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Sometimes car drivers fall into a situation where the air pressure in their car’s wheels drops and the orange light on their dashboard starts to blink. Driving a car in this situation is extremely unsafe and if you continue to do so, then there is a chance the tires can become damaged. Though it is possible to drive with deflated tires, you shouldn’t drive on the highway as it has the potential to cause serious accidents. Moreover, when the air pressure is low, the fuel consumption rate increases which can become very costly.
Car tires are not meant to be pumped with bicycle pumps. If you do, the air valve on the tire can be damaged or even break. However, if you encounter such a situation, you don’t need to stop in the middle of the highway to call a mechanic or push your vehicle to the garage. Gas stations allow you to inflate your vehicle’s tire free of cost or sometimes they charge very little. In both ways, you have to do it by yourself. So, here is our complete guide to how to use gas station air pumps to inflate your tire.
How To Use A Gas Station Air Pump?
There are two types of air pumps generally available in gas stations. Some air pumps can be used from both sides and some have only one working side. Most air pumps look the same, so finding one won’t be much of a hassle for you. Let’s look through the complete process of inflating a tire at a gas station.
1. Go To The Local Gas Station
First of all, you need to look for a gas station with an air pump. Most highway gas stations have this facility. If you don’t find a station with an air pump, you can use Yelp to locate the nearest fuel station that has one.
2. Park Near The Air Pump
Once you have located the gas station, drive slowly to the station and park your car next to the air pump. The car should be parked in such a way that the air pump and the deflated wheel are facing each other. There should be a distance of at least one foot between the wheels of your car and the air pump. If you park the car at this distance, the hose will be able to deliver the correct airflow. The fuel stations charge per minute for inflating tires, so this one-foot distance should be maintained to get the best output in the shortest amount of time.
3. Look For Recommended Tire Pressure
Once you have parked the car perfectly, open the driver’s door and come out. Check for the manufacturing sticker on the inner frame of the driver’s door. The sticker contains information regarding what air pressure is appropriate for your tires. It will be mentioned as the PSI (pound per square inch) unit. You will find the sticker near the door jam. No matter which car you are driving, the placement of this sticker is the same for all.
4. Get Familiar With The Hose
As you already know how much air pressure you need, let’s take a look at the hose that you’ll use to inject the air into the wheels. The hose pipe is connected to the air pump of the fuel station. It is usually red or green in color. Unscrew the cover cap from the top of the nozzle of your car’s wheels and connect the hose’s nozzle to it. It is advisable to make sure that the two nozzles are connected properly.
5. Check Current Air Pressure On The Tire
Before you start putting air into your tires, you should check how much air pressure you have left. Most drivers keep a PSI measuring meter in the car. If you don’t have it, you can ask the gas station manager to lend you a PSI meter. It’s a small tool with a scale of 0 to 100. It also has an indication arrow that shows the current PSI of your tire. This way you will know how much air you should inflate.
6. PSI Setup
Now that you have all the numbers. You know what air pressure you should have and what you actually have now. Subtract the present air pressure from the required air pressure, then you will get to know how much you need to inflate the tire. Look for a digital meter in the air pump machine where you need to manually input the calculated PSI. Some air pump machines come with smart technology where that can measure how much air they should provide.
7. Pump Air Into Your Tire
Once your PSI is set, you can start pumping air into your tire. To do so, you need to press a big square button at the bottom of the air hose pipe. The button will also be colored in red or green. When your tire reaches the expected air pressure, the air pump will stop. Take out the hose pipe and place the nozzle cap. To play it safe, do this process for the rest of the tires. This way you won’t have to worry about facing the same issue with other tires.
8. Drive Away Safely
As a lot of people face this issue, the air pump machine stays very busy. Once you are done, get into the car and move on from the place to allow someone else to use the pump. If the service is payable, go to the cash counter and pay. Otherwise, pull away from the station and drive away safely.
Advantages Of Using An Air Pump At the Gas Station
Using an air pump from a gas station for inflating your tires has multiple advantages. First of all, gas station air pumps are free to use in some states. Using those stations will save you a good amount of money. Most gas stations stay open 24/7. So, no matter what time it is, you can get this service whenever you need it.
Although you can call a mechanic and take your car to the garage, it will take quite a lot of time. But, if you do this yourself at a gas station, you can save both time and money. Overall, It’s more convenient.
Importance Of Maintaining The Air Pressure
Maintaining the right amount of air pressure in your tire has a lot of benefits. If your tires are running on low air pressure, they will lose mileage because of tire friction. So, you will be needing more fuel to reach your destination.
It also improves the overall safety of your car and the passengers. Deflated tires don’t perform well in wet weather conditions. You need to maintain the air pressure so that your tires can have a better grip on the road. With a better grip, your car will have better acceleration and better braking power. Lastly, your tires will last longer if you maintain the air pressure. Low air pressure causes a lot of friction which can make the tire wear out faster.
If you know how to inflate air in your car’s tire, then performing this action in any gas station is not a difficult task. You should know how to do it properly, otherwise, overinflation or underinflation may damage your tire. Most gas station air pumps have sensors to alarm you if you are overinflating. If you ever overinflate your tire, use a small needle to release some air out of the tire. The gas station air pumps help you to know your car better. All in all, they are an economically better solution for inflating tires, and convenient too.
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