Can You Pump a Car Tire With a Bike Pump?

a service man servicing a car that has flat tires

A car tire is a tire. Bicycles and cars use the same sort of valves to receive air for their tires. So, yes, you can use a bike pump to manually add air to a car tire just like you would with a bike tire.  Inflating a car tire by hand is a tedious process, but it just might get you out of a jam someday. 

How a Bike Pump Works 

There are a number of bike pump styles, such as frame-mounted pumps or foot-operated pumps. The classic design is called a floor pump, also known as a stand pump. A bicycle floor pump includes these components: 

• air compression chamber 

• hose that connects the pump to a tire 

• piston that compresses air through the hose and into the tire 

• handle that the user pumps to operate the piston 

During an up-stroke of the handle, the piston pulls air into the chamber. During a downstroke, the piston forces the air out of the chamber and into the tire.  

Tire pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). Recommended tire pressure for bicycles ranges from 30 to 50 PSI for mountain bikes up to 80 to 130 PSI for narrow road bike tires. 

For most passenger car tires, the recommended pressure is 32-35 PSI. Recommended PSI for your vehicle’s tires can be found on the tire’s sidewall, in a sticker on the car frame where the front driver’s door opens, and/or in the vehicle owner’s manual. 

Why You Might Need to Use a Bike Pump for a Car Tire 

The machines used for adding air to motor vehicle tires are known as air compressors or tire inflators. Most car owners don’t own an air compressor but are likely to own a bike floor pump. If you ever want or need to fill up your tires without leaving home, that bike pump is all you need. 

Pump your car tire the same way you pump a bike tire. Remove the tire valve dust cap, connect the hose to the tire valve, and press the pump’s piston handle up and down. You’ll be able to hear the pressurized air moving from the pump chamber into the tire. If your connection isn’t secure, you’ll hear a hissing sound from the escaping air. 

Manual pumping will be a slow grind, so why would somebody go through the trouble? There are plenty of reasonable explanations for pumping up your car tires by hand, such as: 

• Temporarily inflate a flat tire and take the vehicle to an auto shop for a new one 

• Regularly keep ideal tire air pressure at home for free 

• Maintain an air pressure  

Some folks just prefer DIY, cheap, simple, fixes. As an added benefit, manual pumping is a great tricep workout. 

How Long Does It Take to Manually Inflate a Car Tire? 

When you pump up a bike tire, you can see the gauge needle move with each pump. You can also quickly see and feel the tire inflating. When pumping a car tire, for obvious reasons (more air), progress is much slower. 

You won’t notice any difference from an individual pump. You are making progress when you hear air displacement because this usually means the device is properly attached. It might take a few hundred pumps and upwards of 20 minutes to fill up a flat tire. 

Adding air pressure to a car tire with a bike pump probably isn’t your first choice. However, it’s good to know that the option exists. 

For more relevant articles especially if you are driving in icy conditions, read our post here.

Preparing Your Car for Summer Driving

A jeep on a summer driving carrying surf boards.

Summer driving is prime time as people hit the road for vacations and visiting family. Although summer weather is often more predictable and less dangerous than winter weather, it does present specific challenges. To get your car ready for driving in heat that can be extreme and storms that can be severe, follow these four simple steps.

Follow your regularly scheduled maintenance plan

When seasons turn it is an excellent time to check in with how many miles are on your car. Then refer to your owner’s manual and see what sort of regular maintenance tasks are recommended at certain age or mile milestones for your vehicle. If you need to have your tires switched over from winter snow tires to all-weather tires, use that same appointment to ask your mechanic to give your car an all-over inspection.

Items that need regular attention include the brakes, the battery, spark plugs, belts and hoses, and the air conditioning system. Fully electric vehicles need battery and coolant system maintenance as well.

If possible, address any larger problems at a time when you are not planning to travel long distances. It would cause issues if you get the entire system overhauled or new parts installed a day before you leave on a week-long road trip. Get your car ready, then drive it for a few weeks to make sure that everything is working properly, before using your car to travel.

Summer Driving #1: Check those wipers, fluids, and tires

A regular maintenance check-up is a good time to have your mechanic top off all your car’s fluids and inspect your tires. You can also do this on your own if you are not set up on a scheduled maintenance on a regular basis.

