Can You Hand Pump Car Tire?

Although pumping your car tire with a hand pump can be unnecessarily stressful and take a longer time, you definitely can hand pump your car tire to its desired PSI.

There are folks who would argue that this is impossible, they point out the fact that a tire carrying thousands of pounds can’t be inflated with a hand pump designed for inflating a bicycle of about 25 pounds. They say the volume of air that the hand pump will put out is too small for a tire.

But this does not in any way suggest impossibility. It takes a lot more work, I guess it is this triple effort that makes the idea such a difficult one to accept.

You could just drive down to the gas station and have your tires pumped hard in under a minute. With a hand pump however where you work manually, it takes at least 5 minutes to raise your one flat tire from that to a pressure of 30 PSI. A lot depends on you though.

If you aren’t in a rush to get out in your car, you can hand pump your tire leisurely, administering the strokes slowly in order not to tire your hands out too early.

I suggest you use a bicycle pump for beach bikes. Those ones are designed to 55 PSI and they deliver more volume with each stroke.

How long does it take to use a bike tire to pump a car tire?

Contrary to what you might think, it doesn’t take forever to get the car flat tire from that to full pressure. However, it is quicker if the tire is not completely flat.

With a flat tire, it will take a maximum of 10 minutes to pump a flat car tire with a bike pump.

Some have reported taking longer than 10 minutes. A neighbor once said it took him about 3 hours to pump his tire. He was 65 years old, so go figure.

A younger car owner would definitely accomplish the task in record tike if you are using one of those old-fashioned pumps with kickstands and an extended body. Well, the more you pump, the harder it becomes to complete every up and down stroke.

Why you shouldn’t pump your car tire with a hand pump

There are no known reasons why you shouldn’t use a hand pump to inflate your car tire.

Contrary to what many think, some car owners actually use hand pumps for the car tires, especially folks who live too far away from a gas station that provides pumping services.

However, we may mention a few reasons why some consider using hand pumps as not a great idea for pumping their car tire. They are:

  • The hassle of pumping
  • Time-consuming
  • The likelihood of damage to the pump

The hassle of pumping

Although some have found it easy to use hand pumps, others may consider the work too much for their arms. True, if you do not have the stamina or your hands and heart are not strong enough, you should not try to use a hand pump to inflate your tire.

If you do not have strong arms, hand pumping is not for you. Likewise, if you suffer from certain heart problems, it is advisable to take your car to a tire shop for refilling.


Another reason you don’t want to use a hand pump for your tire is because of the time it takes to pump. Tires have more volume than bike tires, consequently, they take triple the time to get the tire up to maximal pressure.

The likelihood of damage to the pump

It may end being up counterproductive for you to use a hand pump to inflate your tire. The reason is hand pumps tend to heat up during operation. So what happens if you have to pump all four tires on your car?

You either have to waste valuable time waiting for the pump to cool out at intervals or risk damaging the pump altogether.

What are the best ways to pump your car at home?

The best way to keep your tires inflated and within approved PSI at home is to have portable hand compressors at home. The benefits include not having to commute to the gas station every time you have to up on your air.

Also, think of the economic advantage of providing this service for yourself. You save more over time. There are numerous pumps on the market that are suitable for this purpose.

Most handy pumps in the market are multipurpose. They work for bikes, motorcycles, and car tires. They do not only serve you at home but also are compact enough to go on trips with.

They fit in well in the trunk and can be used anywhere.

Follow these tips to properly pump your tire at home assuming you are doing this in your garage:

  • Do not let the pump and the tire to be pumped be too far apart. Place the pump near the tire you need to pump, at least half a meter apart.
  • Find out what the recommended PSI for your tire is. If you don’t know what it is, check the driver’s door jamb or the gas tank door. If you can’t still find it there, check the owner’s manual.
  • Now take off the valve cap and keep it where it won’t be misplaced or missed. Keep kids off the area as you work.
  • Next, check the PSI on the tire currently. This gives you an idea of how many PSI you need to add. Use the inbuilt gauge on the pump if you don’t have one.
  • Attach the air gauge to ascertain the air pressure in the tire. Check the valve to make sure it is not leaking air around it. If it is leaking, it means it is not tight enough. Or move the hose in such a way that it is straight into the tire, not bent to either side.
  • Now begin to inflate the tire. Pump in short bursts. Check the pressure every 20 seconds to make sure you don’t overinflate.

With the right-hand pump, you can add air to your tires at home easily. And when you are on road trips you have no great concerns about your tires losing air if you have a good pump.

