inflate a car bike tyre

5 Ways to Inflate a Car or Bike Tyre

Low pressure in your car or bike tyre can be dangerous, make your vehicle less fuel efficient and lead to premature tyre wear. Every biker or driver wants their tyres to last as long as possible. However, with under-inflated tyres, this can only be a dream.

Low tyre pressure exposes a wider surface area of the tyre on the ground, creating more friction than necessary. This way, your tyres will wear out faster. This is why you need to learn how to inflate your tyre.

If you discover the pressure is low in your tyres or if you ever found yourself with a flat tyre in the middle of nowhere and you want to learn how to inflate your tyres we will list the 5 most effective ways of inflating a tyre. Check them out below:

Method 1: Tyre Inflator

Tyre inflators are available in various forms, you have probably come across the in most gas/fuel stations.

In this method were going to discuss using a 12V portable tyre inflator that would be very useful especially on long drives. The last thing you would want to happen is for the tyre to run out of air in the middle of nowhere. It is better to safe than sorry. Checkout our guide on picking a 12V tyre inflator.

Tools & Materials

  1. Portable Tyre Inflator (read our buyers guide)
  2. Pressure Gauge (read our buyers guide)

Pros & Cons

  • This is one of the fastest methods of inflating your tire. It really depends if the tire is totally flat or not. If it only needs a little inflating then it will only take around two to three minutes. However, if it is really flat then it will take at least five minutes. Either way, that is not long.
  • The entire thing is easy to do. In fact, you can even teach your kids to do it so they will learn something new.
  • You must connect the inflator to a 12V socket.

Step by Step Method

  • Before using the tyre inflator, make sure the engine is still running. Remember, if it is not running, you may end up draining the vehicle’s battery. Yes, most driver’s worst fear is when the car’s battery runs low.

  • Check the condition of the tyre, If there is a sharp object that is stabbed into the tyre, then it would make no sense to use the tyre inflator. You would either need to repair the puncture of better still switch to a brand new one. It normally takes one person to change a flat tyre but if your not confident then seek assistance. That would be better than trying it and ending up making it worse.

  • Look for the valve stem of the tire because that is where you will connect the nozzle of the tire inflator. Before inflating the tyre, make sure that all the connections are properly inserted.

  • Turn on the inflator so the air in the tyres will increase. However, you must always be alert and watch out for any hissing sound. The moment you hear a hissing sound, it means there is something that is not connected properly. Thus, check everything again to see if everything is properly connected. Yes, that hissing sound is bad news.

  • Using the pressure gauge, check the tyre pressure every now and then. It must match the recommended tyre air pressure for the vehicle. Of course, you can’t assume the tyre pressure of one vehicle is the same as another. It depends on the size of the vehicle. You can get digital tyre inflators that include a pressure reading and will automatically switch off at a set pressure level. We have written a tyre inflator buyers guide.

Method 2: Foot Pump

Using a foot pump is basically a manual way of inflating your tyre. Unlike using a electric model it will require more effort on your part. A foot pump is so portable that you can store it in your car’s trunk so it can be used in case of emergencies.

Pros & Cons

  • Just like the other method, this task can be achieved in a matter of minutes. Thus, it will be over before you know it. You will be on your way fast especially if there is someone to help you. In fact, the maximum amount of time it will take to get this job done is only about 8-10 minutes. Of course, that would depend on how much air pressure is lacking.
  • Do not require an electrical power source so even if your vehicles battery dies you can still pump up a flat or low pressure tyre.

  • The process may be fast but it is going to take a lot of effort. In fact, you may end up sweating so much after doing the task. Of course, that will only happen if you rarely exercise. Thus, better exercise regularly because you’ll find out you’re not in good shape when that happens. The bright side is you lost a lot of calories by doing something that benefited your vehicle.

Tools & Materials

  1. Foot Pump
  2. Tyre Pressure Gauge
  3. Chock blocks

Step by Step Method

  • Park the car at a place that isn’t inclined. Put the car into Park mode and not Neutral. To make sure the car does not move, put suitable wheel/tyre chock blocks or suitable large stones beside the vehicle’s other tyres.
  • Locate the valve stem of the tyre that needs air then secure it with the nozzle of the foot pump. The way of securing it would vary depending on the model of the foot pump.
  • Place the foot pump on the floor beside the tire that needs air. Press the pedal down using your foot to increase the tire’s air pressure.
  • Before you start pumping find out the recommended tyre pressure. We have written an article on how to find your cars tyre pressure. Use a tyre gauge to find out the tyre pressure every couple of minutes. Stop using the foot pump when the reading of the pressure gauge matches the recommended tyre pressure of the vehicle.

Method 3: Using a hand pump

This method is perfect for inflating bike tyres. There are two types of bike hand pumps; Schrader and Presta pumps. The type you choose should depend on the type of valve on your bike tyre. The Schrader valve is wider and it has a flat end. Else ways, a Presta valve is a bit narrower and its top looks like a locking nut.