Pop the hood (making sure you know how to prop the hood safely while you inspect your engine and fluids) and make sure that your windshield washer fluid reservoir is full. If it’s not, fill it with fluid you can buy at any auto supply store. It can be more involved to check such fluids as oil or power steering fluids, so if this is not something you’d like to try, make an appointment with your regular auto shop to do that for you (you can even ask to observe how they do it).

Summer Driving #2: Give car a good clean, and run your air conditioning

One of the main things you should check when cleaning your car out for the spring and summer is whether you have a spare tire, whether you can get to it easily, and whether it’s ready to use and accessible.

Look over the exterior of your car to make sure everything looks solid. Pay attention to your bumpers, look underneath to make sure nothing is getting close to dragging, and inspect and clean all your windows the next time you fill-up with gas. You may also want to take your car through an automated car wash to remove any of the road salt or other dirt it picked up during the winter months. This is also important if you are planning to transport your car.

During heat waves, you’ll also want to know that your air conditioning is working. Run your air conditioning during several car trips and under different conditions to make sure it’s working properly.

Have a summer emergency kit ready

Extreme weather conditions are possible in summer, just as they are in winter, particularly depending on where you live. Your emergency car kit should include both nonperishable safety and car items, as well as perishable food and health supplies.

Supplies that you might need are booster cables, emergency flares, duct tape, and a basic tool kit. You will also want to include a basic first-aid kit, as well as gloves and paper towels or wet wipes. Perishable supplies that can be helpful to have include bottled drinking water and snacks that have a long shelf life.

Prepare yourself for what might happen if you ever break down or have an accident. Consider joining a roadside protection service like AAA for a monthly fee. Make sure to save the numbers of a couple of local maintenance shops or tow companies on your phone.

Summer can be a wonderful time to make the most of your vehicle and enjoy fun road trips. You’ll enjoy your travels that much more if you take steps to make sure your car is clean, maintained, and stocked with emergency supplies before you go.

Top 5 Signs You Need a Car Brake Inspection

Man giving a car brake inspection on a beetle car with a plate titled dinocar

Car brake inspection is as important as it gets. The brake system is one of the top components in a motor vehicle because the braking mechanism comprises many parts that work together to allow you to stop or slow down your car when necessary. Thus, it is important for your brakes to be maintained properly. Neglecting regular examinations of the brake system could result in more expensive repairs, unexpected downtime, and a potentially hazardous situation for you, your loved ones, and other drivers.

There are several signs that show that your brakes need attention. As soon as you notice any of the signs below, take your car for an inspection.

1. Worn-Out Brake Pads or Shoes

Worn-out brake pads can negatively affect your driving experience. When they wear thin, the metal backing of the pad can press against the rotor, causing a loud screeching noise. You may also observe that the brake flare and pedal pressure point have moved closer to the floor than normal. And if it smells rather unusual, you might also want to check that too.

Certain older car models use brake shoes instead of pads. A reduced stopping distance, as well as a lack of grip power when applying the parking brakes, can be a sign of worn-out brake shoes. If you notice any of these brake issues, it’s important to have your vehicle looked at by a mechanic for a car brake inspection. If the mechanic finds that the problem is worn-out brake shoes or pads, the solution is replacing them.

2. Unusual Sounds and Vibrations

It is normal for your vehicle to make slight noises when braking as the pads press against the rotors. However, if you hear screeching or grinding sounds every time you step on the brake pedal, that could show a problem with your braking system. Screeches and squeaks are usually indicators that the brake pads are worn out. When the pads reach a certain thickness, a warning indicator will make noise so that you replace or repair them.

Squealing or screeching noises can also occur when brake pads are improperly installed or loosen. Here, it is best to replace the pads and inspect the hardware that connects them to the vehicle. Harsh grinds show metal scraping against metal. This could be a sign of caliper anchor plate problem or worn-out rotors.

Vehicle vibrations can reveal a problem in your wheels or suspension system. A wheel alignment is necessary if it does not affect your braking system. However, if this vibration happens every time you use your brakes, it could mean that one or more of your rotors are bent or warped. Other reasons for vehicle vibrations are sticky calipers and uneven application of pad pressure from one side of the brake to another side.

3. Car Pulling

If you come to a stop and feel your car pulling to one side, it could signal that at least one of your brake calipers is sticking. When the caliper sticks in the closed position, it causes an imbalanced braking force, which makes your vehicle pull when you apply the brakes.

