How to Inflate Car Tires With Air Compressor

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It is vital to keep your car’s tires adequately filled and inflated. An underinflated tire is a significant risk. It can affect the performance of your car, cause tire failure and lead to severe accidents.

In this article, we want to give you a comprehensive guide on how to inflate car tires with an air compressor safely.

How to Inflate Car Tires With Air Compressor

Modern car inflators make inflating car tires a straightforward task. Some of them can detect the pressure level and shut off automatically.

A gray colored air compressor

However, you may come across some air compressors that do not have an automatic shut-off system where you have to keep an eye on things. As you read on, we will make you ready to fill your car tires with an air compressor you encounter out there with ease.

Check Tire Pressure

Most modern vehicles come with this information on a sticker inside the driver’s side doorjamb. For most cars, the psi ranges between 30 and 35. It is vital to check the manufacturer’s recommendations on the car tires’ PSI to avoid over-inflated or under-inflated wheels.

Have a Pressure Gauge

It would be best if you had a pressure gauge to check the current air pressure of your wheels before inflating them. A digital pressure gauge that you can keep in your glove box will do. You can buy pressure gauges online and offline for quite pocket-friendly costs.

Measure the Pressure of Your Wheels at the Right Time

The best time to measure your car’s tire pressure is before turning on your car to go for a ride or 30 minutes after a ride to allow the tires to cool. When the car tires are hot, they show a higher pressure than the actual car tire pressure.

You can follow these simple steps to check the pressure of your wheels:

  1. Unscrew the cap of the tire’s valve.
  2. Keep the cap of the valve in your pocket to avoid losing it.
  3. Press the digital pressure gauge onto the valve; you will hear a short hissing sound; however, don’t be alarmed.
  4. Note the reading on your pressure gauge.

Check the pressure of all four wheels using your digital pressure gauge and note the measurement on your smartphone or a piece of paper. You will also hear a short hissing sound as you release your pressure gauge from the valve system of your wheels, which is normal.

The correct time to measure the pressure of your car tires is when they are cold. Car tires become hot after riding. You can check a second time if you wish to for accuracy.

A photo of an air compressor

Why You Should Check Your Current Tire Pressure

Check your current tire pressure to determine whether your current tire pressure is at the required pressure and, if not, how much pressure you are required to add or expel out. Did you know that there is a risk of your over-inflated car tires exploding on the road due to heat?

For example, your wheels may require 35PSI, and after measuring your current tire pressure, you find that it reads 20 PSI. In this case, after subtracting the two figures, you can tell that you require inflation of 15 PSI to get your wheel to the required pressure. With this knowledge, you can easily maneuver inflating your car tires using any air compressor, whether manual or automatic.

Having over-inflated or under-inflated wheels can:

  • Make cornering or driving on wet slippery surfaces dangerously tricky.
  • Wear the tires out much faster, generating a higher maintenance cost for your car.

That is why it is crucial to understand the pressure of your car tires before inflating them.

Fill the Tires

Make sure the tires are near the air compressor so that the hose can reach all the tire valves. A portable air compressor or an air compressor with a long hose would solve this problem for you.

Plug in and Attach the Air Compressor

Plug in the air compressor into a power supply and turn it on so that you can hear the sound of a running motor inside it. Press down the hose fitting on the tire’s valve system and hold firmly using a little bit of force.

You already know that the short hissing sound you hear at this point is expected. After reading through how to measure the required pressure for your tire above, fill your tire with air.

Detach the Hose at the Right Time

Depending on the air compressor you have, there are different ways to cut off the pressure after successfully inflating your tire. As you read on, you will learn how to cut off or shut down the air compressor after inflating your wheel to the recommended PSI.

Advanced Air Compressors With Automatic Shut Off Systems

These advanced air compressors shut off when they reach the targeted pressure. You dial in the recommended PSI for your car tires, and the air compressor will shut off once it has inflated the tire to the target pressure.

Common Air Compressor With Digital Pressure Gauge

When using standard air compressors, you have to keep your eye on the gauge. When the pressure reaches the target, detach the hose from the tire’s valve system or turn off the air compressor.

Air Compressor With an Analog Pressure Gauge

Air compressors with analog pressure gauges pose a higher risk for over-inflation. However, we have the perfect strategy for this challenge.

Fill your wheel to about 5 PSI above the required amount. Deflate the tire to the recommended PSI with the aid of your digital pressure gauge that you keep in your glove compartment.

Inflating car tire with air compressor

Replace the Valve Caps

Do you remember the valve caps we put in our pocket earlier? After inflating your car tires, replace the valve caps of all the wheels to prevent the pressure from escaping.

An essential tip to take away is; if your tire is warmed up, you could inflate it to three PSI above the recommended pressure. This will compensate for the expansion caused by the heat.


After digesting this helpful write-up, you now know how to inflate your wheels with an air compressor. Remember that over-inflated wheels are a road hazard. Deflate your car tires if you find them over-inflated, and always be safe on the road.