Some issues in vehicles are inevitable and happen when you least expect them. An example is a car flat tire. A flat tire can be frustrating and unnerving, especially if it happens in the middle of nowhere. So, if you have a bike pump in your trunk and your tire runs flat, you’ll be wondering – can you use a bike pump on a car tire?
Car tire pumps are essential for pumping your car tires. However, you can find yourself in situations you only need to employ alternatives. This article will examine if bike pump works in cars, when you can use them, and outline the importance of keeping the correct tire pressure.
How important is tire pressure
Car tires house air or nitrogen that keeps them inflated to carry the vehicle’s weight. It has a valve stem that allows air or nitrogen to enter or escape as required. When you commute with the vehicle, the tires heat up and slightly expand the air or nitrogen inside.
Without this pressure inside the tires, you’ll have poor vehicle handling, bad gas mileage, and suspension issues like accelerated wear on the suspension bushings, weak shocks and structs, and tire damage.
How important is correct tire pressure?
Tire pressure is undoubtedly important, but having the correct tire pressure is crucial. Maintaining correct tire pressure brings many benefits to the table. It helps with fuel economy and allows the tires to wear evenly, extending the tire lifespan.
Correct tire pressures will also offer smoother ride experiences, perfect road-hugging, and quality vehicle handling. Here is why you always have to drive with the correct tire pressure.
Driving with under-inflated tires allows the sidewalls to touch the ground, creating friction on larger surfaces. More friction exposes the tires to more wear, more heat, and more load on the vehicle. And more of these things can lead to issues like tire cupping or tire blowout, leading to a catastrophic accident.
If the tires are overinflated, they will not hug the road perfectly. As a result, the vehicle handling will be harder and bouncier. The stopping distance and the traction will bear the cost. By this, it will affect the brakes, and you will feel every bump on the road.
Over-inflated and under-inflated tires can cause accelerated and uneven tread wear patterns. Therefore, keeping your tires at the correct pressure will prevent accelerated wear, meaning the tire will last up to its lifespan.
As reiterated above, improper tire pressure can lead to frequent visits to gas stations. According to the US Department of Energy, you can save up to 3% of gas by driving with proper tire pressure.
What About Tires That Keep Losing Pressure?
If your tires keep losing pressure, you likely have a wheel, damaged tires, or temperature issues. Let’s see how this could cause your tires to lose air regularly.
Under wheel issues, the problem could be poor valve stem or damaged wheels.
Poor valve stem
As explained earlier, the valve stem is where you put air inside the tire or allow air to escape from the tire. It is a small pole that sticks out from the tires. Hence, it can crack, break, or deteriorates due to road conditions.
You likely have a defective valve stem if your tires keep losing air pressure. Although, new tires usually come with new valve stems. But if the tires keep losing pressure, it could mean the valve stem has failed before the tires.
Sometimes, new valve stems can cause gradual pressure loss due to manufacturing defects. Plus, the valve stem can go bad from overtightening. Therefore, ensure you do not overtighten it.
Another probable place the air can escape is through the rims. If oxidation or corrosion occurs, it may bristle the seal between the meeting point of the rim and the tire. In addition, hitting road hazards like potholes can affect the perfectly round shape of the wheels. This can cause slight wheel vibration and may damage the tire bead, resulting in gradual air pressure loss.
Tire damages can result from bead issues and tire slashing or punctures.
Undoubtedly, punctures can cause significant air loss. But if there’s a nail in your tire, it’ll only cause a small air leak. At first, you will not notice the pressure loss. But if the nail stays for an extended period, you’ll start experiencing flat tires when a car sits overnight. The tire will also frequently go flat in the middle of nowhere.
If there are damages on the tire bead, that is, the edges of the tires that sit on the rim, it’ll cause gradual air loss. Damaged beads can be caused by improper installation, pieces of debris, or aged tires.
The rubber materials used in tires will weaken over time and lose their elasticity. Therefore, you have to look at the age of the tire when buying new or old tires.
The road temperature affects the air pressure in the tire. For instance, your tire can lose 2 Psi per 10-degree Centigrade change in weather during night-time and 0.19 Psi per 1-degree centigrade change during the daytime.
These do not include the 1 Psi your car tires lose naturally every month. If your tires lose air pressure regularly, get one of the best hand pumps for car tires to check and keep them at the correct pressure before replacing or fixing the leading cause.
Can You Use a Bike Pump on a Car Tire?
Yes, you can inflate your car tire with a bike pump, but it’ll take longer than using one of the best manual car tire pumps. It’ll also take more effort than when using an electric pump. I know you’ll be wondering, how long does it take to fill a car tire with a bike pump? Pumping a car with a bike pump takes between 20 to 30 minutes.
Having a bike pump comes with many benefits. First, they are cheap, portable to store in your trunk or carry in your backpack, and easy to use.
While bike pumps are easy to use, it is not that simple to use a bike pump on car tires since car tires are bigger and requires more air than bike tires. In addition, most bicycle pumps are not designed to seamlessly generate enough air pressure required in car tires.
Therefore, it may be challenging to pump your car tires properly with a bicycle pump. Even if you get air pressure into the tires, it will require more strength to inflate them properly.
When Would You Use a Bike Pump?
We have seen that most bike pumps are not designed to inflate your car tires properly. So, you don’t have to rely on them, especially handheld bike pumps. Instead, you have to use them as alternatives. This, however, does not mean you can not fully inflate your car tire with a bike pump, but some bike pumps will not be able to do the job effectively.
Kindly note that you have to remove the tire from the car or lift the tire off the ground before pumping. If not, it’ll likely be impossible to properly inflate the car tires with a bike pump.
Frequently Asked Questions FAQs
Q: Is a bike pump the same as a car pump?
Bike pumps are not the same as car pumps. However, they share identical valves, making it possible to use one in place of the other. Meanwhile, you have to be careful when using car pumps for bike tires to prevent blowing the tire. On the other hand, using bike pumps in car tires will take longer time and energy. Also, you’ll have to remove the tires before attempting to pump them.
Q: Can you inflate a car tire with a foot pump?
Most foot pumps are capable of inflating car tires to the recommended PSI. However, it’ll require extra energy and takes longer than a compressor pump. Regardless of the energy and the time it takes to pump car tires with foot pumps, they have some benefits over compressor pumps. At least the foot pump is portable, and you can carry it anywhere.
Q: Can you use a hand pump for a car tire?
You can use both hand and foot pumps to inflate your car tires as far as they have the same valve fittings. Even if they don’t have the same fittings, you can get an adapter from any auto parts seller and make it work. The tire will not push out the air going inside as the valve stems are not designed to force out air pressure.
Q: How much Psi can a bike pump produce?
It would be challenging to accurately say how much Psi a bike pump can produce since there are different manufacturers and varieties. For instance, we have handheld pumps and foot pumps. In any case, bike pumps can produce between 60 to 200 Psi, with the handheld pumps generating the lowest Psi.
We have answered the question, can you use a bike pump on a car tire? Bike pumps can inflate your car tires to the recommended levels. However, it’ll require more manpower and take longer than compressor car pumps.
Do not drive without a spare tire and tire repair kits. Your car tires can go flat without prior notice, leaving you stranded in the middle of nowhere.