The caliper may stick because it’s missing lubrication, the piston seals may be dried out, or it might need new pads. In most cases, the caliper of a disc braking system can be removed and rebuilt in a few hours using basic tools.

4. Mushy or Hard Pedal

There are several reasons your car’s brake pedal feels mushy, including worn-out brake pads and low or no brake fluid in the master cylinder. Start by checking the brake fluid level, then check the entire brake system for leaks. Sometimes an issue with a master cylinder can cause a leak and low brake fluid levels, which may leave you with a spongy brake pedal feel. Another common symptom that causes mushy brakes is air in the hydraulic line of the system, which will leave you with little to no brakes at all.

A brake pedal that is hard to push could result from incorrect pedal adjustment or an obstruction in a brake line. Alternatively, it could be due to worn-out brake pads, low or no brake fluid in the master cylinder, or damage to the hydraulic system because of air in the hydraulic line, an air leak, or a leak in the wheel cylinders.

5. Dashboard Brake Lights

The dashboard brake light is a mechanism that signals to drivers and mechanics the deterioration of the braking system. Most commonly, it’s triggered when there is too much pad wear in your brakes or if the fluid or parking brake needs attention as well.

The dashboard light can also be activated if you have defective calipers, a damaged sensor, or other similar problems with your braking system. To make sure that the problem doesn’t get more serious, especially if it comes on suddenly, have a trusted mechanic assess your vehicle’s braking system immediately. 


The best approach to keeping your brakes in proper working order is to have them inspected and maintained regularly. Get your vehicle a car brake inspection out at a garage for brake problems immediately if you notice any of the warning signs outlined above. Ignoring these signs can be incredibly dangerous.

5 Warning Signs It’s Time for a Wheel Alignment

man in his blue uniform working on wheel alignment on a vehicle
Wheel alignment for SUV in professional workshop. Modern auto service with high-level maintenance

Wheel alignment is integral in taking care of your vehicle. Badly maintained wheels are one of the major preventable causes of car accidents, with some estimates putting the annual injury count at close to 20,000 a year in the US alone. And while many of these accidents are the result of tire blowouts or a sudden loss of grip. Tracing back to poor alignment could be an underlying issue too.

Impaired handling, tires are put under stress and strains that are they are not designed to handle when the wheels are not in the correct position.

Eventually, an accident is inevitable if nothing is done. How do you know if your car has this problem? Here are five warning signs that tell you it’s time to get the wheel alignment checked out by a qualified mechanic.

1) Unreliable Handling

If your car has trouble staying on the straight and narrow and tends to respond sluggishly when you turn the steering wheel, then poor alignment may be dragging the vehicle out of line. Also, you may notice that turning in one direction is easier than the other, which shows that poorly aligned wheels are pushing your car off your intended path.

2) Squealing Tires

A tire that’s gripping well on the road shouldn’t make any strange noises. If you hear squealing or screeching when driving straight ahead without stepping on the brakes, it’s a sure sign that the tire isn’t making full contact with the pavement. Not only does this reduce your control over the vehicle, but it promotes faster, more uneven wear on the tires and increases the risk of a blowout.

3) Tire Wear Problems

Even without the squealing issue, you may see signs of uneven wear on your tires. You will notice this with one side losing tread more quickly than the other. There is uneven wear and that’s norma normal but this could also be the cause of uneven wheel alignment.

4) Struggling With the Wheel

The steering wheel should come back into its natural position once you’ve completed a turn. If you find you’re always struggling against the wheel, pulling it back to its center and trying to keep it there, you should have the wheel alignment checked.

5) Sideways Drag

Lastly, if you don’t move the steering wheel the car should mainly keep going in the right direction. But if you find there’s a persistent drift to one side, your wheels probably aren’t pointing true. Don’t be tempted to test this out by letting go of the steering wheel and seeing what happens. But if it’s becoming an increasing struggle to drive straight ahead, it’s time to book an inspection.

If you spot any of these issues, it’s best to have a good mechanic check your car for a wheel alignment. With all the tires pointing in the correct direction, your car will be safer and more pleasant to drive. This will make the wheels and the last longer. Don’t wait for problems to arise; have your wheels checked now. Of course, if you are planning to ship your car, here are some car shipping reviews you need to remember after your wheel alignment!

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