Inflating tires

Messages
14
Location
Midwest
I am sick of going to a gas station and maybe finding a compressor that works or paying 50 cents to inflate my tires. Does any one know of a simple mechanism I can buy to "do it yourself?" Like something small I can leave in the garage. A friend of mine has a compressor the size of a refrigerator, that is out of the question.
 
Messages
1,251
Location
Austin, TX
Wally World has 9.99 12V compressors. Plug it in your cigarette outlet and go. Another plus is you can do this at home in the morning when the tires are cold.
 
Messages
1,508
Location
Colorado
A good bicycle floor pump is faster than a cheap 12v compressor, doesn't make a racket, doesn't have wires to mess with, and will probably last longer. It's what I use. Spend around $30 at a bike shop. - Glenn
 

C.O.Jones

Thread starter
Messages
14
Location
Midwest
I had no clue that a manual floor pump could inflate car tires? Does it take forever to get a tire up to proper inflation?
 

Kestas

Staff member
Messages
13,942
Location
The Motor City
It's a bit of a workout, but it gets the job done. Plus there's no expense of buying something that takes up extra room in the garage.
 
Messages
1,027
Location
East Helena, Montana
Yeah, just get the best bicycle pump (that you shove the handle up and down into a cylinder) that you can find. As said above, its a bit of a workout, but it works fine. That's all I've ever used. I almost bought a cheap, electric powered compressor pump. One of the small ones all hardware stores have, but my son, who manages a hardware store, advised against it. He says they're all made cheap, especially the part that attaches to the valve stem on the tire, which he says is cheap plastic and breaks. He knows his stuff, so I took his advice and passed.
 
Messages
4,378
Location
Camas, WA
I've used the same cheapo foot pump for years, and have 'upgraded' it with new hose and a locking valve. I used originally for my motorcycles, but found that it also worked fine on all of the cars. It doesn't work at all on the truck, where I need anywhere from 55 to 80 psi. I picked up a used Dewalt 2 gal 'Emglo' compressor from a neighbor. The compressor works well for the truck and has probably kept me out of jail, as I don't feel compelled to take an ax to the compressors at the gas stations that let air out of my tires after having to pay. I gave away a portable compressor that runs off of the battery, as it didn't do anything after making a lot of noise for several minutes. I'd like to find a higher pressure foot pump, but haven't found one.
 
Messages
3,202
Location
Far North East Texas
For years I've used a 10 gallon portable air tank, bought it at Western Auto long ago for $20. Fill it up at your local service station up to about 125 psi, according to the tank gauge. And then you're good to top off your tires at home for days, or weeks, or even 2 or 3 months, so long as you don't need very much air at a time. Not as good as a real compressor, but has served me well for over 10 years now. IMO, it beats the dickens out of those little cigarette lighter pumps. [Wink]
 
Messages
243
Location
PA
I have a 20# CO2 tank that works like a charm. I do alot of offroading and airdown to 10-14 psi to wheel depending on conditions. I use the CO2 tank to air up after wheeling and to run my impact wrench in my garage. You can get them in 5, 10, 15 and 20# tanks. My 20 lb tank costs me $15 to get filled and lasts a long time. Don't quote me but I believe you can air up 50 or so tires from 8 psi to 30 on a 15 lb tank. Mine has a regulator for my differing uses but you can run a fixed tank. Just another option.
 
Messages
119
Location
Long Beach, CA
Like many others here, I use a bicycle pump (hand plunger, stand on two flanges at the bottom to hold it in position). On my vehicles, raising the pressure by 1 psi takes 6-10 pumps, usually - pretty darn quick. That's all that's normally required (I check every 1-2 weeks). Now, for pumping up a seriously underinflated tire, that thing will give you quite a workout. But I rarely need to do that at home. It's a little less convenient for me now, since I accidentally backed over it [Dummy!] and broke off one of the foot flanges. But the pump part works just fine, and I haven't motivated myself to replace it yet.
 
Messages
263
Location
LA, CA
I used to have a standard bicycle pump (the one you pump with your arms like a jackhammer), but that started leaking air. It was a cheap one, so I simply replaced it with a foot pump. The foot pump is less tiring (sort of), but it takes longer to get the desired tire pressure.
 
Messages
1,838
Location
Southeast Louisiana
I have used the same el cheapo cigarette lighter air compressors that I bought from Advance Auto back when it was Discount Auto 5 years ago and never had any problems with it. I aired up a flat on my truck about a week before I decided to get new tires and it only took 10 minutes. (2 p.s.i. to 40 p.s.i.)
 
Messages
263
Location
LA, CA
General question-- how accurate are those pen-shaped pressure gauges? The reason I ask is because there's at least a 5 psi difference between those and the gauge that's built into my foot pump (which measures higher).
 
Messages
3,202
Location
Far North East Texas
Dave, accuracy can vary widely, but here's my answer: Unless I had a *very* good reason to believe that the pencil-type gauge was wildly inaccurate, I'd trust it over the "built-in" in the pump. Every time. I still use a Milton brand pencil gauge that's over 20 years old to check my tires. Consistency is *excellent*, & accuracy seems to be just as good, based on checking the air in my brand new tires.
 
Messages
6,171
Location
Santa Barbara, CA
My foot pump ($7) takes ~10-15 pumps for every 1psi in my 195/60/15 tires. I won't do truck tires with it, but for car tires it doesn't take long and is nice to do at home with cold tires. The gauge is way off, pencil ones are usually accurate. I had a new set of tires that were installed and filled and I checked the psi with a pencil gauge and it read 40 - the max pressure was 35, so I thought the guage was off - why would an installer put that much extra in it? I went out and bought a digital gauge and it read 39.5-40.5 on all tires, so the pencil gauge was just as accurate.
 
Messages
133
Location
USA
In addition to the suggestions others have mentioned, for about $25+ (depending upon model, and size of the battery) you can get rechargeable 12v emergency power stations with built in air compressors. The advantage of this, is that you don't have to mess with extension cords when you are filling your tires (but you do have to remember to keep the thing charged, so it's there when you want it). And another nice thing about these units (since they have a rechargeable 12v battery included), is that they can also be used to do an "emergency jump start" of your car if needed. And lets not forget that you can take the unit with you when camping, and use it as a portable power source for running car powered devices (including any small electronics that can run off a car powered adapter)! NOTE: Some of the really fancy versions, even have built in "power inverters", so that you can run 110v devices (for a small time) directly off the unit. WARNING: 12v electric air compressors tend to be fairly LOUD when running. And while they work, they also tend to fill the tires slower than the air at the gas station. So you might not want to use them in a quiet neighborhood (especially at night). And be prepared for things to take a while (possibly even a couple of minutes or more per tire, if you need a lot of air)...
 
Messages
454
Location
Cheyenne
I bought this little electric (AC, not a plug into the ciggarette lighter unit) compressor at Wally World for like $20. Been using it for years and works fine.
 
Messages
1,856
Location
PA
Im doing the same thing as Bottgers. I have the 12V electric Campbell Hausfield pump from Walmart. I liked it so much I got my girlfriend one who is not strong and has successfully used it to reinflate her tires when stranded by a slow-leak flat tire twice! Such a good investment, takes up little room too.
 
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