and captive nut on top of each valve allow for it to be screwed tightly closed, ensuring that you have a durable seal not allowing any air to escape.
Letting the air out of a tire
Now that you know what types of valves are used on tires, let’s walk through the process of letting the air out of a tire.
Remove the valve cap
If you have a Schrader valve, the first step is to unscrew and remove the valve cap or dust cap from the valve. This valve cap helps to prevent dirt and debris from entering the valve and potentially causing damage which could cause a leak.
Once the valve cap is removed, depress the small pin in the center of the valve stem. This will begin to release air from the tire and you will hear a hissing sound as air escape.
Use a blunt tool
We recommend pressing down with a blunt tool such as a screwdriver or your car key to avoid damaging the valve. Also ensure when pressing down on the valve stem, ensure that you push it directly downwards.
Pressing down on the pin at an angle could bend the pin and cause it to not seat properly. This would cause air to leak from the valve in the future.
If you have a Presta valve, once you have removed the valve cap, unscrew the small knob on top of the valve stem to begin releasing the air from the tire. Again, you will be able to hear air escaping from the tire.
As the air is escaping from the tire, you will see the tire start to deflate. Continue to allow air to escape for however long you desire. We would then recommend checking your tire pressure with a pressure gauge and inflating again to the desired PSI.
You may be wondering how long does it take to let the air out of a tire. To fully deflate a car tire, you can expect this to take approximately 3-5 minutes. This will be quicker for a bicycle tire which will only take around 1-2 minutes.
Reasons to deflate a tire
There are the number of reasons why you might want to let some air out of your tires.
If you are going to be driving on soft surfaces such as sand or mud, letting some air out of your tires can give you better traction. This is because a tire with less air pressure in it will have a larger footprint and be able to grip the ground better.
Just be sure not to let too much air out of your tires, as this could cause damage to the tire or rim.
You may also want to release some air pressure from your tires if you have accidentally overinflated them. While some digital tire pumps are able to regulate the pressure inside a tire both by inflating and deflating it, an analogue tire pump does not have this feature.
So, if you end up putting too much air in your tire, the best way to fix it is by letting some of the air out until you reach the desired pressure.
Another reason to let air out of your tires is if you have inflated them to carry a heavy load. A tire with higher air pressure is needed to support a heavy load and afterwards you will want to return your tire pressures to their normal levels. It also reduced the risk of the tire blowing out.
Finally it is important in knowing how to let the air out of a tire when planning to replace the tire on a wheel. Failing to deflate the tire first can make it difficult to remove the tire from the wheel and could cause damage.
How to check tire pressure
Knowing how to check your tire pressure is important in knowing whether your tires are correctly inflated or if they need to be inflated or deflated to the correct pressure. Checking your air pressure can help to improve fuel efficiency, prevent flats, and increase the lifespan of your tires.
The ideal tire pressure for most passenger cars is between 30 and 35 PSI (pounds per square inch). You can typically find this information on a sticker inside the driver’s door or in the owner’s manual.
Top of the Range
To check your tire pressure, you will need a digital or analogue tire pressure gauge. With the engine off, remove the valve cap from the valve stem and press the gauge onto the valve stem until you hear or feel that it is securely fastened. Once it is attached, the gauge will give you a reading of the current air pressure in the tire.
If the reading is below the recommended pressure, you will need to add air to the tire. To do this, simply screw on the valve cap and attach an air pump to the valve stem.
Most public gas stations have air pumps that can be used for free. Start by adding air in small increments and re-checking the pressure until you reach the desired level.
If the reading is above the recommended pressure, you will be glad you know how let the air out of a tire. As we discussed earlier, this can be done by removing the valve cap and pressing down on the valve stem until air starts to escape from the tire.
Once you have reached the recommended pressure, screw the valve cap back on to prevent any more air from escaping. And that’s it! You now know how to check and adjust your tire pressure.
So, there you have it! A guide on how to let the air out of a tire and hopefully you now feel more confident in performing this task.
We hope you enjoyed this article and found it informative. If you have any questions then please leave a comment below or get in touch via email or through social media and we will read and respond to every comment, email or question. Thanks for reading!