Pros & Cons

  • A hand pump is easy to use.
  • It is easily portable; you can use it anywhere.
  • It gives unlimited air.

  • It is slower.
  • It requires effort to inflate the tyre.
  • It is difficult to achieve the right pressure.
  • It may not work for tubeless tyres

Tools & Materials

1. Suitable hand pump

Step by step method

This procedure doesn’t require any serious safety measures.

  • If you’re using a Presta valve, remove the top plastic covering and unscrew the nut twice. Don’t unscrew it too much as you only need to expose the vent to the air.
  • Now, place the pump nozzle on the valve and make sure you fix it appropriately. If you can hear some hissing, then it means you haven’t fixed it properly.
  • Check the sidewall of the tyre to confirm the amount of pressure recommended. For most bikes, anything between 80 and 130 psi is appropriate. Special bikes have different pressure ranges.
  • Hold the pump handle and move in a reciprocating motion until the tyre achieves the required pressure. Make sure you monitor your pump pressure gauge to avoid over-inflating the tyre. You don’t want it to burst, do you?
  • Finally, remove the nozzle from the valve, tighten the nut to close the vent, and put the valve cap on top of it. You can then flip the switch on the pump head to pop it off. The tyre will be ready for riding.

Method 4: Using an inflator foam

Tyre inflator foam is a puncture sealant that seals the puncture and inflates the tyre. The contents in the can provide high pressure and an adhesive sealant. It is a method that gives a quick fix for flat tyres. However, it is just a temporary solution that only helps you reach where the real help is.

Pros & Cons

  • It is convenient and easy to use.
  • It is very economical.
  • It gives a quick solution.

  • The solution is only temporary.
  • The inflator form may contain hazardous chemicals which may require a lot of time to remove from the tyre.
  • It isn’t recommended for certain types of tyres.
  • Some sealants are extremely flammable.

Tools & Materials

1. A can filled with inflator foam.

Step by step method

  • Make sure you’ve parked your car away from the road. Your safety is very crucial.
  • Read the instructions from the manufacturer very carefully. Apply the measures recommended. In case it’s a flammable brand, keep all forms of ignitions and sparks away. Also, observe the temperature range in which you should inflate your tyre.
  • Now, place the applicator tip on your tyre valve and screw it tight.
  • Check if the threads are sealed to ensure no leakage occurs.
  • Hold your can upright.
  • Push the button on the can slightly to check for any leakage at the nozzle. In case there is a leakage, repeat the fixing process and make sure it’s firm and tight.
  • Once you confirm that there is no leakage, push the button on the top of the can and hold it down continuously until the can is totally empty. By the time the can becomes empty; your tyre should be fully inflated.
  • Now, unscrew the tip of the inflator pipe and drive away.

Note that this is only a temporary solution and you should seek professional help once you reach a convenient place.

Method 5: Using compressed CO2

In this method, you use a canister filled with compressed carbon dioxide gas. The gas inside the inflator expands when you pump it into the tyre, causing it to inflate. Proper care is paramount as you don’t want to release the whole gas into the atmosphere instead of the tyre. It is perfect for fixing a flat tyre within a few minutes.

Pros & Cons

  • It is very easy to use.
  • It is super convenient.
  • It is economical.
  • It is fast.
  • It is perfect for tubeless tyres.

  • The cartridges are consumable and you may have to replace them.
  • Limited capacity means you may not be able to inflate a number of tyres with the same cartridge.
  • It is a temporary option.

Tools & Materials

  1. A CO2 inflator
  2. Cold-weather gloves

Step by step method

  • Open the valve of your tyre and clean it to remove dirt and sticky substances.
  • Close the CO2 inflator.
  • Screw the cartridge into the inflator carefully and make sure it fits well.
  • Fix the nozzle of the inflator firmly on the valve stem.
  • Using the button, trigger, or dial on the inflator, release the gas into the tyre. This happens very fast and the tyre may turn extremely cold. Gloves will come in handy at such a moment.
  • Remove the inflator once the tyre achieves the recommended pressure.

Which one is the best option?

Well, any method can be awesome depending on what you exactly need. If your end goal is to see your tyre inflated without caring about the process, then you can choose any. However, you can consider factors like time, safety, price, reliability, and ease of use.

If you’re working under high temperatures, then inflator foam should not be your choice. Hand pumps can also be a bit expensive to buy and may not be suitable to pump larger vehicle tyres.

Remember, it is always important to check the condition if your tyres, they are your vehicles/bikes only contact with the ground. Even if the tyre pressure is slightly less than the recommended air pressure, better use one of the above methods to increase it.

Weigh up the choices carefully and choose the one or more then one of the methods to support you in mainlining your tyres and if needed in an emergency.

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