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Do you need to inflate your vehicle’s tires but only have a bike pump on hand? It’s not ideal, but we can help you get through it with our tips for inflating a car’s tires using a bike pump below!

1. Use a Carjack

The first thing you should do, if you have the tools available, is lift your car and tire using a carjack. If you have one in your vehicle, now’s the time to use it, and if you don’t, it’s wise to keep one in the trunk in case of emergencies (like these). Using a jack is crucial because of the excess pressure the vehicle’s weight puts on the tire and the bike pump.

This weight isn’t a problem for standard car tire pumps, but a smaller bike pump not built to withstand that pressure can break entirely. If you have a jack, our number one tip would be to use it if you’re using a bike pump to inflate a car’s tires. You can still do it without a jack, but your chances of success are much higher with one.

2. Be Patient and Take Turns

If you must inflate a car tire with a bike pump, you should accept that it will not be fast or easy. Depending on how much pressure you need to inflate the tire and whether you have a slow or fast leak, it’ll take 15 minutes or longer to inflate the tire to a safe pressure.

The odds are that those 15 minutes of pumping will not be easy and you could get physically exhausted pumping for so long. If you’ve got other people with you, take shifts pumping so everyone can take a break and give it their all for a short time. It’ll take a while and be difficult, but if it’s your only option, you’ll have to grit your teeth and get through it.

3. Check the Pressure Frequently

You want to ensure that you’re inflating the tire to its recommended pressure, not overinflating or underinflating. Before you start, you should have a tire pressure gauge to check the tire’s pressure.

Also, before you start pumping, check the recommended tire pressure for your tire—which you can find in the owner’s manual or the driver’s side doorjamb. Every couple of minutes of pumping, check the tire with the pressure gauge to ensure you’re progressing and don’t overinflate or underinflate.

Pro Tip: Front and rear tires are often inflated to different pressures, so double-check that you’re inflating the tire to its specific recommended pressure.


Hopefully, you’ll never be in a situation where you need these tips, but if you do, we hope they help! As the premiere tire shop in Corpus Christi, we’ve got plenty of experience working with tires in all kinds of situations. If you ever need tire service or shop for new ones, don’t forget us at RNR Tire Express!

Locations: Corpus Christi, TX

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