How to use a gas station air pump and properly inflate your tires

To inflate your car's tires, pull over to the nearest gas station. But, you might not understand how to use an air pump at a gas station or be unsure how to properly inflate the tires.

You will first need to locate the compressor, and place it near your vehicle. After you have removed the air nozzle you will be able to pay for it and set the setting. Inflate your tires by removing the cap from the tire valve. When you're done, check the pressure and then return the tube to its original position. 

We walk you through every step of how to pump the tires. We also show you the hidden advantages of gas station air. Also, we discuss the advantages of proper tire pressures. 

Índice de Contenido
  1. How to Use an Air Pump at a Gas Station
    1. 1. Locate Air Compressor
    2. 2. Park near the Compressor
    3. 3. Remove Air Nozzle
    4. 4. Make a payment for the machine
    5. 5. Set the right PSI Mark
    6. 6. Remove Tire Valve Cap
    7. 7. Inflate the Tire
    8. 8. Make sure you are not putting pressure on your skin.
    9. 9. Return Hose to Machine
  2. Use of a Gas Station Pump for Your Benefits
  3. Keep proper tire pressure
    1. 1. Higher Fuel Efficiency
    2. 2. Increased safety
    3. 3. Better Handling/Grip
    4. 4. Longer Tire Life

How to Use an Air Pump at a Gas Station

1. Locate Air Compressor

Air Station Pump

You might not have ever used an air pressure machine before and may not be familiar with their location or what they look like. Normally, the air machines aren’t right with the gas pumps, but off to the side somewhere.

A sign will appear on the machine indicating its purpose. You might even see something, such as “Free Air.”

2. Park near the Compressor

You should park the car closest to the pump after you've located it. You should find the hose easily enough to reach the tires or other items that require filling up.

When you find yourself too far away from your car, park it again. To make things easier, you can keep the engine running.

3. Remove Air Nozzle

To ensure that it's in good condition, inspect the air hose. If it isn’t, you might want to choose a different machine to use.

Once you’ve approved the hose, you want to move it to where the tire is, especially if you are paying for it. When it comes on, you want to make sure that your tires are topped up. 

4. Make a payment for the machine

Some machines are free and you won’t have to pay anything. You may be asked to provide some money or to activate your credit card in order to make it work.

If you don’t have quarters, you might be able to get some change from the gas station. After the money has been inserted, the gas will start to turn for a set amount of time. 

5. Set the right PSI Mark

Some machines have settings that allow you to use the PSI. You can find this number on the card mounted on the inside of the driver’s side door jamb. 

This is the recommended tire pressure. You can adjust your settings to achieve this value. If the machine doesn’t offer this, you will need to keep a close eye on how much air is being put in the tire. 

RELATED: 4 Steps to Determine the Right Tire Pressure for Your Vehicle

6. Remove Tire Valve Cap

Air Nozzle Tire

After the tire valve is turned on, remove the cap. Don’t misplace this tire cap or the air could leak out while you drive. 

However, if you ever lose a cap or one gets broken, they aren’t expensive to replace. These caps can be purchased at any auto part store. 

7. Inflate the Tire

Air Nozzle Attach

The nozzle should be pushed onto the stem of your tire's valve. To ensure that the fitting is secure, you will need to exert some pressure. 

Air will flow to the tire once you've connected them. After you reach the desired PSI, remove the hose from the valve. You can perform both of these steps simultaneously if your air pump comes with an integrated pressure gauge.

8. Make sure you are not putting pressure on your skin.

Inflate Tire

To ensure that the pressure is correct, you should double check it. You can add more air to your tires if they are still too low.

To remove excess air from the tires you can push the stem gently. Either way, it should fall right in line with what’s on the door jamb.

9. Return Hose to Machine

You can now put your equipment back after the tires have been properly inflated. Place everything back where it belongs. 

Although it might seem tempting to just throw your hose onto the ground, this will only make the situation worse for everyone else. Think about what you'd feel if your tire was empty and you had to use the hose for air.

RELATED: How to Reset Tire Pressure Light (TPMS) – By Car Model 

Use of a Gas Station Pump for Your Benefits

The gas station pump is a great option for when you need to pump your tires up. For starters, you might be able to find a free air pump, meaning you won’t have to spend anything. Many states actually require that air pumps be free of charge.

The gas station pump will be open 24 hours per day. You can ensure your tires are properly inflated even if it's late at night. The gas station air pump is also quick, so you won’t be spending a lot of time waiting around.

When emergencies happen, it isn’t always convenient to drive all the way home. If your tires have gone flat, you might find it unsafe. Instead, swing in the gas station and pump them up so you don’t have to wait in line at the nearest tire center. 

Keep proper tire pressure

1. Higher Fuel Efficiency

Underinflation can cause a drop in gas mileage. You pay more for your vehicle to run because of friction on the roads.

Even though you may only be losing a few miles per gallon of gas, each penny matters. This is even more true when gas costs are rising.

Reported: Low tire pressure can make it dangerous to drive. (& What to Do)

2. Increased safety

Excessive air in tires could cause them to burst on the roads. A sudden loss in air pressure can cause an accident or injury.

The underinflated tire can be just as hazardous. You could end up in serious trouble if your tire goes flat suddenly.

3. Better Handling/Grip

Hydroplaning is more common when tires are too low. It’s easy to lose control of the vehicle when this happens. 

You can also get more traction by using the correct tire pressures. This extra grip makes it easier to brake faster, accelerate more easily and navigate different terrains. 

4. Longer Tire Life

Tires that are too low in pressure will wear much quicker than tires at the right levels. If you want to put tires on the car less frequently, it’s important to keep them running with the right pressures.

At a minimum, you should inspect your tires once a month. In addition to this, it is important that you double-check your tire pressure if the temperature changes significantly. A 10 degree temperature change can cause the PSI to change by one. Based on this, any sudden change could dramatically affect the pressure inside the tire and could put you in danger if you aren’t careful.

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