Below are a few great pumps you can buy at great and affordable prices.

H Helteko Air Compressor Tire Inflator DC 127

Can You Hand Pump Car Tire

This $31.99 inflator is one of the best in the market. It’s got an emergency LED light for the night or gloomy conditions, a long power cord, and auto-shutoff.

It’s an electric air pump ideal for car, bike, and motorcycle tires plus other inflatable things.

EP Auto 12 DC Portable Air Compressor Pump

Can You Hand Pump Car Tire

This $32 machine is a convenient pump that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket of your car. It inflates tires on cars, motorcycles, and bikes. It auto shuts off when it reaches the pressure limit of your tire.

Towertop tire inflator

Can You Hand Pump Car Tire

TowerTop Tire Inflator is one of the highly-rated pumps in the market. It can pump your 13-inch tire from flat to 35 PSI within 3.5 minutes.

This $49.99 portable pump is the bomb, a must-have for all car owners. It pumps all tires except heavy-duty trucks.

Astro AI Air Compressor Tire Inflator 12V DC

Can You Hand Pump Car Tire

This is a $28.99 portable pump that will inflate most car tires from flat to full pressure in 5 minutes.

It comes with an auto-shutoff and ultra-long power cord for improved safety, LED, LCD light and screen, and multifunctional nozzles.

TOPDC Air Compressor Tire Inflator

Can You Hand Pump Car Tire

Introducing the TOPDC Air Compressor Tire Inflator that costs a paltry $27.99 to get.

It is powerful, fast, and quiet with a maximum of 100 PSI. It spots premium quality materials to help it give you its money’s worth.

It’s got a bright LED light to help you work when it’s dark. It’s great for pumping SUVs, cars, motorcycles, and bikes tires.

Is it safe to inflate a flat tire at home?

Yes, it is safe to inflate a flat tire at home.

All you need is some creativity sometimes, and even with a flat tire, just a few set steps. If you have a flat tire, first determine the cause.

Is it a puncture? Is it simply a loss of air that is peculiar to tires? Then have a portable hand pump. Hand pumps can be purchased cheaply online and they are delivered to your home.

Follow the following safety tips when inflating your flat tire:

  • Keep the pump away from the tire, Hal a meter.
  • Keep valves where they can be seen.
  • Keep kids off your work area.
  • If you use jacks to raise the car before inflating, make sure you place blocks behind the tires on the floor.
  • Make sure your car is on axle stands. Do not leave the car lifted on jacks.
  • Keep tools clean and replaced in their places.

Safety precautions before inflating a car tire at home

Paying attention to safety pays. Before embarking on pumping your flat tire at home it is important to consider these safety precautions:

  • Check the tire with a barometer to ensure that the amount of air you are about to put is exactly what is needed.
  • Do you need to jack the car up before inflating? You may need to do this before inflating if you are using hand pumps meant for bikes.
  • Before inflating check the valve. Make sure it is free of dirt, debris, oil stains, or any other material that may clog it.
  • Be sure that the air you are about to out in your tire is clean and free of dirt and oil. Dirty air leads to deterioration and damage to your tire.
  • Before inflating, check to be sure that your tire holds air properly, that it is not leaking. Tires may leak from bent rims, bad valves, or punctures in the tread.
  • If for any reason you wish to remove your tire before inflating at home, make sure to loosen wheel nuts before lifting the car off the ground.
  • Wear loose clothing when using hand pumps as the exercise of pumping may cause you to sweat and become physically exhausted.
  • Be sure that when you are using a gauge to check the pressure in the tire, that you do it when it is cold. The tire or car must have been in a state of rest for some time allowing the tire to be cool. A hot tire does not show the correct pressure as heat makes air expand.
  • Lastly, your tire should be sitting on a flat, level surface before inflating.

What to do when your tire does not want to inflate?

If your tire is not inflating, do this:

Check if your tire is punctured or torn

Trying to put air in a punctured tire is like trying to fill a basket with water, fruitless.

Check if the valve of the tire is leaking

This is easier to spot than the first option which may require unmounting the tire. The valve may be leaking from the place where it connects with the rim, the rubberized part. Remove and clean the valve.

Check the seal between the tire and the rim

If the rim is bent, air may be leaking out heavily and your tire may not inflate. The rim may have suffered a hit when it hit the side of a pothole.

If the rim is bent, there isn’t a lot you can do manually and at home. Except you have the requisite tools to straighten out the rim, if not, you should take it for repair.

Tires are so important for something that looks inconsequential and rugged. But all tire users know how important to take safety precautions with their vehicles.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.