What is a Tire Inflator?

Portable tire inflators are the crucial handy tools that help drivers fill the air in the car tires anywhere they want. While on the road and far from the city, the portable tire inflators can serve as your great companion. The best portable tire inflator is not always an easy thing. This article will shed light on the working and benefits of portable car tire inflators.

What is a Tire Inflator?

A portable car tire inflator is similar to a compact air compressor that operates on 12V DC power. You can connect them to the battery outlet of your car, or you can connect some of them to the cigarette lighter port as well. Moreover, the mobile car tire inflators are smaller in size. Thus, you can take them away anywhere on the journey.

Primarily, the car tire inflators are used to adjust the air pressure in the tires during travel. Besides maintaining the pressure, some car tire inflators have enough power to inflate a completely flat tire. Some car tire inflators are automatic so the drivers can fill the air as per the presetting.

When Would You Use A Tire Inflator?

We mostly require a tire inflator when our car tire completely loses its filled air. Afterward, the tire can be repaired or replaced. If the tire is not punctured, it can still hold some air restored completely using a car tire inflator.

On average, a car tire can lose 1PSI of air. The downward trend of air in the tire will negatively impact the tire’s life, and the fuel efficiency will suffer; thus, air filling every month is recommended.

How does A Portable Tire Inflator Works?

The car tire inflators and the old-day air pumps are not the same. A portable car tire inflator looks like a miniature air compressor. To understand the working of a portable tire inflator below is the breakdown of its parts.

Power Source

One of the prime components of a car tire inflator is the power source. It can be wireless or wired, as the common car tire inflators can also be connected via AC mains in the wall. On the other hand, the DV-powered inflators can use power from the car via the cigarette lighter or the battery, i.e., DV 12V.  

Both AC and DC-operated car tire inflators are popularly used, having positive and negative aspects, but many drivers prefer the DC-operated car tire inflators due to the portability factor.


The switch is the starter of the inflator; it gives a signal to the motor to start its operation. The control can be in any shape, like a dial, slider, toggle, trigger, or button. Moreover, the switch serves as the device controller through which you turn it on or off.

Electric Motor

The Electric Motor present inside the car tire inflator is its power hub. The motor shaft transfers the electric energy to the pistons via gears. These pistons compress the air and store them in the cylinder to make pressurized air output.

In some models of car tire inflators, the motor’s shaft is connected to the fans that spin and rotate to cool down the whole unit.


Mostly the two gears can be seen in a car tire inflator. One is attached to the piston, while the other is attached to the motor. The movement of the engine turns its gear which in turn rotates the piston’s gear as both are connected. However, in some variants of inflators,’ a third gear may also be present that rotates the fan for cooling.

Piston and Cylinder

Pressurized air coming out of the inflator is due to the combined action of the piston and cylinder. Both of these components are derived by the motor.

At first, the gear is turned to bring down the piston to get air intake. When the piston goes up, the pressurized air is released through a tube that connects with the car tire. This process is repeated at high speeds to achieve maximum pressure.

Furthermore, the diameter of the cylinder depends upon the consequent amount of airflow through it, and also, the time of air filling is dependent on the diameter of the cylinder.


The joint action with the valves supports the working of the piston. The valves help retain the air inside the cylinder and release only when needed.

Pressure Sensor

The pressure sensor is also a very important part of the air tire inflator. The pressure sensor is connected with a pressure gauge, whether analog or digital. The sensor tells us the amount of air being refilled in the car tire. The pressure sensor also provides a mechanism for automatic air refilling in some inflators.


The connector is the tube that joins the inflator with the car tire. The connector is mostly made of rubber material, and sometimes it is wrapped with a piece of fabric. Nowadays, different connectors are available, which allow many other uses.  

How to Use the Car Tire Inflator?

Before starting the operation of a car tire inflator, you must know the PSI requirement for your car tires. This information can be found written on the tires of cars or the car manuals. However, the PSI written on the car tires is usually the highest limit.

Filling the air in cold tires will result in better PSI reading than hot ones. Moreover, if the pressure is not automatically cut off, keep an eye on the pressure gauge to fill exactly the required amount of PSI in the car tires.

  1. Firstly, after setting up everything, connect the air pipe to the tire’s air valve.
  2. Switch on the car tire inflator; it will take time to reach the desired pressure. You will notice quick tire inflation if the tire has lost maximum PSI or is completely flat. However, if you regularly fill, there will not be a significant change in the car tire.
  3. Sometimes, the car tire does not inflate even after a long time. You can better check for punctures in the tires by seeking professional assistance.
  4. Once you have filled the air, detach the car tire inflator and place the valve caps on the car tire’s air valve system.


Car tire inflators are useful handy tools that resemble the air compressor in miniature form. These devices help air fill in the cars’ and other vehicles’ tires remotely. Many advantages are linked with the use of car tire inflators. For Instance, these machines save our time, and also they are easy and simple to use.

Depending upon the choice of driver, different powered car inflators are available, like the one with AC that connects with mains and the DV 12V that gets power from within the car setup. However, the most popular one is the DC.

Furthermore, before using the car tire inflator, it is recommended to know how much PSI is needed for your car tires. Similarly, filling the tires when cold gives a better PSI reading than the hot ones.


Hi,I am May, I have been in this car accessories industry in 5 years and I will share you the most valuable information.The purpose of this article is to share with your knowledges related from a Chinese Supplier's Perspective.


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