We’ve all been there — getting all hot and tired while using a foot pump to replenish the air in our tires. But… there is another way! Provided you know how to use an air compressor to fill a tire, you’ll find the process really quick and easy. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know!
How to Use an Air Compressor to Fill a Tire
Using an air compressor to fill a tire couldn’t be simpler. You will, of course, need an air compressor or tire inflator. Here are the steps to take to fill your tire:
- Plug in Your Air Compressor
- Set the Required Tire Pressure
- Connect your Air Compressor to the Tire
Let’s dig into the above in a little more detail.
Consider checking our guide: How To Fill Up Tires
1. Plug in Your Compressor
You will need to do this in an easy-to-access area with room to accommodate your vehicle. Most compressors are powered by the mains’ electricity, so you will need an area that has an accessible plug socket too.
There are options if you don’t have a large driveway or garage. You could consider removing the wheel from the car before you inflate the tire.
2. Set the Required Tire Pressure
Different types of tires require different pressures. This can also vary depending on whether the wheel is on the front or rear axle.
Tire pressure is measured in two standard formats, either pounds per square inch (PSI for short) or Bar, the metric measurement of pressure.
You’ll find the required tire pressure on the sidewall of the tire (it is also normally specified in your car’s handbook). Some cars also have the required tire pressure listed on the inside of the fuel flap.
Once you have discovered this information, use this information to set your compressor to deliver the correct tire pressure. If you are using a manual compressor, you will need to keep an eye on the pressure gauge.
3. Connect Your Compressor
From here, all you need to do is attach your compressor. There are different ways to do this. You’ll tend to find there are a couple of different types of compressor valves. They attach to the end of your hose and are called tire chucks. You’ll see them in the following formats:
A Push on Tire Chuck
This is the simplest type of compressor valve to use. Once you have set the pressure, you push the open end of the chuck onto your tire valve, and the air will be delivered.
Clip or Screw-on Tire Chuck
This type of tire chuck attaches to the valve and is fixed in position by either a screw or a locking clip. Fixed tire chucks are super useful if you are working alone as they ensure the valve stays fixed even if you move the compressor tube.
If you’ve done everything right, you should find that the compressor runs and replenishes the air in your tires and will stop once it reaches the required pressure.
Feel free to check out this guide: How To Pump Tires At Gas Station
Other things to Be Aware of
Now that you know how to use an air compressor to fill a tire, here are some additional guidelines to be aware of:
Don’t Overfill Your Tires
While it may seem tempting to ‘give a little extra air’ for good measure, this can be counterproductive and quite dangerous. The required tire pressure exists for a reason. If you overinflate your tires, you can weaken the structure, unseat the bead seal, and damage your tires. Stick to the manufacturer’s guidance.
Don’t Use Compressor on Damaged Tires
While your tire may be damaged or flat, adding pressurized air can make the problem worse. This is particularly true if you notice cracks or bulges on the surface of your tire.
Only Use Compressed Air for Its Intended Purpose
Compressed air can be dangerous if not respected. Given a high enough pressure, it can actually penetrate your skin and enter your bloodstream, with lethal consequences. It must never be used for blowing the dust off clothing.
Also, keep the tire chuck well clear of your face at all times. In particular, clear your eyes. It may be tempting to check if the valve’s nozzle is clear, but one mishap can have very bad consequences.
How Big of an Air Compressor Do I Need to Fill Car Tires?
When referring to the ‘size’ of the air compressor, this is normally a reference to the amount of pressure it can deliver instead of the physical ‘size’ of the unit.
As a very general rule of thumb, most car tires require a minimum of 30 PSI. Air compressors in this range or above will be the most useful when filling your tires.
Knowing how to use an air compressor to fill a tire is vital if you want to save yourself time and quite a lot of effort. It is so much easier than using a foot pump! Provided you follow the simple steps above and use it safely, an air compressor can be a great tool.
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