Can You Pump A Car Tire with A Bike Pump?

Flat tires are always disturbing and sometimes cause some other significant problems like tire damage and deform the wheel’s rims. This also deteriorates the performance and fuel economy of your car. And the case may be worse when you see your car’s tier is too low while you are setting off for your work.  And you can’t even manage to go to the nearest gas station. Then, as an alternative, you may be thinking of using your bike’s pump. It is a peculiar idea but can you pump a car tire with a bike pump?

Ok, this is possible. And you can make it to ride all day long. But you should follow some steps to do this job entirely and within a minimum time. So, to help and guide you I will discuss how you can do it, tips and warnings, and troubleshooting some problems. So, go through this article, fix your problem, and make your life easy.

Park on a Flat Surface

Parking on a clear and flat surface will give you extra comfortability and allow you to move around the car. A flat surface will also help to maintain balance during pumping. And if the road is slightly angled, then it will not be a big problem. Moreover, having enough air to roll on a flat street will give you an extra benefit. You can get a relatively more accurate reading of air pressure and balance the pump.

So, if you don’t have any clear and flat surface, then it will be better to park in the street (if you have permission), or you can request your neighbor to use their driveway.

Remove Valve Cap

After parking in a suitable place, you need to remove the valve cap from the tire. You can see the valve near the metal of the wheel’s rim. You need to unscrew to remove it.

The valve cap is tiny and has a risk of getting lost. You can put the small thing in a Ziplock bag or sealable container to avoid rolling it away.

Defining the Optimal Pressure of Tires

It is essential information, but you may forget it as you do not need it every day. But if you pump your tire more than the limit, it may cause damage to the tire. And if you pump lower than it, you will not get a better result. So, before pumping, you need to know the PSI (pounds per inches) pressure. You can generally find it on the driver’s door, printed on a sticker.

If it is not there, then you need to check the car’s manual. If you lost the physical copy, you could search online for an online copy.

After having the information about tires, you should check the front and back recommended pressure as many vehicles need different pressure for the end and front tires.

Measure Tire Pressure

Now, you need to check the tire pressure to know how much you need to pump. You can do it with a pressure gauge. As a driver, you need to carry this tool in the vehicle’s glove box because it is a standard maintenance tool for cars.

Before using the pressure gauge, you must clean the dirt or grit (if it has) from the valve. Because dirt in the valve cause leak in the joint and makes it difficult to read the pressure and pumping.

To read the pressure, you can follow these steps

  • At first, position the pressure gauge on top of the stem (the tire valve). Then, push the gauge into the valve firmly until the hiss (escaping sound of air) stops. Then, release it.
  • Now, look at the reading of the gauge.  Many mechanical gauges have a slide reader in it, which pops out after taking the reading. The closest number to the end of the gauge is the pressure of your tire. You will also find dial pressure gauge and digital pressure gauge.  In both of these, the mechanism is the same, and the dial gauge shows reading in its dial, and the digital one is its screen.
  • Determine the difference between the recommended PSI and the reading you have to get from the gauge. 

You should repeat these processes for the rest of the tiers. And if your tire’s pressure is 5 PSI below the recommended PSI, you must fill it.

Tips: If you want to get accurate air pressure, you have to wait three hours after driving.

Now you can start inflating car tires with your bike pump.

Before start pumping, you need to check what kind of valve you have got on the bike.  At present, two types of valves are most common. One is the Schrader valve (also known as the American valve), and another one is the Presta valve.  You need a Schrader valve equipped bike pump for car tires. But how can you differ from them? Well, a Presta valve has a thin, threaded cylinder of metal extending from the stem. On the other hand, you will see a small metal pin inside the end of the stem. And at the end of the stem is also threading for a screw-on cap.

