Inflating car tires is a simple process that every car owner should know how to do. If you’re in a situation where your tire pressure light comes on, there’s a good chance that the air pump at the gas station will be broken or not working properly. It’s possible for you to avoid going through all of that hassle by inflating your own tires using an electric tire inflator. In this article, we’ll show you how it works!
The benefits of knowing how to inflate car tires are plenty: saving time and money from waiting at the gas station, being able to inflate them whenever necessary, keeping your family safe when driving around with underinflated tires and more! Keep reading if this sounds like something that interests you.
Inflating tires is a relatively straightforward process once you know the basic steps to follow. In this article, we’ll break it down into easy-to-follow steps that will get your car back on the road in no time! The only thing that you’ll need for this is an electric tire inflator that plugs into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter / accessory plug. If you don’t have one already, check out our list of best cordless tire inflaters .
Step 1: Locate Your Car’s Accessory Plug
If your car has 12V power outlets in its interior (more than likely), your vehicle will also have at least one accessory plug located within reach of the driver seat or passenger seat. Use this image for reference.
The accessory plug is usually located in the dashboard area, near the footwells/center console area. This means you’ll need to be within reach of either your driver or passenger seat (or even both seats) when filling up your tires. You won’t need much space around you as well since it might take a little bit of time to fill up each tire. As long as you’re comfortable, that’s all that matters!
Step 2: Use Your Tire Inflator With the Car Turned Off
Before turning on your electric inflator, make sure that your car engine is turned off first . Filling up the tires while the engine is on could be dangerous if something goes wrong (excessive heating, ignition, etc). If you’re using a cordless inflator that has a power button, make sure to press and hold it down when in use.
Step 3: Inflate Your Tires from Lowest to Highest PSI
This step is where most people go wrong when they inflate their own tires. The proper tire pressure should be listed in your car’s owner’s manual or in a sticker located in the driver door jamb area. If no sticker is in sight, check out this website for more information on how to find your tire pressure based on your vehicle model.
Once you’ve found the correct tire pressure guidelines, start by filling up the front tire that sits closer to the driver seat (since you would have already moved to the driver side of the car to plug in your tire inflator).
If you’re using a cordless air compressor, always start with the lowest PSI first, then work your way up until reaching the correct tire pressure. This is because filling up one tire can result in another one being overinflated while it’s still being filled. The proper amount of air needed for each tire will be released so there should be no need to worry about that.
Corded electric inflators work differently since they tend to have more power than cordless ones do so you’ll want to continue holding down the “trigger” or button when checking/adjusting each tire’s PSI. This ensure that all tires are inflated properly and that you don’t have to stop in between.
Step 4: Repeat If Necessary
If a tire has more serious damage, it might take two inflations before reaching the proper tire pressure. Check each tire’s PSI after filling up the front one as mentioned above, then move on to the rear tires. Inflate those until reaching the correct PSI as well if needed for your car’s current driving conditions/needs. Remember to repeat this step if another tire still needs air!
Step 5: Finish by Reversing And Driving Around The Block
Once you’re done inflate all four of your vehicle’s tires to their optimal levels, reverse or back out of where your car is parked if possible and drive around the block to ensure that there’s no excessive heat/overinflation after getting back in and turning your car on. If everything seems normal, you’re free to hit the road and enjoy a safer drive!
What are the Benefits of Properly Inflated Tires?
Properly inflated tires can help reduce fuel consumption by around 3.3%, resulting in lower overall costs for car owners. Tires also experience less wear and tear since underinflation causes excessive heat, leading to tire explosions/blowouts, uneven wear on the sides (from side-to-side contact with the road), etc. The treads on your tires last longer when properly inflated as well which is why this practice should be done every time you go to get gas for your car!There are many benefits to properly inflating your tires; in fact, they affect your gas mileage, ability to avoid flats and also the life of your tire. Follow along below, and we’ll go over some of the most important benefits that properly inflated tires provide!
1. Better MPG
The first benefit is improved fuel economy. According to an ongoing study by Consumer Reports, proper inflation can return up to 3% better mpg . That’s not a ton on its own (typically about 2-3 miles per gallon), but considering that it can be achieved with nothing more than regularly checking your air pressure at home…it adds up quickly. Every little bit helps when you’re looking for cheap MPG !
2. Reduced Risk of Flats
According to a study by the United States Census Bureau, inflating your tires properly can reduce your chance of getting a flat tire by 50%. Proper inflation is important because it helps maintain the shape and structure of the tire. If the proper amount of air isn’t reaching all areas, especially inside the tire’s sidewall, then it won’t be able to support itself and you’re at risk for a puncture or blowout (which ultimately leads to flats).
3. Tire Life Increased
Finally: taking care of your car will help make sure that your tires last longer! There are all sorts of materials used in modern day tires; some more advanced than others. But over time, all types of air pressure can cause those materials to break down and the tire’s structure to deteriorate. Semi-regularly checking and adjusting your air pressure can go a long way in making sure that you get as much use out of those tires as possible!
