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Tires & Wheels

How to Fully & Partially Deflate a Tire – 5 Different Methods

how to deflate a tire
Written by Nick Steiner

As a car owner, well-maintained tires are essential to keeping you safe. Maintaining the recommended tire pressure is the best way to increase the life of your tires.

Here we learn how to check the tire pressure, when to deflate your tires and how to deflate a tire safely.

Reasons to Deflate a Tire

Reasons to Deflate a Tire

1. The tire is over-inflated

Whether you over-inflated the tire by accident, hot weather has caused your tires to expand, or you were driving for an extended period, and the tire pressure is too high, you need to reduce the pressure in the tires.

Over-inflated tires wear quicker as they become rounded, and the center of the tire makes constant contact with the road. The thin tread is dangerous in hot weather and in wet and snowy conditions. Thin tires can develop a slow leak or a blowout and create hydroplaning in wet conditions.

2. Off-roading

You want to float on the terrain and not sink with fully inflated tires when you’re going mudding, traveling trails, or riding on the sand.

3. Changing a valve stem or a tire

If you need to change the valve stem on a tire, you will need to deflate the tire before removing the core. It is also easier to work on tires by deflating them.

How Much Pressure to Release?

  • Loose surfaces, mud, and sand

If you want to “float” to increase contact with the surface by widening and softening the tires, reduce the PSI by at least 50%.

  • Over-inflated tires

Use the recommended PSI for your vehicle as a guide.

  • Rock crawling

When rock crawling, you want good contact with the rocky surface. Reducing the PSI by 35% will let the tires mold to the stones.

  • Washboard roads, uneven dirt, gravel, or medium trails

You want the tires soft enough to maintain traction but not too soft to slow down your joyride. Reducing the PSI by 25% will give you that.

Checking Out the Tire Pressure First

Before you off-air the tires, you should check the tire pressure to know how much pressure to release. Below is a refresher on how to check the tire pressure.

Your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure is found inside the driver’s door and in the owner’s manual. Always check the tire pressure on level ground when the tires are cool.

Tire gauges come in manual and digital versions, and most have a special tip you can use to deflate the tire.

Tools

  • Tire pressure gauge

Step 1: Turn the valve stem counterclockwise to remove it and then save it to reuse.

Step 2: Place the tire gauge on the valve stem and press down until you get a reading on the pressure. It is not unusual to hear hissing as you apply and remove the gauge.

Step 3: Once you have the pressure reading, replace the valve stem and screw it back on clockwise.

How to Completely Deflate a Tire?

Tools

  • Car jack
  • Wheel chocks
  • Tire gauge or flathead screwdriver

Step 1: Jack up the car on a level surface. Chock the rear tire on the opposite side from the one you will deflate.

Step 2: Once the tire is off the ground, remove the valve stem cover using a counterclockwise turn.

Step 3: Using the tire gauge end or the flathead screwdriver, let the air out of the tire.

Step 4: Once the tire is flat, you can remove it and get to work.

How to Deflate a Tire Using a Screwdriver?

Tool

  • Flathead screwdriver

Step 1: Remove the valve stem cap by turning it counterclockwise.

Step 2: Find the metal pin in the center of the valve stem and use the flathead screwdriver to move the pin down to release the tire pressure. Let out a small amount of air.

Step 3: Use the tire gauge to recheck the tire pressure

Step 4: Repeat these steps until you get the tire pressure you want. Be careful not to let out too much air, or you may have to reinflate the tire.

Step 5: Once you achieve the desired PSI, replace the valve stem cap by screwing it on clockwise.

How to use a tire deflator?

There are two types of tire deflators, preset tire deflation valves, and a digital tire deflator.

a) Preset tire deflation valves get set to the desired PSI, and you can buy them for preset PSI. You place them on the tire, and they deflate it to the pressure you set on the deflator valve.

b) Digital tire deflators remove the valve stem pin to deflate the tire.

How to use a preset tire deflator valve?

Step 1: Remove the valve stem cap.

Step 2: Place the tire deflation valve on the valve stem. You will hear the tire deflate as you twist the valve onto the stem.

Step 3: Leave the tire deflation valve in place, it will stop releasing the pressure when the valve reaches the correct pressure.

Step 4: Remove the valve deflator by turning it counterclockwise and replacing the valve cap.

How to use a digital tire deflator?

Step 1: Remove the valve stem cap.

Step 2: Place the digital tire deflator on the valve stem by turning clockwise. Twist the valve core to unscrew it all the way to release the pressure.

Step 3: Press the stop/start valve on the side of the deflator to let the air out and stop the flow.

Step 4: You must stop releasing air to read the digital face for accurate tire pressure.

Step 5: Once you reach the desired pressure, remove the deflator. To remove the deflator, you must re-screw the valve core by twisting the valve core in the opposite direction. If you skip this step, the tire will go flat without the valve stem! Then remove the deflator from the valve stem and recap it.

Quick tire deflation tips

  • Always check the tire pressure when partially deflating a tire
  • To get an accurate tire pressure, make sure the tires have cooled down
  • Always jack up the vehicle to completely deflate a tire

About the author

Nick Steiner

Nick has been a car nut for his whole life as far as he can remember. His father was a car dealer who used to change and repair his cars himself. As a result, Nick had the opportunity to get around all sorts of cars and learned to get his hands dirty repairing vehicles from an early age.

Nick is a great fan of Japanese quality and German preciosity. His deep passion lies in older models that he believes have a flair that takes him back to his childhood. He also loves their durability and reliability when compared to the modern models.

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