How to Inflate a Tire?

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When it comes to tire maintenance, perhaps the most basic skill you need to have is knowing how to inflate a tire.

But if you feel this is one of your blindspots, then don’t worry because our team of experts here have put together this guide to ensure that no matter what your circumstances, you know how to inflate a tire!

Importance of Keeping Tires Inflated

A well-inflated tire is an integral part of proper car maintenance. Tires can deflate for a few reasons, such as temperature changes, leaks, or naturally over time. No matter the cause, it’s crucial to keep an eye on the tire pressure.

A tire’s pressure number is its pound per square inch or PSI. PSI measures how much pressure the air inside the tire exerts on the rubber.

When the pressure is too low and there isn’t enough air, the tire deflates. Deflated tires can cause breaking times and distance to increase, tire failures, too much wear on the tire treads, and poor gas mileage.

On the other hand, overinflating the tire can cause issues with handling the vehicle, uneven wearing on the treads, and potential blowout.

Checking Air Pressure

Checking air pressure is the first step to inflating a tire, as you’ll need to know if it’s even necessary. Usually, it’s only in extreme cases that you can spot a deflated tire.

You’ll want to check the air pressure before inflating and during the process, so make sure you’re comfortable with these concepts.

Knowing Your Tire’s Ideal Pressure

First, and most important, is knowing the car’s ideal air pressure. There are numbers on the side of the wall of a tire, do not follow these. This number is the maximum PSI for the tires, not the ideal PSI for your vehicle.

Instead, check the door on the driver’s side or in your vehicle manual. Along the side or bottom of the door, there is usually a sticker with the front and rear PSI numbers listed. These are the numbers you want.

If there is no sticker, the information should also be in the car’s manual. Check the maintenance or car-care sections.

Factors of Air Pressure

The temperature can alter a tire’s air pressure.

In the cool morning, and when the car still hasn’t moved, is the best time to check the PSI. Driving the vehicle and external temperatures can cause the tires to heat up.

When tires heat up, the air inside expands. This temperature change causes high-pressure readings, even when it’s inaccurate to how much air is actually in the tire. If the tires seem hot and give a higher than average reading, it may not be a sign of overinflation.

You should get a reading on the tire pressure before leaving the house and then check the PSI again at a destination with a pump. The number will have changed, but if you remember the original number and how much air was necessary, you can fill the tires accordingly.

Alternatively, if the tire is hot, it should only change between 1-4 PSI. You can add 1-4 to the ideal PSI for your vehicle and fill it to this number. But when the tire is cold again, double-check that it isn’t overinflated.

Check Your Tires

Now it’s time to check the tire pressure. You should use your tire gauge, it’s not only handy to have one around, but gas station gauges can be inaccurate. 

To check your PSI, your tires should be cool and the vehicle must be parked in a level area. The tires should have a small nub protruding from the wall, and that’s the tire’s valve.

The valve will have a small cap on top that you can twist off. Don’t lose this cap! These caps keep dust and water from getting inside your tire and causing issues.

Now, your tire gauge should have a flat, circular end with a pin in the middle. Line this end up with the valve and press it firmly. You will hear air releasing out of the valve, and when the gauge is in the proper position, this noise will reduce. A reading should appear of the PSI.

Some modern cars may have digital readings of the tire pressure inside the dashboard. It may still be a good idea to double-check these numbers by hand.

Inflating a Tire

Now that you know the tire’s air pressure, you can finally get to how to inflate a tire.

Here are some of the essential tips:

  • Ensure you’re in a level position
  • The air compressor hose should reach all four tires.
  • Periodically check the PSI during the process for overinflation.
  • If the tires overinflate, release excess air by using the backside of the gauge.
  • Don’t forget to replace the valve caps

Inflating at a Gas Station

Grab your quarters or small change because most gas stations require a small fee for their air.

Take the hose to the tires. Remove the valve cap if you haven’t already. Line up the air compressor hose similarly to a tire gauge. Firmly press the hose to the valve, and you should hear a faint sound of air entering the tires. If there is a loud hissing of air escaping, reposition the hose for a better connection.

Enjoy having precise tires.

Inflating at Home

If you have an air compressor at home, you can get out of paying for air. The process is simple.

Turn on the air compressor. Once you’ve checked the PSI of the tires, bring the hose over to all four tires. The hose should have an attachment similar to the tire pressure gauge.

Press this firmly against the valve. If you hear air escaping, try repositioning the hose until it is a more muted sound of air entering the tire. Add air in short bursts, replace the valve caps and enjoy the perfect tires.

FAQs

Filling tires isn’t always easy, so here are the answers to a few tire FAQs.

How to inflate a car tire without a pump?

Filling a tire without a pump or air compressor is usually reserved for emergencies. There are a few commercial products, such as compressed air or aerosol cans meant to fix flat tires, which can be handy. Still, they usually won’t give you more than half a full tire to get out of the situation.

Do I have to turn my car off to put air in my tires?

In general, it’s not dangerous, but it’s a good idea to turn the car off when filling tires. Filling tires can take a while, so you don’t want to burn excessive gas by leaving it running while you inflate tires. Additionally, the heat from the motor could have a small impact.

What to do now?

Hopefully now you have a clear understanding on how to inflate a tire. It’s an incredibly fundamental skill to have and will not only protect your tires and help them last longer, but it will also keep you safer while you drive.

We hope you enjoyed this article and found it informative. If you have any questions then please leave a comment below or get in touch via email or through social media and we will read and respond to every comment, email or question. Thanks for reading!

For more guides on tire maintenance, check out other popular guides here.

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