|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.