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View Full Version : Very low tech-- can you pump a car tire with a bike pump?


desdemona
10-25-2007, 11:05 PM
I got one of these fancy foot pump things (looks like it has a compressor but does not). Actually got it for an exercise ball. But I wondered. I always have someone put air in my tires for not wanting to squat down (I have sciatica-- though i have had little problem with it lately).
They do not like to pump it past the max sidewall (or even there). But I have been assured I could pump it up a little more.

Anyway, this thing has a psi to 100 gauge on it. I think it is for bike tires. But I wondered if it could be used for adding a few lbs. to a car tire (just to top it off, so to speak). Just add a couple more lbs.?

Is it doable. It is easy to pump the ball with this, but I have no experience pumping a tire.


--des

ILAveo
10-25-2007, 11:16 PM
If its valve is compatible with your tire's (and it probably is) it would work, but your car tire has a lot more volume than the usual exercise ball or bike tire. You would need to be patient and ready to get some exercise from pumping.

SSixty
10-25-2007, 11:18 PM
Hi Des,
I had a similar foot pump at least a dozen years ago and I found it incredibly inconvenient. My pump never liked to stay planted on the ground and would tip over with the slightest pressure of the foot. I would say, "Give it a try", but don't expect much. It should be good for 45psi I would think.

BailOut
10-26-2007, 12:08 AM
While this will probably work and I applaud you for the manual effort I must point out that most auto and variety stores sell little 12V compressors for $10-$20. We have 2 of them and they work perfectly and make it so easy to pump up the tires that I've become religious about monitoring them.

Back in the days of squatting in a dirty gas station parking lot pumping quarters into a machine that only worked half the time, and whose pressure gauge worked even less often, I had to psyche myself up for it.

Now I just mosey out into the garage, turn on the television out there, and enjoy myself while I nonchalantly make the rounds of the tires.

SSixty
10-26-2007, 12:14 AM
Hi Brian,
I used my 12V compressor earlier today as a matter of fact. One of the greatest things I ever bought from the convenience standpoint. Came as a set when I bought Slime. Goop, compressor and tire pressure gauge for $15.

tarabell
10-26-2007, 12:17 AM
I thought I remembered Sean (RLC) using a bike pump also. And we probably have one buried in the garage somewhere. I would think that or a cheap compressor like Brian's should be perfect for just upping a tire--but definitely not for filling a flat. I'll have to go excavating....

basjoos
10-26-2007, 06:14 AM
I use an old style hand pump to keep the tires topped off on all of my vehicles. Have never liked the 12V air compressors because of their high noise level and propensity to break. And their performance isn't much faster than that of a hand pump.

Right Lane Cruiser
10-26-2007, 08:11 AM
Tarabell is correct -- I do use a hand powered bicycle pump -- the kind with a tall, vertical, compression cylinder and a t-bar handle on it. I used to use a foot pump on the '70 VW Bug, but it was pretty flimsy. Recently I bought another when the hand pump I was using proved itself unreliable, but it self destructed in under 5 min due to the behavior that Joe described. My old one wasn't very strong but I used it for several years without it breaking.

Like Basjoos, I prefer to pump by hand. ;)

When I bought my new pump (another hand powered one) I also picked up a very small compressor that will fit in the glove compartment and tossed it in the trunk. I won't use it unless the bicycle pump doesn't work, but at least I have redundancy now. I only paid $7 for the pump and $13 for the compressor at Walmart.

phoebeisis
10-26-2007, 12:49 PM
I use a vertical bicycle pump for my car tires.The Prius-185/65 15 I think-takes about 6 pumps per psi in the 25-35 psi range.My Titan tires-245/75 17 took about 10-13 pumps per psi.Avoid the pumps with a large diameter cylinder ;they give waaaay too little mechanical advantage for big car tires that are going to take 100+ pumps.Pumping 200 pumps isn't so bad if the pumps don't take a lot of effort, but 50 high effort pumps wear you out.
Charlie
PS My cheapo $12 cigarette lighter pump just can't get over about 35psi.It gets as hot as a firecracker also.

locutus
10-26-2007, 01:02 PM
I use a vertical pump that you brace with your feet and it has a little compression tube and a T-handle. It works but it does take a while. I also have a 12V compressor which gets the job done as well, in about the same amount of time.

