How to Choose an Air Compressor for Your Car and Truck Tires

air compressor for car and truck tires

The amount of pressure in your car tire is something you should regularly check because it affects the entire car. It affects the gas mileage and the tire life. It also affects the steering and overall handling of the vehicle.

If you discover that your tire pressure is below the recommended pressure from the manufacturer, the right thing for you to do is use a suitable air compressor for car tires to inflate the tires. It can worsen later if you don’t inflate the tires as soon as possible. It can even get you stranded on the road by going flat completely.

Nobody likes seeing that their car tire is flat, but it happens, and you have to prepare for it. Even though your car, truck, or RV is sound with a good working engine, a flat tire can prevent you from reaching your destination in time.

To avoid being in that dilemma, you need to get a portable air compressor for your car. It would be best to have it in your car at all times. Whether you have a small car, a minivan, a truck, SUV, RV, camper, MPV, trailer, or offroad vehicle, it’s essential that you have an air compressor in it to pump the tires when they go flat.

Your car tires are very important components of your car because they’re the only part that makes direct contact with the road. So, keeping them at the recommended pressure at all times is very important.

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There are different types of portable air compressors you can use.

In this article, I will show you what you should look for or consider when choosing this type of air compressor so that you can choose the right one.

What to consider when choosing an air compressor for your car or truck tires

Know the recommended pressure ratings of your tires

Before inflating your car tires, it’s important that you know the recommended pressure from the manufacturer. Overinflated tires are also as dangerous as under-inflated ones. So, ensure you check the recommended pressure for your tire.

You can find it written inside the driver-side door when you open the vehicle. 

Power source

battery clamps

One of the first things you must consider is the power source of the air compressor. For an air compressor motor and pump to work, it requires a source of power. It can be gas-powered, corded – which means you can plug it into a power outlet in your house, or it can come with its own battery, which means it’s cordless.

If you’re looking for one that you can carry with you in your car at all times, then you have to limit your options to two. First, you can get a cordless one that comes with its own battery, like this AstrolAI cordless air inflator/compressor and the Dewalt DCC2560T1 that uses a 60V Flexvolt battery. 

Secondly, you can get a corded one that you can connect to the battery in your car using wires with battery clamps. Some also have a cigarette lighter attachment to connect it to the cigarette lighter port in your car.

Both of them are good and will get the job done. To me, your choice will depend on convenience. With the one that comes with its own battery, you don’t have to open your car hood and make any kind of wire connections to your car battery. It’s just plug-and-play. Connect the hose to the tire valve, switch it on, and watch your tire inflate.

If you don’t have issues opening your car hood and making that connection yourself, then you should be fine with either of them.

The size of the car tires

tire sizes matter

Tire sizes are different for different cars or vehicles, and the larger the vehicle is, the larger its tire will be, and the more air and pressure it will require to fill up and carry the weight of the vehicle.

If you’re driving a small car, then what you need is a small air compressor or inflator for your car. A 12V DC unit with a maximum pressure rating of 100 PSI should work just fine.

On the other hand, if you have a bigger vehicle like a truck for carrying cargo, you’ll need a more powerful one because your truck has bigger tires to be filled up with air.

In this situation, you can go for air compressors with pressure ratings of 150 PSI and above. Make sure to check the specifications and ask questions if you’re in a hardware store to ensure the one you are looking at can inflate your tires to the recommended pressure.

A good option you can go for if you have a truck is this one from AstroAI with a 160 PSI pressure rating. You can also go for the Gobege offroad unit with a 150 PSI pressure rating.

The size of the air compressor unit

size of the air compressor

The size of the air compressor unit itself is another important thing to consider because the size will affect how portable it is or the amount of space it will occupy in your car trunk.

Air compressors for cars are supposed to be portable because it’s very likely that they’ll be living inside your car trunk. Therefore, one that’s too big or too heavy is not ideal.

Some units are so small and portable you can even fit them into the glove box of your car. An example is this Skight tire inflator. So, take note of this when making your choice.

Ease of use

ease of using the car air compressor

With many car air compressors nowadays, you can set the pressure you want in the unit itself, connect the nozzle to the tire, and switch it on. As soon as it gets to that pressure you set, it will switch off automatically by itself without your intervention.

So, you don’t need a separate pressure gauge to check whether the pressure is up to the desired level. Instead, the unit does all that by itself and turns off at the exact pressure you need.

This makes it easier to use, compared to other ones, where you have to use a separate gauge each time to check the amount of pressure in the tires.

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