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How to fill tires with air?

How to fill tires with air?

Your tires will lose air throughout their life. The air in your tires escapes naturally, but also in the event of valve defects, small punctures, etc.

Correct tire pressure is a critical factor in your safety. And properly inflated tires will last longer and save fuel!

What are the dangers of underinflated tires?

Underinflated tires

  • Increased fuel consumption
  • Faster, more erratic tire wear. The tread life of a tire that is 20% underinflated can be reduced by 20%. Example: A tire with a potential mileage of 40,000 km could have its life reduced by 8,000 km.
  • Handling is less reliable and overheating can lead to tire blowouts at high speeds.
  • Increased CO₂

Overinflated tire

An overinflated tire rolls only on the central part of its tread. As a result, the contact area is reduced and the tire grips the road less effectively, which obviously leads to handling problems. The vehicle then responds poorly to changes in direction, and stopping becomes more difficult. High pressure also accelerates the wear of steering and suspension components and reduces the life of the tire.

How much pressure should my vehicle's tires have?

Your vehicle's manufacturer has determined that the best possible performance in terms of stability, handling, load capacity and fuel economy is achieved at a given pressure, taking into account the weight and characteristics of the vehicle. This information can be found on a label on the door frame, in the glove compartment, on the fuel filler cap or in the owner's manual.

The unit of measurement for your car's tire pressure is expressed in bar kg/cm3, psi (pounds per square inch), or kpa (kilopascals). Normally, tire pressure should be between 30 and 45 psi, or between 1.8 and 3 bar.

For your information: 1 bar = 14.5 psi = 100 kpa

How often should I check my tire pressure?

A tire naturally loses air, generally about 0.1 bar (1.45 PSI) per month.

This phenomenon can be increased by other causes of leakage, such as

  • an accidental puncture
  • A defective valve: it is necessary to replace the valve each time the tire is changed (even if the valve is equipped with a pressure sensor).
  • the absence of a valve cap, which is essential to ensure a good seal
  • The condition of the rim, which must be cleaned each time the tire is changed.

That's why we recommend checking your tire pressure once a month and before every long trip.

If you don't use your tires for a long time, for example if you change your winter/summer tires twice a year, it is essential to check the pressure of the tires mounted on your vehicle.

Where to inflate your tires?

At a service station

The easiest way to check and, if necessary, re-inflate your tires is at a service station equipped with a pump. You can also find them at auto centers or car washes. Inflation is usually free.

At home

If you don't feel like going to a gas station and want to check and inflate your tires from home, invest in a portable mini air compressor. Some compressors have a digital display for easier pressure reading. For power, some are battery-powered and others can be plugged into a car's cigarette lighter.

How to pump up your tires?

Step 1: Know Your Recommended Inflation Pressure

Before starting the inflation process, you need to know the recommended pressure for your tires. This may be different for the front and rear tires.

Where are your tire pressure gauges? There are several places.

  • On the back of the fuel filler cap
  • In the glove box
  • On the driver's side door
  • Owner's manual or on tire.

Step 2: Make Sure the Tire is Cold

This step is necessary if you need to check the tire pressure. Make sure your rubber is cold, meaning it hasn't been used for at least 2 hours. If the rubber has just been rolled, the result may be distorted by the increase in hot air pressure. You risk underinflating your tires.

Step 3: Check the tire pressure

Use a dial gauge or, failing that, an air compressor with a gauge. Then follow these instructions:

  • Locate your tire's valve, which should normally be along the edge of the tire,
  • Remove the cap covering the tire valve,
  • Place the tip of the compressor or gauge on the valve,
  • Press the tip of the tool onto the valve and hold it there,
  • Wait for the gauge to read the pressure reading. This will be accompanied by a small whistling sound.
  • Remove the tool and read the tire pressure.
  • The result will allow you to adjust the amount of air that is necessary for the inflation of the tire.

