You have a car emergency. Maybe you are stuck in the middle of nowhere with a lousy car tire and no repair shops nearby. Such situations make you think, “Can I inflate a Car Tire with a Bike Pump?”
Thankfully, it is possible to inflate an automobile tire using a bike pump. But, the pressure and the weight of the car can be overwhelming for the bike pump. If you are willing to use a bike pump for car tires, make sure it has a Schrader valve. Bike pumps with Presta valve will not be compatible with your car tires.
This post will describe the basics of inflating a car tire with a bike pump. Once you go through the text, you’ll be ready to implement it on your own! Keep reading!
Is It Possible To Pump a Car Tire with a Bike Pump?
Yes, it is possible to inflate the car tires with the bike pump. However, this requires more than just basic knowledge. In most cases, you can carry out a car tire inflating job with a bike pump.
There are a vast number of reasons why you shouldn’t be inflating car tires using a bike pump. Firstly, the bike pump may not be able to withstand the car’s pressure. Besides, it will be a daunting task if you’re using a manual bike pump to inflate your vehicle. It is also challenging to determine the right pressure with the bike pump.
A bike pump may not do the trick every time. However, you can follow this guide to use a bike pump for inflating car tires correctly.
What kind of pumps can be used to inflate car tires?
Before we move on to the procedure, you must know the variety of bike pumps. There are different types of bike pumps, and not all of them will be compatible with your vehicle. The two most common valves are the Schrader valve and Presta valve.
The Presta valves are ideal for inflating tires that demand high-pressure levels. For example, this valve is suitable for pumping road bikes with 100 psi requirements. To pump up your car tires, you’ll need a Schrader valve.
To determine the type of valve in your pump, you have to check the receiving end. If you notice a little pin in the mouth, it means that this pump has a Schrader valve. That pin connects with the car tire’s pin to release the pressure and inflate.
If there is no pin in the mouth of the pump, then it might be a Presta valve. There’s a rare chance that the Presta valve will air up your car wheels.
You can also refer to the following classification of bike pumps:
The latest and most advanced type of bike pump is the electrical pump. While not electrical pumps are targeted towards bikers, gears are a common element of a cyclist’s arsenal. These pumps are great when you want to inflate faster and with more efficiency.
The best part is that the electric pumps can also help you with fixing car tires. The electric pumps will be more quick and reliable than the other two pumping variants. People who get electric pumps have electric bike pumps can use them to inflate their car tires.
An electric pump has more power and features to inflate your car tire. Besides, they are more useful and less stressful than the other two kinds of bike pumps.
But are portable pumps any suitable for inflating car tires? The answer is no. These pumps are only 8 inches big and unsuitable to inflate car tires. The primary reason is that these portable pumps do not offer accuracy. It cannot measure the car tire’s pressure.
You can also find portable pumps that come with pressure measuring devices. Besides, you have to pump thousands of times to inflate the car wheels fully. For this reason, we do not recommend using portable pumps to inflate car tires.
Full-sized Manual Pumps
The good news is that the full-sized manual pumps make it possible to inflate car tires. Unlike the teeny-tiny portable pumps, you can also amp up your car tire pressure with this tool. Although, the user has to get to some elbow grease to make that happen.
It will take you about 100 pumps to get a noticeable pressure difference in the car tires. For car tires, you might have to put a total of 30 to 40 PSI levels.
How Much Time Does It Take To Inflate a Car Tire With a Bike Pump?
If you are going to use manual methods, you’ll be willing to know how much time will the process take. You can determine the time in several ways. Let’s assume that you are using a standard manual bike pump. There’s more chance of you finding and using a standard pump than any other variety.
If you want to fix those flat tires so that they are up and running again with a bike pump, it will take approx 100 to 350 pumps. However, make sure to maintain a consistent pumping speed from the time you begin pumping.
In case you are using an electrical pump, the time and energy required will be much lesser. You will need about 5 to 7 minutes to fill a single tire. Within just a couple of minutes of pumping, you’ll be able to see the difference.
If you plan to inflate all four wheels with a bike pump, well, you can expect it to be a half-an-hour long session.
Even if you do pumping at a leisure pace, it will take a max of 7 minutes.
9 Steps to Inflate a Car Tire with a Bike Pump
If you have no other option other than using a bike pump for inflating car tires, you’ll need a foolproof plan. You cannot afford to make mistakes while inflating car tires. This section will entail each minute step of inflating a car tire with a bike pump.
If you wish to do it right, we suggest that you do not deviate from the steps. Here are the nine steps to inflate car tires with a bike pump:
Step 1: Park on the Corner of a Flat Surface
The first and foremost step in this car tires inflating guide is to park your vehicle in a safe and flat corner. An exact and flat spot will allow you to move around freely. You can fill up the car tires without worrying about speeding cars.
Also, parking on a leveled surface makes it easy to operate and balance the bike pump. If you don’t have a flat surface nearby, take it to an emptier and more quiet area.
You also need to know that driving with flat tires for a long distance can damage the wheels and deform the rims as well. It’s better to drive as little as possible when you notice flat tires. This damage can be very costly.
Step 2: Disconnect the Valve Caps
The next step in the process is to disconnect the valve caps. Each car tire will have a valve cap on the sidewalls. It will be very close to the metal of your tire’s rim. Generally, these valve caps have a screw-on connection. For disconnecting the valve caps, you’ll require a screwdriver.
These small valve caps are easy to loosen up and remove. Make sure that you are storing these valve caps safely in a sealable container. This trick will save them from getting lost. You can use a lidded box or a plastic bag to store them safely.
