Haven’t you ever found yourself with a flat tire in the most unfortunate time? We all have stories to tell about flat tires. But the thing is, one of the easiest solutions that reside in front of our eyes is an air compressor.
To use air compressor for tires, you will have to check your tire’s pressure, get your compressor and tire ready, inflate the tire, and turn the compressor off. It’s precisely as easy as it sounds.
I’ve done my research and tried to make a simple guideline for you to follow. If you own an air compressor or willing to get one, it might be the perfect time to learn how to use air compressor for tires.
How To Use Air Compressor For Tires?
I’ve divided the tutorial into four sections, so you can clearly understand what you need to do. It’s obviously your first time as you’ve come to learn here. Don’t be nervous. I’ll help you go through the process.
1. Check The Tire Pressure
Before you jump to using your air compressor, you must know your tire pressure. How to do so? Well, it’s better if you check your vehicle manual.
Most of the construction vehicle’s tires usually require a minimum of 100 psi each. However, the number can vary depending on tires per axle, axle load, and weather. Checking the instruction manual will solve any confusion you may have.
Also, you will find this information inside the driver’s door on a sticker. And if you don’t have that either, I recommend you go to a professional to check out your tire’s pressure.
You should know that often your front and rear wheels can have different pressure requirements. So, you must check both rear and front-wheel pressures before getting started.
One little tip of caution, do not use the psi number you see on the sidewall of the tire. It’s the maximum amount of pressure. It’s usually essential when you need to determine the type of compressor you should get.
Next comes determining how much pressure your tire needs from an air compressor. To find that out, use a tire gauge.
You can use different types of tire gauges, namely, stick gauges, dial gauges, and digital gauges. No matter which one you choose, ensure to use the same one every time. This way, you’ll get consistent tire pressure readings.
Also, get the readings when the tires are in a cold position. Make sure the vehicle hasn’t been driven for at least three hours. Heat can manipulate the readings.
Finding out the tire’s pressure and how much air it needs is essential because if you overinflate the wheel, you’ll undoubtedly damage it. It’ll result in influencing the tire’s performance in the long run.
On the contrary, when you don’t inflate your tires enough, it can result in causing extra friction. Extended friction increases the temperature of the rubber and damages the steel cords inside.
Manufacturers say that every time you use 3 psi lower than the recommended level, you add an extra 10% tire wear and burn 1% more fuel.
2. Get The Compressor and Tire Ready
To get your air compressor ready for inflating your tire, find a power outlet to connect your compressor. Look for one that can withstand high-voltage equipment. The power source needs to handle a 12-volt compressor.
Not using accurate voltage can cause both your air compressor and circuit to blow up. If you are using a small air compressor, a two-prong plug will do. If you have a medium or large air compressor, you will need a three-prong plug.
Turn your compressor on. Now, plug an air hose into your compressor. And then get your tire ready.
All tires come with a stem cap. It’s screwed on the valve stem’s top part. Remove the stem cap very carefully and store it somewhere safe. Don’t misplace the cap.
Make sure your compressor’s ready before you unplug the stem cap. Even if the cap stays open for a minute, some of the air can escape.
3. Inflate The Tire
Now that you’ve turned your air compressor on, it should start filling with air. You will hear a noise of your air compressor motor running. If you are using a portable compressor, it should have wheels to make it easier to move around.
Bring your compressor as close to the vehicle as possible. Attach the quick coupler. It allows you to insert air into the tire valve.
In case the nozzle features a safety position, don’t forget to activate it. Attach the air hose to the tire’s valve stem and turn the air compressor on.
The amount of time this procedure will take depends on how flat your tire is. Many compressors come with air gauges to help you fill the correct amount of pressure. If your air compressor comes with a regulator, you can set it to the desired pressure level, and the compressor will turn off automatically once the tire is inflated.
Make sure you don’t leave your air compressor unattended while inflating the tire, even if it takes some time.
4. Turn The Compressor Off
Keep checking the pressure from time to time while inflating. Digital inflators will automatically monitor the reading and shut the compressor off when necessary. In case you’ve overinflated your tire, let some air escape.
Turn the compressor off and remove the air hose from your compressor. You may hear a sound while removing the hose. It doesn’t indicate anything wrong, so you don’t have to worry about it. Then, insert the stem cap back, and you are done with your unfortunate flat tire.
Why Proper Tire Pressure Will Save You Money?
You should always maintain ideal tire pressure because it saves you money as well as long-term troubles. Even if you want to get an air compressor only for tire pressure purposes, it’s well worth it.
Your car or any type of vehicle you are using performs a lot better when your tire has an optimal pressure level—better performance results in a comfortable ride. The more efficient your vehicle works, the more control you’ll have over your vehicle.