MnFocus
10-26-2007, 02:55 PM
Count me in as a bike pump supporter . The 'old cheapy' with an air compressor spring chuck has been very handy to have but is having a hard time with the higher psi's . Just recieved 3 mini foot pumps (http://www.minifootpump.com/)this a.m. Small enough to fit in the center armrest.3 models with 70-280 psi capable and (bargain shoppers will appreciate this) on *Clearance* for about $10 *shipped* . Even these will be modded with spring chucks - idiot proof enough for even *Me*!!

hobbit
10-27-2007, 12:09 PM
See the pump comments in the second part of this (http://techno-fandom.org/~hobbit/pix/ky07/).
.
With car tires, it's just a question of volume; since you
typically push upwards of 100 PSI into bicycle tires with
these things, that's not the main obstacle!
.
_H*

GrendelKhan
10-27-2007, 03:14 PM
Sorry, I tried to find it on my own (about half an hour searching), but I can't find it.

Anyone remember a post a while back, with a pic or 2 of a user's air pump? It was a vertical T type, and whitish/grayish. It might have been a little pricey, but it looked like it would work really well (better than my leaky $8 foot pump). I lost the link, and haven't thought of it since, but I'd like to take another look. When I was younger, I would simply remember the name. Those days are gone apparently...

Thanks in advance.
-Gren

desdemona
10-27-2007, 03:34 PM
Thanks, this is not a cheap pump, btw. I payed way more for it than what I was looking for, some bellows type pump for the ball. This is about a foot long, feels heavy. However, I am not altogether sure that there is a proper tire "nozzle" for it. There is a ball needle one (which isn't quite for an exercise ball, though it works) and another type which is for tires.

I didn't have in mind going from flat to full, but what happens is this. The tires go down so I am taking it to my mechanic who will pump them but never over max tire pressure (35psi on these). Several people suggested I could go over that but I don't want to argue with my mechanic who I feel is really quite good and honest. So I thought I could top off another couple pounds and see if that helps me any. I am not sure how far I would go anyway as they are cheap tires.

I don't mind exercise, I think i could consider it part of my strength training. But perhaps the hand type pump would work providing you could step on them. I used the hand pump for water rockets and never got them to work as I couldn't stablize them.

If I could find a cheap compressor that might be better and would probably do the exercise ball in about 10 seconds. One question though, with a compressor how to do you get the air?
Do you buy it?

BTW, Hobbit, I enjoyed your pix.


Thanks,

--des

MnFocus
10-27-2007, 08:41 PM
I've got the skills , I wish I had the tools: hand pump to end all hand pumps (http://www.lautard.com/Tirepump/index.html)

I did a rather quick informal test of two of the three minifoot pumps yesterday .

They are very well designed (German design so yeah ) and surprisingly well built given the price tag. Come with adapter to fill other items and a nice storage bag - that incidently has the proper straps to attach it to transport of the two wheeled persuasion. I see one major drawback (for me) Made in China ...take that info with a grain of salt. They do seem to work well despite the rotten valve chuck. My advice :remove the chuck and throw it away! Then replace it with an air compressor spring chuck/adapter (adds @ $6 to the cost) . The Mini and Air Rev added air to auto tire fairly effortlessly.Using leg muscles is much easier than back and shoulders. Balancing like a Flamingo is awkward but not too tough.
As hobbit referred to ,there is not alot of volume through a small pump like this. It took me 10-12 pumps to add 2.5-3 psi to the 65 psi already there (which is better than the 1.5 psi from 'old cheapy') . I like them !

lamebums
05-12-2008, 12:56 AM
Am I the only guy out there who bought an industrial-sized compressor that runs off electric current from the house and can run up to 200psi? :o

warthog1984
05-12-2008, 01:25 AM
I don't mind exercise, I think i could consider it part of my strength training. But perhaps the hand type pump would work providing you could step on them. I used the hand pump for water rockets and never got them to work as I couldn't stablize them.

If I could find a cheap compressor that might be better and would probably do the exercise ball in about 10 seconds. One question though, with a compressor how to do you get the air?
Do you buy it?

1) You can buy long-stroke bike hand pumps with foot rests for ~$25-$50.

2) You do not buy air for a compressor. Essentially it is a mini-engine with an externally powered crankshaft that sheds its energy by exhausting the compressed air at the top of stroke, where an ICE would have the spark plugs ignite, instead of driving a crankshaft like an ICE.