Steps for Inflating Car Tire with Bike Pump

  • Position your bike pump and its valve end over the valve of the tire you want to pump. You will see a lever on the back of the pump’s valve in the unlocked position (lever will be touching the hose).
  • Now, press the pump’s valve firmly onto the tire valve.  You will hear air escaping sound. This is natural. When you check the pressure of the tire, you will hear the same sound. Then lock the pump onto the valve by raising the lever.
  • You should raise and lower the pump bar steadily. Do not fill your tire above the manufacturer’s recommended PSI.  Try to keep the pressure range between 5 PSI more or less than the recommended pressure.
  •  And try to measure the pressure at regular intervals. This will prevent you from overfilling the tire. An overfilling tire may cause damage or strain on the tire.
  • If you overfill your tire, then release some air. But in this case, you need some attention. Because if you remove too much air which will inevitably decrease the pressure than the recommended limit. And if it happens, then you need to pump your tire again.
  • And always try to be precise while pumping your tire because if you fill your tire lower or higher than the recommended amount, it will negatively impact fuel economy, and your tire may wear out unexpectedly.
  • Bike pumps are slower than the automatic car pump. So, you need much more time to fill it. So, you need to do physical work for a good amount of time. According to https://boxercycles.com “If you wanted to inflate a car tire from flat to drivable with a bicycle pump, it would take an estimated 100-350 pumps and an intense rate to pump up a single car tire, depending on the type.”
  • After completing pumping your tire correctly, replace the valve cap of the tire. And screw the valve tightly as they don’t come off.
  • After completing one tire, do the same process for the rest of the tires until they are entirely filled.

Tips

  • If you are pumping your tire with a bike pump on a hot summer day, it is better to take a break about 1-2 minutes after 4-5 min work. Because this process generates heat in the pump, and on a hot day, a bike pump can quickly overheat. And overheating can cause damage and crack the pump. Moreover, continuously doing this work will negatively impact your muscles, especially muscles of hands.
  • It is better to avoid using pressure gauges, which is attached to air compressors.  Because they are too low in quality, you will get a rough idea about the tire pressure. And starting pumping with rough pressure measurement will negatively impact on tire’s health. Moreover, there is a chance of getting the wrong information from these gauges. So, it is better to buy a reliable tire pressure gauge. It is not an expensive tool, and as a good driver, you should have it in your glove box.
  • As a car’s fuel efficiency mostly depends on the tire, it is better to check tire pressure once a month.
  • Before starting pumping, check that the tire valve and pump valve are appropriately connected. If they are poorly connected, it will decrease efficiency, and it makes the time longer.  Moreover, the tire may deflate faster than inflating because of poor sealing.  If you notice that valves are not appropriately attached, you should reattach the valves again.
  • After pumping sometimes, if you feel that the tire is not inflating properly, there will be a problem with the bike pump (if you know that your tire’s condition is good). Generally, bike pumps last longer. But your bike pump is old enough; then you should check that your pump hasn’t any crack or tiny hole. You can examine your pump by touching

Warning

  • If you drive your car with a flat tire, this may deform your rim permanently, and you have to buy a new one.
  • Over inflating tire can cause severe damage to the tire, wheel, and the car. This is also true for an underinflated tire.
  • Before start pumping, you should lock your wheel. Otherwise, in the middle of work, you may have to face an unexpected situation.

Frequently Ask Questions – FAQs

1. Can I inflate a car tire with a bike pump?

Ans: Yes. You can inflate your tire properly with a bike pump without facing any problem.

2. How to Inflate a Car Tire with a Bike Pump?

Ans: Attach the pump valve with the tire valve and start pumping it like pumping the bike’s tire. But you should follow the instructions which I mentioned earlier.

3. How Long Would It Take To Inflate A Car Tire With A Bike Pump?

Ans: This process will take much time than an electrical pump. So, on average, you need 100 to0 130 pumps.

Final Note

This is a weird way to deal with the problem yet a life-saving option when you are in an emergency. As it is not an ideal situation, you may not need to practice this method regularly. But you can do it two or three intervals as DIY work and can make yourself prepare for any emergency. And always check the pressure of the tire before pumping and after pumping,. And ensure that the tire pressure is not higher or lower than the recommended PSI. 

Ok, this all. I hope you have got the answer to can You Pump A Car Tire with A Bike Pump. With a little physical work, you can about pumping a flat tire with a bicycle pump following the steps I mentioned above.

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