4. Avoid Accidents
According to a study by the Department of Transportation , proper tire pressure can help avoid traffic accidents. By having your tires inflated properly, you give yourself a much greater chance in avoiding an accident in the first place. If you have a blowout or flat and can no longer control your car, that’s obviously going to put yourself and other drivers at risk; but if you’re maintaining good air pressure then it’s much more unlikely that such an event will occur!
5. Increase Tire Performance
Finally, having properly inflated tires can actually increase the performance of your car. This is possibly the least important benefit listed here, but it’s still worth mentioning! While you probably won’t notice a difference in better fuel economy or reaction during an emergency situation…the added structure and strength that comes with properly inflated tires will help provide better high speed stability. It all adds up!
6. Maintain Better Control of the Car
Proper distribution and utilization of tire pressure can provide you with much more control during dangerous or emergency situations. For example: if your car skids out and you’re unable to regain control, having properly inflated tires will help you regain traction sooner! If your tires are too underinflated then they’ll react slowly and it’ll be harder for you to avoid hitting other cars or objects in your path.
7. Reduced Roll
Finally, having properly inflated tires will reduce the amount of roll they experience. This means that when you hit an object (maybe a curb?) with your tire, it’ll react more like the car isn’t there at all; instead of rolling over or absorbing the shock in another way! It’s important to note that you shouldn’t drive on flat tires; but if this does happen they can be changed quickly and easily using one of these tools.
8. Other Benefits
There are a lot of benefits to having properly inflated tires. For example, they’re easier to move and steer, your car is more balanced , and you have increased control over the steering input. Just remember that it’s always a good idea to check or adjust your tire pressure when there hasn’t been any major difference in atmospheric conditions (like temperature).
These days, manufacturers from all walks of life recommend checking your PSI regularly. They know how important it is for your safety on the road, which is why they encourage people to check their tire pressure regularly!
So stop putting off this task – make sure that you get in the habit of checking your tire pressure at least once per month . It will help save you money on gas, reduce the chance of punctures and blowouts and it will even help your tires last longer! You won’t regret it.
What Types Of Tools Are Used To Inflate Tires?
Tire inflators come in different forms at most gas stations, hardware/home improvement stores, etc if you’re willing to pay more than the average price of $20 for this tool (which is what we’re aiming for). These include:
– Gas station air pumps: this is the most commonly used tool since it’s available at every gas station! Make sure you have a quarter on hand to activate it, though, or else you’ll be paying for a full tank of gas instead of just the air needed to get your tires back up to proper pressure.
– 12V inflator: this works with the cigarette lighter in your car and pumps out an impressive 60 psi . Basically, you’re going to have better luck using this than trying to do anything about your tire pressure on the side of the road if you don’t have any tools with you.
– Manual pump: some people don’t mind taking a little extra time out of their day and inflating tires by hand. It takes a lot more time, but if you prefer manual tools, this is a good option.
– Compressor: there are compressors that connect to the air line in your car and use the engine’s power to pump out high volumes of air very quickly. These typically cost more than $100 at hardware stores and will need their own compressor tank in most cases. Your best bet with these kinds of inflators is going towards a higher end unit that comes with all sorts of smart features like an LCD display , automatic shut off timer, etc. Each type of inflator has its pros and cons – make sure you do some research before adding one to your shopping cart!
Tire Inflators Are Used For Checking Tire Pressure Too
In addition to filling up your tires when they’re low, a tire inflator can also come in handy when you want to check your tire pressure without having to take the car for a ride. For example, these tools allow you to add or release air from your tires on the side of the road if you’ve been having problems with them and need to do some adjusting on the fly. Also, this kind of tool comes in especially handy if you have a slow leak that’s going down over time – just plug it into the cigarette lighter and inflate or deflate as needed!
How To Inflate Tires With A Power Inflator?
If you don’t think that it’ll be too cumbersome to have another gadget around your house, then we recommend getting an inflator that plugs into the cigarette lighter in your car. These are typically inexpensive (less than $20) and can inflate tires quickly while you’re on the go. Plus, it’ll make checking tire pressure even easier if you use this for both tasks!
Tools That Are Used For Fixing Tire Pressure Problems
If you want more control over your inflation levels, then we recommend getting a manual pump or compressor/power inflator that doesn’t plug into the cigarette lighter. You can also get air compressors that require their own external tank – just remember to check out reviews online before buying one of these so you know what to expect with its performance! Whether you’re looking for something very simple or super high tech , each type of air inflator has its own benefits that make it worth the purchase.
If you’re using a cordless tire inflater, remember to turn it off after finishing up. Now that you know how to inflate your own tires at home, make this part of your monthly routine if possible starting now! Once in awhile isn’t enough since tire pressure will decrease over time due to wear and tear so check your tire pressure every month (at the very least). If you’d like, be sure to read for future updates on great car tips! Thanks for reading!