Vehicle tires must properly be inflated to ensure safety while driving. Tires that are at the right pressure also provide optimum performance and long life. If you dislike relying on fuel station tire pressure compressors, you can buy your own tire inflator. The question is, how to use tire inflator to keep your tires in good shape?
Tire compressors at fuel stations often display inaccurate readings on their gauge because of heavy vehicles that use them. There may also be a minimal cost involved or time limit, not to mention long queues of motorists waiting to fill up their tires.
Carrying your own portable tire inflator in the trunk of your car means you can check and fill up your tires anytime and anywhere. All you need to do is hook it up to the car’s power socket or clamp it directly to the battery and adjust the tire pressure accordingly.
Portable tire inflators are also known as tire air pumps. They provide an easy way to keep your car tires inflated to the right pressure. Heavy-duty portable air inflators can fill up a tire with air in a couple of minutes. Other air pumps take longer but are compact and portable, so they won’t take up too much cargo space in your boot.
How to use tire inflator with gauge
Air inflators have slender proportions, a long air hose and simple operation. The only things you should keep in mind are the power source and what kind of gauge they are equipped with. Tire inflators work with almost any vehicle and have fast inflation times. You don’t want to be stuck on the side of the road waiting for the tire inflator to fill up. Some tire inflators have neat carry bags and various accessories such as valve grips and different power sockets.
Test tire pressure when they are cold, such as early in the morning before you set off. You can even let the tires cool down by parking the car in the shade for a few hours. The tire pressure inflator gauge will show an accurate reading if the tires are cold.
Check the recommended tire pressure
Refer to the car owner’s manual to identify the recommended tire pressure that is stated. It can also be found on the inner door sill of the driver and passenger side. The manufacturer recommended pressure is based on standard tires that have been installed in the car. Pressure values may vary if you have installed aftermarket tires and rims.
The tire pressure is usually measured in PSI (pounds per square inch). Usually, tires will have to be filled to about 32 – 35 PSI depending on their type.
Also Read safety of retreading tires
Identify the tire valve
The tire valve is a small tube with a threaded cap. It is where the air pressure is filled into the tire. The valve is found on the inner rim of the tire protruding from the hubcap or alloy wheel. Remove the valve cap by carefully unscrewing it, and attach the tire inflator air hose onto it. The tire inflator gauge will then give you a reading of the tire pressure. You can then decide to either inflate or deflate the tire depending on the pressure value indicated on the gauge.
The gauge is a special device that fits over the tire valve. The valve is a spring-loaded device that seals itself using the tire’s internal pressure. When the gauge is fixed over the tire valve, the internal air pressure of the tire will be indicated.
Check the tire pressure reading
Now that you have the gauge securely placed over the valve, you will get a reading of the tire pressure. If you hear a hissing sound, you need to adjust the air hose because it means that some air is escaping. Measure the tire pressure and compare it with the recommended tire pressure. Some pressure gauges may give you a digital reading of the tire pressure. The steps on how to use digital tyre inflator are the same as the procedure outlined here.
Also read how to change a flat tire
Use the tire inflator to fill the tires
Once you have a steady reading, compare it with the manufacturers recommended reading. If the tire pressure is too high, you can allow some of the air to escape by holding the air hose pipe at an angle until you hear a hissing sound. Let some of the air escape and then check the tire pressure on the gauge.
If the tire pressure is too low, turn on the air compressor on the tire inflator. After inflating the tire, check the gauge to ensure the tire is inflated to the correct pressure.
It is a good practice to check your car’s tire pressure twice a month. Use a gauge more often of you travel a lot because varying temperatures may cause fluctuations in the tire pressure. If the tire is maintained at the correct pressure, you will have good control of the vehicle, the steering will feel light and tires will not experience uneven wear and tear.
Also read How To Prevent A Car Tire Blowout
How to use tyre inflator at a petrol station
For many motorists, using the tyre inflator at a petrol station is a common procedure that happens every time they fill up fuel. Other drivers may be unaware about the steps involved and simply leave it to the petrol station attendants. Few car owners have their own tyre inflators at home so they don’t bother with using the air compressor at the petrol station.
If you are out on the road and notice that one or more of your tyres are low on pressure, it may be helpful to know how to use tire inflator at gas station.
The tyre inflator at the fuel station looks like a tall, rectangular, metallic box with a digital or analogue display. It will have a long air pipe sticking out of it and a special valve fixture at the end. The pressure indicated on this tyre inflator is usually measured in PSI.
