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Tire Inflators

Keeping your vehicle’s tires properly inflated is important for both your safety and convenience. Tire pressure should be checked on a regular basis and always before a long trip (only five pounds per square inch of under inflation can reduce the life of your tires by 25%). Owning a tire inflator can make the job of keeping your tires correctly inflated easy and can be a lifesaver if you are ever stranded on the road.

If you are thinking of buying a tire inflator, consider the following:

  • Powerful 120 volt air compressors have electric 2/3 horsepower motors and plug into a wall socket. Many have gauges which will accurately monitor the amount of air pressure being added to the tires. Since these models need a power source and are too big to be conveniently stored in the average car, they are not suitable for road use. There are also smaller versions of these plug-in types which will take more time to fully inflate a tire.
  • Larger portable tire inflators can provide as much as 300 pounds per square inch of air pressure. They are battery powered but can also work by plugging a 12 foot cord into the vehicle’s cigarette lighter if the battery is not charged. However, a typical car tire only needs 25-50 pounds of pressure.
  • Small cordless tire inflators can inflate an empty tire in about four minutes. They can be easily stored in the trunk or cargo hold of the average car. Look for a built-in pressure gauge, internal battery, 12 volt operation (to run off your car battery), and 120 volt operation.
  • Small, inexpensive aerosol tire fix cans may also be used in an emergency if your tire has lost a lot of air. These cans inject a chemical that will seal many types of tire leaks and inflate the tire to a useable pressure, but using these may make later repair of the tire more difficult and require rebalancing of the tire.

Remember that most tire inflators can also be used to pump air into other objects such as balls, air mattresses, and pool toys.

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