Can You Pump Up A Car Tire With A Bike Pump?

Last Updated:

Have you ever wondered that the bike pump that you have could pump your car tire? If you do, I must admit I also wonder about that sometimes, especially when my car tire got a little deflated.

Well, you know what? yes, you can pump a car tire with a bike pump.

But how would that work? Here’s how:

Know The Pressure Your Tire Needs

Now let’s get started.

Okay, don’t take out your pump yet and definitely don’t attach the valve yet, there are a few things we need to do before that.

First thing you need to do is to find out how much tire pressure the tire needs. 

You can start by finding the amount of pressure required for the tire. You can find this information from the tire itself. If your tire is still not worn out, you can usually see it on the side of the tire itself.

Typically, you’ll find it along with the tire size and some other stuff. The one you need is the one with PSI (Pounds per square inch), the unit used for measuring pressure.

There are also places you can look for the information, like the inside of your door. It’s usually printed there so have a look at it. Other than that, you can also look it up in your car’s manual or check it online, provided with the type of the tire and its brand.

Be sure to get it right for the front and rear tires since some vehicles might have different requirements for the rear ones.

You need to know this to fill your tire properly.

Type of Pump You Need to Use

Let’s get to the thing that has been stuck inside your mind that you landed here. 

To be frank with you, if you plan to use the compact, small, pocket-size hand pump, you’d better shed that thought now because it won’t work well. Use a proper floor pump to get it well. It would be better if you have the high-pressure one.

Other than that, you also need to look at the ‌valve of the pump ‌you have. Typically, bike pumps have two types of valves available: the Schrader valve and the Presta valve.

To differentiate them, you need to look at the receiving end of the pump, right at the opening. If there is a pin in the middle of the opening, that’s your guy, the Schrader one.

You need that pin to press against the pin inside your tire valve to release the pressure. So if you have the one with a Presta valve, it won’t work since the pin is absent in the opening. 

Check Your Car Tire Pressure

Now that you already know the required amount of pressure you should target and the pump you need, time to check how much it is you will need to fill.

To do this, you will need a pressure gauge to get the reading on how much pressure is in your tire now.

Just stick the valve of the gauge to the end on your tire like how you attach the pump valve and let it show you how much the pressure is.

You can also use the gauge on your bike pump if it’s equipped with one. But you need to take note that the gauge could not be as accurate since it wears out from excessive use.

If you don’t have any gauge you can use, you can try to press the tire with your hand or give it a whack to see how hard it is. But this won’t give you any reading, so you can only guess and bet.

Prepare Your Car

Let’s prepare your car first before you start pumping the tire. Be sure that it’s parked properly, and it’s ready for pumping.

Park Your Car on A Flat Surface

First thing you need to do is to park your car on a flat and clean surface. This will help you ‌get a better position for your pump when you are at work.

To make your work easier, I would recommend you to use a car jack to lift the vehicle on the side of the tire you want to pump.

When you are pumping the car tire, you will not only push against the pressure inside the tire but also the pressure coming from the weight of the vehicle itself.

So, when you lift your car with the car jack, you will lift the pressure of the car weight.

That’s why you need a clean and flat surface.

Remove The Caps of The Valve

After you got your car park nicely on a flat surface, remove the caps of the valve in case you haven’t removed it.

These caps are typically screw-on, so unscrew them and put them inside a container so ‌you won’t lose them. They are small and easy to lose‌. 

Time to Inflate The Tire

All the preparations are done, now time to inflate the tire for real. Now, get that bike pump out and get it ready for action.

Attach The Pump to The Tire Valve

If you are used to pumping your bike, you may not need any explanation for this step. But for the sake of clarity of the overall process, I will still describe this step.

You need to position its valve end over the valve of the tire you are going to pump. Be sure that your hose is unlocked. Press the valve against each other so you can hear the sound of the air pressure like “psshh”.

When you feel like the valve is in deep enough and the sound is now fading, lock the hose.

Pump Up The Tire

Now get up and reach the handle of your bike pump and hold it with both of your feet or just one of them, whichever you find yourself most comfortable in.

Raise and lower the pump bar steadily to fill up your tire with the air. If your bike pump is equipped with the pressure gauge, check it as you pump to make sure that you got the right pressure.

Check for Any Leaks

As you pump your tire, there are possibilities that leaks may happen because you are pressing the pin on the valve which allows the air to come in and out.

You need to take notes on this. Watch the leak rate of your tire. If it’s a slow leak, you are in luck and will have a pretty much easy time pumping. But if it’s a fast leak, you will need to pump it like your life depends on it. 

Check The Tire Pressure and Finish Up

After you pumped the tire, quickly unlock the hose and release the valve from your tire so you won’t lose much pressure.

Do check the pressure again with your pressure gauge. Make some adjustments if needed, like letting some air out if it’s over the recommended PSI or pump some more to add the pressure.

Make sure ‌you got the right pressure on each tire that you pump. This is important to make your ride safer and for the tires to keep their integrity.

When you finished checking all the pressure of the tires, put on the caps to the valves again to seal them. And if you used the car jack to elevate the car, don’t forget to lower it.

Clean up the space and store all the tools you used to their places.

Totally Possible, isn’t It?

After reading this article, you should’ve known that it’s totally possible to use your bike pump to inflate a car tire.

Even so, you need to realize that it would take more time and energy to get the same amount of pressure from a powered pump. 

That aside, it’s always fun to try, right?

Photo of author
Hello, my names Perry and I've been a freelance writer for the past 5 years and a cycling enthusiastic since I can remember. I love the road, but my main passion is mountain biking.

Leave a Comment