Proper tire pressure also grants you the traction you can trust by providing an ideal surface area for gripping the path.
Underinflated tires slump into the ground. More tire area makes contact with the ground, and the steering feels sluggish. Besides, it negatively influences your mileage. Moving towards worse situations, your tire will wear out easily, and that only means extra expenses.
If we think about overinflated tires, they decrease the tire’s area that stays in contact with the ground. It prevents your tire from performing one of its jobs, cushioning the shocks and bumps.
In the end, you’ll end up with a bumpy ride. Your vehicle ride will not be comfortable, and it’ll cost you more when your tire wears out.
Should I Drive With Low Tire Pressure?
When you drive with low tire pressure, you lower the fuel efficiency. Moreover, it’s dangerous. But sometimes, you are forced to drive even when your tire pressure is low because the situation demands it.
If you must drive the vehicle in such situations, remember that,
- You should only drive a short distance. And you must use low speed when driving. If you use too much speed or go too long a distance, you’ll eventually experience tire failure.
- Do not drive with excessive weight. Remove anything that can carry excess weight if that’s possible. More weight means more stress for the tire with lower pressure.
To sum up, it’s plain dangerous to drive a vehicle when the tire pressure is low. The most sensible thing to do in such a situation is to go to the nearest gas station to inflate your tire.
The 4 PSI rule
Even though the 4 psi rule has gone through lots of criticism, many companies now accept this idea nowadays. It helps find out the ideal tire pressure of any vehicle for any terrain. Let’s see how this works.
To begin with, you’ll have to use your tire’s recommended psi. Once you’ve filled your tire, you should drive for one hour to get the tire warmed up. If the psi increases by 4 psi, the pressure is on the spot.
It’s likely that you may not achieve this the first time. However, you’ll get a good indication. If the pressure goes up more than 4 psi, it means the pressure was too low at the beginning.
If the pressure goes up less than 4 psi, it means the pressure at the beginning was too high. Then, you should adjust the pressure accordingly.
For example, let’s assume your tire pressure is 30. You start driving your vehicle and drive for about one hour. If the pressure measures 36, it means the starting pressure was low.
Use 32 psi next time when you fill your tire and keep checking till the readings are right.
And if the pressure reads 32 after a one-hour drive, decrease the pressure to 28 the next time.
Common Mistakes To Avoid
We all make some mistakes when it comes to flat tires or using an air compressor to inflate tires. We can, and we should always avoid these mistakes if we want to avoid unwanted danger.
- Until unavoidable, never drive with a low-pressure tire. Wearing out the tire and damaging vehicle performance is a whole other thing. But it’s equally dangerous driving your car with tires on low pressure.
- Do not underinflate or overinflate your tires to maintain consistent performance.
- Don’t hesitate to call for professional help if you don’t know what to do.
- Never leave your running machines unattended.
- Always use settings recommended by the vehicle’s manual.
- Use a pressure regulator if you are not confident enough about turning off the air compressor at the exact time.
- Always check if everything is compatible- power source, vehicle tire, compressor, valve, and other relevant components.
Always remember that there are a lot of things at stake. Safety first. Then comes your vehicle and air compressor.
Whatever you do, make sure you are keeping your air compressor, tire, and vehicle out of harm’s way.
What Are Others Saying?
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the optimal tire pressure for summer?
The ideal tire pressure in the summer is around 30 psi. However, it depends on the temperature. Some regions are colder than others in summer, so you may have to increase the pressure.
Q. What is the optimal tire pressure for winter?
During winter, the ideal tire pressure is around 35 psi. If you live somewhere with an ice-cold temperature, you may have to crank up the pressure in your tire. Calculate the correct pressure for your specific temperature to be sure.
Q. Do I need lower pressure in winter?
No. In fact, driving with lower pressure in the winter can be dangerous for you. Tires need comparatively higher pressure when the temperature is low.
Q. Does tire pressure increase with heat?
Yes, heat can increase your tire pressure, which is why it’s recommended to use comparatively lower pressure in the summer. Likewise, winter weather requires higher pressure.
Q. Is 30 psi the ideal tire pressure?
30 psi is optimal for the summer season for usual vehicles. It can vary depending on the size of the vehicle and the temperature of the weather.
Hopefully, you’ve discovered everything you needed to know about how to use air compressor for tires. It’s not a complex task at all. If you have the equipment and you experience something like a flat tire, there is no reason you should wait for someone else to do it for you.
Even if you don’t own an air compressor, you’ll find one in a fuel station. So it’s fairly available near you.
Remember that doing your own thing is great, but you must ensure safety first. If you’re not confident enough, I suggest you go for a local professional to help you out.