If you have ever experienced getting a flat tire and realised that you don’t have a bike pump, you will know that sinking feeling of the long walk home you are about to experience. It’s like a walk of shame and you imagine everyone is thinking “aren’t you supposed to ride a bike?”. I’ve had this before, carrying my puncture repair kit, but no pump.
I have been tempted to head to the nearest gas station and use their pumps, but I didn’t know whether this was safe or not. After some research, I now know and in this guide, I will answer the question, can you inflate a bike tire with a car pump.
For those looking for the short answer:
Yes, it is possible to inflate your bike tire with a car pump, but you need to make sure that you are very careful when you do. Car pumps produce a lot more air, which will inflate your bike tire very quickly and could easily overinflate your tire. You also need to check that the pump has the right valve adapters, with cars typically using Schrader valves.
Want to know more? Then read on…
Can You Inflate a Bike Tire with A Car Pump?
Inflating a bike tire with a car pump may seem like a good idea, but it can be dangerous. A car pump has a higher air volume output than a bike pump and can create pressure that is much higher than the pressure in a bike tire. If you inflate a bicycle tire with the wrong type of air compressor, you risk bulging the sidewall and breaking the bead or valve stem. This could cause serious injury to your hands or feet if the tire bursts. The safest way to inflate a bicycle tire is by using an inflator designed for bicycles.
Can I Use an Air Compressor to Inflate Bike Tires?
Bicycle tires are typically inflated to around 120-130 PSI, while car tires are typically inflated to about 25 PSI. Nonetheless, it is possible to use an air compressor to inflate the bike tire. The air compressor will be able to inflate the tire quickly because of the higher PSI it operates at. However, this doesn’t mean that you should use it all the time.
There are air compressors that are designed for bikes and you may be able to find one that you can use in your local area. Typically with these types of pumps, you can set the air pressure you would like to achieve and then simply attach it to your tire valve.
Can I Use a Gas Station Air Pump on A Bike Tire?
If you’re looking for a solution to fix your flat bicycle tire, you may be tempted to use the air pumps located at your local gas station. While the air pumps are designed to inflate car tires, you can also use them on bike tires. The only difference is that the air pumps found at gas stations tend to produce more pressure than necessary and can cause damage to bike tires.
How Much Pressure Can a Bicycle Pump Produce?
Bike/bicycle pumps can produce between 90 to 200 PSI, depending on what kind of pump you are using. Smaller hand pumps tend to be on the lower end, while floor pumps produce the highest PSI.
How to Put Air in Bike Tires without A Pump
The simplest way to put air into your tire without a traditional pump is to use a CO2 canister. This works by using compressed CO2, along with an adapter, to blow air into your tire. You don’t have the same level of control as you have with a hand or floor pump, but it will certainly do the job.
Some people recommend other methods, such as blowing directly into the valve with your mouth, however, this is not a good idea as this will not only take a long time but will also probably make you ill.
So there you go, you can use a car pump to inflate your bike tires, as long as it is a manual pump and not a compressed air pump as the output will be too high for your bike tire and could explode your innertube. In reality, you should buy a dedicated bike pump in order to inflate your tires.