How to Use an Air Compressor on Your Flat Tire

How to Use an Air Compressor on Your Flat Tire
Air compressors give enough air pressure to sufficiently fill a low tire

You never know when you may experience a flat tire. It can happen to anyone at the most inconvenient time. Maintaining correct tire pressure affects a tire’s wear and improves its performance. Luckily, you can easily inflate almost any tire at your job site if you have an air compressor. Read on to learn how to use an air compressor on your flat tire.

Know the Tire Pressure

You need to know how much air pressure must go into the tire. Most construction vehicles need at least 100 pounds per square inch, or PSI, in each tire. The exact amount might vary depending upon the axle load, number of tires per axle, and weather. Check the vehicle’s owner’s manual for the proper tire pressure amount.

Avoid using the PSI number found on the tire’s sidewall since that expresses the maximum amount of pressure. You need this information to know what type of air compressor to get. A smaller air compressor tank keeps the pressure between 100 to 150 PSI.

A tire gauge can tell you how much compressed air your tires need to have added. If you put too much air into tires, you can experience performance and handling issues. If you don’t put enough air into the tires, they can experience extra friction that raises the rubber’s temperature. Heat is harmful to tires and can cause damage to the steel cords inside. Many tire manufacturers state that for every 3 PSI below the recommendation, you burn 1 percent more fuel and add 10 percent extra tire wear.

When filling up the tires, try to do so when they’re cold. Cold temperatures can give you a more accurate reading. Hot tires show higher air pressure when you use the tire gauge. If you get a flat tire while driving, wait about 30 minutes for the tire to cool. If this is not an option, inflate the tires to 3 PSI over the recommended amount.

Get the Tire Ready

Each tire should have a stem cap screwed to the top of the valve stem. Remove the cap and put it to the side, but make sure you don’t misplace it. When the cap is off the valve, even if it’s just for a minute, some of the leftover air could escape. Avoid removing the cap until you’re ready to use the compressor.

Turn on the Air Compressor

Typical air compressors run on electrical power. Plug in the air compressor to let it accumulate with air. Smaller units have a two-prong plug, while medium and larger compressors may need a three-prong plug. Make sure you’re using outlets with the correct voltage for the compressor. Running the compressor on the wrong circuit can blow the compressor, circuit, or both. Once you turn on the compressor, you will hear the compressor motor begin to work. Portable units have tires, so you can easily move them around.

Try to situate the compressor near the flat tire since you cannot move the vehicle. Attach the air hose to the compressor and include the quick coupler at the end. This fastener lets you push air into the valve stem. If there’s a safety position on the nozzle, make sure that you activate it. Secure the hose to the valve stem and turn on the machine.

Depending upon how flat the tire is, filling the tire up with air may take some time. Many air compressors have gauges that guide you, so you add the correct amount of air. Some inflators even turn off automatically when the desired air pressure is reached. Digital inflators are another option, and they give you a more accurate reading. Avoid walking away from the compressor while it is running, as you don’t want the tires to overinflate.

Detach the Hose

While filing up the tire, check the tire pressure occasionally. Most digital inflators automatically monitor the pressure and shut off when the desired pressure is reached. If you accidentally add too much air, push down on the tire gauge to release some of the air. When you have the right amount of air, remove the hose from the compressor. You might hear a hissing noise when you remove this piece. Don’t worry as this is perfectly normal. Put the stem cap back on the valve.

If you are unlucky enough to experience a flat tire, don’t worry. You can easily use an air compressor and a few simple tools to inflate the flat tire. By following a few simple tips, you can get back on the road in no time.

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