Step 4: Select a pump

At a gas station

Use the pump at a gas station. It's usually located near the station parking lot, away from the gas pumps.

At home

Find an air pump. Automatic air pumps cost more but work faster. You can also use a foot pump, such as a bicycle pump, but this takes more time and effort. You can buy your pump or ask a friend who has one.

Step 5: Inflate the tires

Remember that if the tire is overinflated, simply deflate it by pushing on the little pin inside the valve to let some air out. Once you've done this, you can check the pressure again.

Once the tire is deflated, place the compressor hose against the valve and hold it there. You'll hear a whistling sound. Hold the hose until the hissing stops. Then start the compressor. When you've reached the recommended pressure, turn off the unit. Then remove it and close the cap.

What is the purpose of the valve?

  • It is used to keep the tire pressure at the recommended level.
  • It prevents moisture from entering the tire.
  • The cap plays an important role in preventing the valve from clogging and keeping it airtight.

How do I inflate tires when they're hot or cold?

  • It's best to check the tire pressure when the tires are cold (tires that have not been ridden for 2 hours or less than 3 km at low speed).
  • However, if you check the pressure when the tires are hot, add 0.3 bar (4.35 PSI) to the vehicle manufacturer's recommended pressure. The pressure must be rechecked and adjusted when the tires are cold.
  • Never deflate a hot tire (pressure increases with temperature).

Should I also check the pressure in the spare tire?

Since tires lose air naturally, it's important to check the spare tire as well. However, since this tire is not used all the time, you only need to check it once or twice a year.

Should I fill my tires with nitrogen?

What is nitrogen?

Nitrogen is air from which the oxygen has been removed. Air is about 79% nitrogen.

How is nitrogen used?

  • Tires are usually inflated with compressed air during installation. Some tire specialists offer nitrogen inflation only.
  • Most tires can be inflated with either air or nitrogen as long as the vehicle manufacturer's recommended inflation pressure is followed.
  • Nitrogen and air mix very well (e.g. to add pressure).

Advantages of Nitrogen

In addition to staying inflated longer, a tire inflated with nitrogen offers other significant advantages:

  • A tire inflated with nitrogen stays inflated longer.
  • This means the vehicle uses less fuel and emits less pollution because it requires less effort to drive.
  • A well-inflated tire grips the road better, so braking is optimized.
  • A tire filled with nitrogen absorbs shocks better, making driving more comfortable and less dangerous.
  • Nitrogen is insensitive to outside temperature, so inflation is the same in summer and winter.

Disadvantages of nitrogen

Of course, no technology is perfect: while nitrogen has many advantages, it also has its disadvantages. It's up to you to decide whether inflating your tires with nitrogen is cost effective and appropriate for the amount of driving you do. If you decide to inflate your tires with nitrogen, you need to be aware that :

  • Nitrogen is more expensive than air because it's harder to get.
  • Inflating your tires with nitrogen does not exempt you from checking the pressure regularly.
  • You can't inflate your tires with nitrogen at any gas station because it requires a special inflator or nitrogen cylinder.

Check your tire pressure, even if your tires are inflated with nitrogen

Unfortunately, there are other sources of leakage (tire/rim contact area, valve, valve/rim contact area, etc.). Neither air nor nitrogen can maintain the desired pressure indefinitely.

Where can I get my tires inflated with nitrogen?

No service station offers nitrogen tire inflation. It is a fee-based service usually provided by tire professionals, garages or retailers.  You can buy some in stores or online so that you have a small supply for the next time you need to inflate your tires.

Nitrogen or Air, What's the Best Way to Inflate Tires?

Even if inflating your tires with nitrogen has some drawbacks, such as a slightly higher price and the difficulty of finding service stations capable of carrying out this type of inflation, the advantages are numerous: longer lasting pressure, lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, shorter braking distances thanks to better grip... Depending on how often you drive and how you drive, it's up to you to decide whether it's more restrictive and/or more economical to inflate your tires with air or nitrogen.

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