Here’s why you’ll see long lines snaking out of Discount Tire especially when the weather gets cooler.

I’ve come across this video I’m posting below on social media as of late showing this guy absolutely dumbfounded that there are literally dozens of drivers in their vehicles lined up outside a Discount Tire just for free air checks.

Is this actually a thing?

Do drivers all around America line up at Discount Tire, or their West Coast equivalent America’s Tire for free air checks?

The truth is, yes.

And here’s why.

First, check out the video that’s been making the rounds below.

In OP’s video, I counted up to 26 cars lined up outside this particular Discount Tire.

After reading through comments and doing the smallest amount of research, I found out this is actually a thing at Discount and America’s tires every year right around when temperatures start to get cold.

You might already know this, but your tires lose air pressure when it gets cold outside.

The general rule of thumb is you lose up to 2 PSI every drop in 10 degrees.

Tire shops, most notably Discount Tire, offer free air pressure checks.

A screenshot from America’s Tire about their free air pressure checks.

When it starts to get cold, all these cars start to lose air pressure and air pressure warning lights in vehicles across the nation start flashing.

It’s the perfect storm (by design) to get people lined up at Discount Tires for free air pressure checks and refills and, while they’re there, to upsell potential customers on new tires, brakes, and whatever they can point out in their cursory multipoint inspection.

Here’s a photo from San Antonio, TX from six years ago showing a similar phenomenon.

Discount Tire has a drive-thru for free “winter air”
byu/teamcaca insanantonio

“I worked at discount tire for 6 years. Generally when this kind of weather rolls around, we basically dedicate someone to do air checks all day. Days like this I could do about 100 air checks before lunch,” /u/IMI4tth3w commented.

“People also don’t realize when we check the air we also visually inspect the tires for any issues/nails/wear and let the customer know of anything we found. It can take a minute, but over the years I found countless safety issues with customer’s tires that we were able to take care of due to finding them in the air check station.”

“I can’t even fathom how many lives have been saved from this. People really don’t realize how important tires are. They are the only thing connecting your multi-ton vehicle to the road. You don’t get this service at a gas station inflation station. We also make sure the air pressures are correct for your vehicle. It’s incredible still today people just put air in their tires till it looks good.”

I also came across threads linked here and here with Redditors complaining about the same phenomenon.

The fact of the matter is that it’s both incredibly easy for most DIY’ers to check and fill their tires and somewhat difficult for everyone else.

Most car owners don’t have air check gauges and portable air compressors, let alone a bike pump to fill their own tires.

What we end up doing is going to gas stations and filling at their portable air stations.

Often the air pressure machines are asking you to pay, are not working, are just plain inaccurate, and a combination of all three.

So, of course, the average driver is going to take advantage of a free air check handled by an employee specializing in tires at a place that’s arguably a lot cleaner and safer (less traffic) than a gas station.

Go ahead and gawk at people lined up at Discount Tire for free air pressure checks, but don’t get an inflated ego (no pun intended) and think you’re suddenly better than everyone else just because you can check and fill your own air.

Cut these people a break, they’re trying their best.

That being said, filling your own tires at home is incredibly easy.

Electric portable air compressors and legit small ones (like this $60 one from Harbor Freight) with the correct fitting for car tires can be found online for cheap and, as mentioned, even a bike pump will do in a pinch.

But if you drive by a Discount Tire and America’s Tire and want to take advantage of their free air checks, don’t feel ashamed.

Treat yourself and get your air pressures checked, it seems to be an American tradition.


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