Step 3: Determine the Optimal Pressure
The manufacturer will always mention the optimal pressure for car tires in terms of PSI. You can find the recommended pressure for the car tires on a sticker pasted on the driver’s door.
You can open the door and check the tag which indicated the ideal tire pressure.
With the correct information on PSI, you can avoid over-and under-inflate. You can also find the PSI rating on the body of the car’s tire.
In case you are unable to find the car tire’s pressure at both these spaces, the last option is the car’s manual. Depending upon your region, the tire’s pressure may be in terms of PSI or KPA.
Step 4: Check the Current Tire Pressure with a Gauge
It’ time to check the current pressure levels of the tire. Now that you’re aware of the desired pressure levels, you’ll also need to find the current pressure levels. The easiest and the most affordable way to determine the current pressure is by using a pressure gauge.
All vehicles should have a gauge for such situations. Insert the pressure gauge in the tire’s valves. Then you must apply pressure to get a reading on the gauge. To get the proper reading:
- Position the gauge on top of the tire valve’s stem. Press the gauge inside the valve firmly. You must ensure that no air is escaping at this moment. Until you hear the sound of air escaping stops, keep holding the gauge.
- Take a look at the reading on the pressure gauge. Many pressure gauges have a slide reader that springs out of the base after taking the readings.
- Compare these readings to the desired PSI levels. This step will tell you how much pressure and air the tires require. You have to repeat this step for all the tires you want to inflate.
For measuring the optimal pressure, you can use the TireTek Tire Pressure Gauge. If you are fond of more advanced tools, you can also use the AstroAI Digital Tire Pressure Gauge. Both these pressure-measuring tools have great accuracy and are durable.
Step 5: Attach the Bike Pump to the Valve
The next step involves attaching the bike pump to your car tire valves. Take the bike pump and position its valves over your tire’s valves.
The lever behind the valves should be touching the pump’s hose. Next, you have to press the bike pump’s valve firmly to secure it to the tire valves.
- When you are attaching the bike pump to the car tires, you may hear an air escaping sound. This sound is completely normal when you are trying to fix the pump with the tires.
- The Schrader valves generally have a stem. At the end of this stem, there’s a cap. You’ll notice a small metal pin at the end of the stem.
- On the other hand, the Presta valves will have a threaded and thin metal cylinder extending from the stem.
Step 6: Position the Jack
If you are attempting to inflate your car tires with a bike pump, you’ll also need a jack. It will be a grave mistake if you are skipping this vital element. This jack will help to take off some pressure from the bike pump.
It will allow the bike pump to do a better job. Using a car jack is much safer and more comfortable. Often, the heat caused by the vehicle’s and tire’s pressure can cause the pump to breakdown.
Step 7: Pump Up the Car Tires
Raise and lower the handle of your bike pump consistently and fast. You should also check the tire’s pressure at regular intervals. Overfilling can compromise the integrity and performance of the tire.
- You must always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the best results. You must not exceed or fall short by five PSI than the ideal pressure levels.
- Remember that the bike pump will move a lesser amount than the compressor. Therefore, filling a car tire with a bike pump can take longer and can be cumbersome.
The best electrical bike pump for pumping car tires is the VEEAPE Mini Tire Inflator Handheld Air Compressor. This inflator can pump up to 120 PSI and has a pretty intuitive design.
The Audew 160 PSI Mini Bike Pump for Presta and Schrader is also a suitable tool for pumping car tires. With a 160 PSI capacity, it can work great for your car tires. Make sure whichever pump you are using at least has enough PSI levels to inflate all car tires.
We also recommend you watch out for leaks in the bike pump before you begin pumping the tires.
Step 8: Adjust the Car Tires Pressures
In the event of under-inflating or over-inflating, you again have to check the tire’s pressure with the gauge.
If the pressure is more than the ideal levels, you have to release some of it. You can do this using other tools or the pressure gauge to press the tire’s valve’s central pin. This trick will release the air and bring down the pressure again.
- While you’re filling your tires with a bike pump, make it a point to be more accurate. Also, do not fill the tires with equal amounts of air. It is because it will cause them to wear off more quickly. Eventually, this can adversely impact the car’s fuel economy.
- Each time you are inflating or adjusting the pressure, you have to keep re-checking. If you’ve released extra pressure, you have to pump some more air again.
Step 9: Don’t Forget the Remaining Ones
Just like you inflated one tire with the above steps, you have to continue them for all the rest of the above tires. Move from one tire to another, and ensure accuracy along the process. When you complete inflating all the tires, take your valve caps and reattach all of them.
A Word of Caution
While you’re inflating the tires of your car with a bike pump, you should always watch out for potential risks. You must ensure that you have the right adapter that connects the bike pump correctly to the valves, for starters.
Most of the car and bike tires use the same standard plugs. However, few bike wheels feature a unique plug structure that is not compatible with car tires. Remember, you should not be resorting to the bike pump every time you need to inflate the car tires.
Use the bike pump for your car tires only when the options around you are limited. Make sure that you have achieved the correct inflation level for your car tires. Both over and under inflation can damage the rim of the car’s tires.
Try to be accurate whenever you are filling the car tires with a bike pump. It is also better to take the rest of the car passengers if this is your first time inflating tires. Also, avoid using cheaper bike pumps for your car tire as they may not be sufficient.
Although the bike pumps are reliable, they can give up when you most need them. Hot and warm days can be threatening while using a bike pump on car tires. We suggest that you take 1-2 minutes of a break now and then. Doing this will prevent cracking and overheating.