Right Lane Cruiser
05-12-2008, 08:15 AM
Am I the only guy out there who bought an industrial-sized compressor that runs off electric current from the house and can run up to 200psi? :o

Nope -- though mine has a car battery inside so it is portable. ;)

mtbiker278
05-12-2008, 01:22 PM
during the warmer of the three seasons I usually have a bike strapped to my car for the after work ride. Bike pumps work well for topping off your pressure, but if you have to fill a tire from 30psi up to 45psi it'll take you a good amount of effort.

koreberg
05-12-2008, 01:51 PM
When I was about 12 I helped my dad pump up a flat tire on our full size van, with a hand pump. I remember it taking a long time.

Now I use a 12 volt pump with a built in gauge and double check it with a digital gauge. It hasn't caused me any problems starting the car yet, so i'll probably keep on doing it that way.

WriConsult
05-12-2008, 03:14 PM
Did this several times about 3 years ago when I got a slow leak out in the Oregon desert. It takes a long time to pump a 205/65R15 up from 15psi with my Silca T-handle pump -- easily 15-20 minutes of steady pumping just to reach 32psi. The Silca is designed for road bikes and has a fairly narrow barrel -- a floor pump with a wider barrel will be marginally faster.

Little portable compressors are no quicker but a LOT less exhausting, although as basjoos mentioned they tend to break. But bike pumps will have that tendency too -- beware that if you're using a cheap pump, a single fill of a car tire is going to put it through more cycles than its design lifespan.

Right Lane Cruiser
05-12-2008, 03:53 PM
I used my bicycle pump for many many tire fills. I even pumped up my wife's Escape tires with it -- talk about a long time! :eek:

The thing that did it in was pulling the handle up too far. That damaged the seal in some fashion so that it would often flip over and just allow air to leak out. :( I bought another and promptly did the same to it. :( :( Then I bought a foot activated short cylinder which self destructed. :( :( :(

I tried a small cigarette lighter powered pump I'd bought at the same time as the second bicycle pump but that died half way through the second tire. :p

Now I have a heavy duty jumpstart/floodlight/portable power-supply/air compressor with a sealed lead acid battery in it from Pep-Boys and haven't had an issue yet. The built in gauge is way off but I have an in-line gauge I bought a while ago (same as what Tarabell got) and the combination has been wonderful! :D

rweatherford
05-12-2008, 10:58 PM
You guys need to find a truck stop or other station that actually has an air compressor hose for public use at all times. It takes me about 15 seconds a tire to fill from 30-50 PSI.

2003protege
05-13-2008, 11:28 AM
YES, free air FTW!!!

I however am a bike pump enthusiast...

1. little crappy walmart compressors lose steam when they get around car tire pressures, and they break.

2. Any human could out-power a little crappy walmart compressor easily

3. I'm cheap :o

WriConsult
05-13-2008, 12:37 PM
You guys need to find a truck stop or other station that actually has an air compressor hose for public use at all times. It takes me about 15 seconds a tire to fill from 30-50 PSI.If the choice is between pumping up in your driveway or at the gas station, sure. I'll choose the gas station. Most will turn on the (otherwise 75 cent) air pumps for free if you simply go in and ask, and most truck stops have free air pumps over on the truck side.

But that isn't an option if you need to add air while stopped by the side of the road. In the case I cited above I was about 50 miles of pavement from the nearest gas station the first time I pumped up, and 30-40 miles of gravel from the nearest station the second time.

ascribe2thelord
05-14-2008, 01:10 PM
I got one of these fancy foot pump things (looks like it has a compressor but does not). Actually got it for an exercise ball. But I wondered. I always have someone put air in my tires for not wanting to squat down (I have sciatica-- though i have had little problem with it lately).
They do not like to pump it past the max sidewall (or even there). But I have been assured I could pump it up a little more.

Anyway, this thing has a psi to 100 gauge on it. I think it is for bike tires. But I wondered if it could be used for adding a few lbs. to a car tire (just to top it off, so to speak). Just add a couple more lbs.?

Is it doable. It is easy to pump the ball with this, but I have no experience pumping a tire.


--des

Yes. You can do it. I've done all 4 tires on my car before. It's good exercise but be careful about the air pump. But I think it will probably mess with your sciatica (?) much more than the air pump at the gas station will.



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