Most petrol stations in India provide free access to the tyre inflators but some stations may charge a nominal fee for using the service.
Here are the steps involved in using the tyre inflator.
- Park your car at the designated spot in front of the tyre inflator. The air hose should be able to reach all four tyres of your car when parked.
- Use the parking brake to secure the car in position.
- Make use of a pair of gloves to prevent your hands from getting dirty.
- Set the desired pressure on the tyre inflator corresponding to the manufacturer’s recommended value. It will usually be between 32 and 35 PSI.
- Connect the air hose to the tyre valve after removing the treaded cap. As soon as the air hose is seated properly on the valve, it will display the current pressure of the tire. The air pump will automatically pump the pressure into the tyre. The pressure reading on the digital display should increase simultaneously.
- Once the tyre inflator has reached the desired pressure, the machine will start to beep. This indicates that the tire has been filled to the right pressure. Remove the air hose from the tyre valve when you hear this sound.
- Follow the same procedure for the other three tyres. Rear tyres may have a different pressure recommendation, so check the owner’s manual before you fill them up.
- If you have a tyre pressure gauge with you, recheck the tyre pressure to reconfirm.
- Replace the threaded caps on the tyre valves before you set off. The cap prevents any leak from the tyre valve.
The whole procedure should take around 5 to 10 minutes depending on if you have to wait in a queue to access the air compressor.
Ideally, you should check your tyre pressure every time you refill fuel. Your tyres will remain in good condition and it is a good safety precaution.
Also read Different Types Of Tyre Tread Patterns
Reasons why you need a tyre inflator at home
One of the most inconvenient experiences you can have with your car is discovering a flat tyre. Especially if you need to get into office on time. Having a tyre inflator at home is a real advantage in such a situation. The steps involved in how to use tyre inflator at home has already been described. Here are some of the reasons why you need such a device in your car.
Tyre inflators are light and portable. They have compact dimensions and can easily fit in the boot of a small car. Carrying them around is not a hassle. And filling tyres in a tight spot is quite easy.
They are easy to use at home. It is just a matter of connecting the power socket to the 12-volt outlet in your car. Some tyre inflators connect to the battery using clamps. Tyres can be filled in a matter of minutes and you can get back on the road as soon as possible. If you know how to use digital tyre inflator, the whole process is even easier. The tyre pressure reading is displayed in clear numbers.
It saves you time and effort from going to the petrol station to fill up your tyres. A tyre inflator can be used at home or anywhere at any time.
There are some new age devices that monitor your tyre pressure by adding special devices to the valves. Some cars come equipped with tyre pressure monitoring systems which give you a digital reading on the instrument binnacle. A tyre inflator at home can be used to maintain the tyre pressure to the correct level.
Tyre inflators are good value for money. They cost around Rs.1000 -2000 and can be bought from any car accessory store online or in your local market.
These devices can indispensable in emergencies. If you find yourself stranded on a highway with a flat tyre, a portable tyre inflator can come in handy.
Tyre inflators are versatile devices that can be used on other items such as footballs, and other sporting equipment. A nice thing to have if you are out camping and in the mood for some outdoor sports. Some tyre inflators also double up as vacuum cleaners that can help clean the interior of your car.
Driving can certainly be considered a luxury, but it requires proper maintenance of your car for a smooth experience. Since tires are the only component separating your car from the road, it is important to keep them in good shape.
Tires must be properly inflated for good control, adequate ride and handling and to ensure they don’t wear out prematurely. If tires are either underinflated or overinflated, they may fail while driving, cause loss of control and increase braking distances.
It is easy to overlook the condition of your tire. A visual inspection is not always sufficient. You need a tire inflator with gauge to guarantee that they are at the correct air pressure. Tire air compressors at fuel stations often provide inaccurate readings due to heavy use and constantly refilling heavy vehicle tires to high pressure.
The best solution is to have your own portable tire inflator that you can use at any time. Tire inflators can be stored in the car’s boot and used whenever required by simply using a 12-volt power outlet from the vehicle. The gauges on these tire inflators are much more accurate and give you the actual air pressure reading of your tire.
To keep your car tires at the right pressure, it is important to know how to use tire inflator for your car. When your car’s tyre pressure monitoring system indicates a low tyre pressure or you notice a flat tyre, a good quality tyre inflator can help you get back on the road without a detour to a petrol station to look for a tyre air compressor. Here you can also look Best Tyre Inflator For Bike.