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5 Easy Steps How To Put Air In Tires Without A Gauge

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The worst feeling in the world is to walk to your car in a rush and see a flat tire on your car. Even worse is how to fix it on your own with minimal tools at your disposal. You have no idea what to do or what the recommended pressure is. Worse yet you don’t have a digital gauge so you rummage around in the glove compartment and driver’s side door for a pencil gauge.

You don’t have one of those new cars that tell you when to do a tire pressure check.

how to put air in tires without a gauge header image

As much as I hate to admit it, it’s always a good idea to have an air compressor in your truck like this one. Yes dad I was listening. Even better if you toss one of those pencil gauges in your glove box.

Why does it matter if your tire doesn’t have enough air in it? If you drive on your tires without the correct air pressure it will severely lower the life of your tires. Another reason to keep an eye on the tire pressure is because low tire pressure will cause poor fuel economy and you will get bad gas mileage in your car.No body needs to burn through more gas than necessary these days.

Just so you know this number the average recommended tire pressure for car tires should be 30 pounds of air pressure per square inch.

If you’re not sure of the correct pressure check your car owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations.

What To Look For In Your Car Tires

Here is how to know if you simply need to add more air to your tires or if you have to do something more drastic.

Look at your car tire’s sidewall and where they meet the road surface from the front of the car looking down along the side of the car. Do they pudge out where the tire is resting on the asphalt?

Or is the rim of the hub completely sitting on the ground? If that is the case and it happened overnight or in a short period of time you should assume you have to put the spare tire on the car. When a car tire is that low something likely happened like a large crack in the tire from dry rot or a sharp object puncturing it.

jeep tire

How To Put Air In Tires Without A Gauge

It can be a little stressful trying to put the right amount of air into your front tires without being able to check the correct tire pressure but I want you to remind yourself that you can do it.

Just breathe and pay attention to the tires and what they are doing.

As a rule of thumb, the car tire pressure should be just enough to make the side of the tires flat enough to where they don’t sag from the weight of the car.

If you aren’t sure just watch the car tire and as it starts to lift out of the sag then go ahead and stop filling the tire. Tires that don’t have the proper pressure cause tire blowouts.

Ok so here is a step by step how to put air in tires without a gauge if you notice you have an underinflated tire.

  • Check the car’s tires for a sharp object that might have punctured the tire. – If you are not at home or anywhere you can fix the tire you are likely going to be better off if you leave that object in that tire. If you pull it out you will have an even bigger problem that you can’t fix.
  • All tires should have valve caps which are a little screw-on cap no bigger than a pencil eraser.
  • Take that cap off of the tire you want to add air to.
  • Push the nozzle of the air compressor onto the valve system hard enough that the valve stops making a hissing sound.
  • Since you do not have a tire pressure gauge you need to fill the tire just enough to where the tire does not look pudgy anymore when you look at it from the front or rear end of the car. The tire should have very little give to it when you push down onto the tire.

If you think your tire is still a little low just leave it be and have someone who knows what they are doing look at it.

The most important thing is to get the tire off the ground so you can drive home.

jeep with a flat tire

Places To Go If You Don’t Have A Portable Air Compressor

If you find that your car tire looks like it has low pressure and you don’t have a way to check don’t stress right off the bat.

If you aren’t far from home or your destination and you know you can fix the tire there then just keep going. But if you have a long trip ahead of you it would be a good idea to have a plan in mind about what to do to fix your flat tire.

Look for the nearest gas station. There is a good chance that a gas station will have an air pump.

If not look on your google maps app to see if they have a way to find a nearby air compressor.

Some large chain grocery stores Kroger have air pumps by their local gas station.

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Not All Air Compressors Pump The Same Speed

Keep in mind that some air compressors at gas stations can pump at a high speed. Pump air for about ten seconds and look at your tire. See if it looks the way a normal tire should. If not then put a little more in.

If The Air Pump Shuts Off

There are automatic air pumps so if the pump shuts off then don’t force it to keep going. The sensor is telling you that you are at the proper tire inflation.

Small Personal Pump

If you are using a small portable air compressor then put air in for about a minute or two then check the tires. Continue this process until you see the tire lift off the ground and you don’t have any give on the tire when you give it a push.

A Quick Safty Tip

Now I don’t want to scare you but be aware of your surroundings while you are dealing with car trouble.

If you have a choice choose a safe place with lots of people instead of the gas station air pump that is off in the dark on its own.

If you did have to pull off on the side of the road and you have to deal with it. Pay attention to who stops. DO NOT stand close to them. Step at least 6-10 feet away if they offer to help.

Here are some recommended tools to have in your car so you don’t have to deal with what to do when you do end up with a flat tire.

A digital tire gauge is great to have or get a small compressor that is not a hand pump but has a gauge so you can get an accurate reading on the pressure in your car.

If you drive your truck off-road and you have a good chance of getting a spur or something in your tire a can of fix-a-flat would be a great idea to have in your car.

Tire Care Essentials


Digital tire gauge

Digital Tire Pressure Gauge with Inflator, 250 PSI Air Chuck & Compressor Accessories Heavy Duty with Quick Connect Coupler – Get It On Amazon

Air Compressor

VacLife AC/DC 2-in-1 Tire Inflator – Portable Air Compressor – Get It on Amazon

Fix-A-Flat

Fix-A-Flat S60420 Aerosol Emergency Flat Tire Repair and Inflator, for Standard Tires, Eco-Friendly Formula, Universal Fit for All Cars, 16 oz. – Get It On Amazon

Wrapping up, properly inflated tires are essential for your car’s performance and safety. Knowing how to inflate tires without an air gauge, and where to find an air compressor, is a valuable skill that can help you save time and money. You can handle the problem yourself and you won’t have to call a toe truck.

As we head into the winter seasons taking the time to do a little tire maintenance check for signs of wear and tear will ensure that your vehicle is safe to drive. If you notice any irregularities, such as bald spots or bulges, it’s important to get them replaced with new tires immediately. This will help with fuel efficiency on your car as well.

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