- Car Care & Maintenance
A Portable Auto Tire Inflator
Proper Tire Care
Tires are a critical part of our automobiles. Take away the tires and the car is immobilized.
Like other components that make up a car or truck, tires require regular maintenance in the form of maintaining proper air pressure inside each tire.
Over inflating or under inflating can result in the tires can lead to a number of problems among them the tires wearing out faster, less efficient gas mileage, risking having the tire blowout while driving, etc.
Tires Tend to Get Soft Periodically
Air is All Around Us But a Machine is Needed to Put it Into a Car Tire
Owners manuals, tire dealers, safety experts and others all encourage drivers to pay attention to their tires and keep them properly inflated.
Checking the pressure is easy and can be done with a simple pencil shaped pressure gauge that can be purchased for as little as 99 cents at any auto parts store or the auto section of big box stores like Wal-Mart.
Inflating a tire is also relatively simple but this requires specialized equipment designed to force air into a tire under pressure. Such machines need a power source as well.
Most Gas Stations No Longer Sell, Let Along Provide Free, Tire Inflation Service
When I was a child every gasoline service station had an air pump that anyone could drive in and use at no cost.
However, rising costs and changes in the auto service industry caused most gas stations to cease offering free air. While a few places continued to provide air for free, others replaced the free air pumps with coin operated pumps that charged anywhere from twenty-five to seventy-five cents or more to use.
My experience, at home and traveling, is that most stations no longer provide air pumps at all and, thanks to vandals, the pumps at the few stations that continue to offer this service, are frequently out of order. This seems to be true for both free and coin-operated air compressors.
Auto Stores Now Sell Inexpensive Compact Air Compressors
While free air pumps at gas stations have disappeared along with the full service gas stations that used to provide them, the market has now come out with alternatives.
A couple of years ago, frustrated with the difficulty of trying to find places with working pumps where I could get air for my tires, and with having to replace tires that were prematurely worn due to not being kept properly inflated, I checked out the auto section in a local Wal-Mart.
The store had about three shelves worth of inflators ranging in price, size and other features.
I found and purchased a Slime Tire Inflator that was small and compact, had a ten foot cord that plugged into the cigarette lighter of the car for power, claimed to be designed for auto, midsized pickups and SUVs and was priced around $12 - $14.
Power Cord Plugs into Car Cigarette Lighter
My Experience With the Tire Inflator I Purchased Has Been Good
I have now had this little compressor for two years and have been very happy with it.
While it is somewhat slow, taking five minutes or so to increase the pressure in an under inflated tire, this is offset by the convenience of being able to both use it anywhere (so long as the car battery isn’t dead) while, at the same time compact enough to easily store it under the front seat of the car.
Other features include a built in pressure gauge to measure the tire pressure, a powerful light which could be handy if you car breaks down on a dark road and a compartment in the bottom where you can store the cord and pump hose of the unit.
For two years now I have found this to be a handy appliance for maintaining proper inflation levels in wife’s and my cars.