Few months ago, my tire got punctured by a nail. I used a tire plug to repair my tire. Then i used the mopar tire inflator (air only) that came with my suv. The inflator looks exactly like in this video. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UkicKUtPShc

It never went above 30 psi. I noticed that around a few minutes, the inflator started heating up so i stopped.

I just drove to the gas station and pumped it to the needed tire pressure(39 psi).

  1. Is the inflator i have is not that good?
  2. Should i buy another inflator? Had seen some in Amazon.
  3. Am i doing something wrong?
  4. Will it help if i use a hydraulic jack to lift up the car and use my inflator?
  5. I had seen some videos where they discourage the use of manual bicycle pump. With my current inflator that can produce only up to 30psi, will i be able to gain some advantage using a bicycle pump (even just a small psi increase)?
  • You are using a “cheap & cheerful” pump - it did enough to get you home...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 17:09
  • I had an [92 Pontiac with built in air pump , I don't know how high it went ,but at least 50 psi. I now have a little Micheline air pump ( about $100 US) , I have used it to at least 60 psi for bicycles . So there are small inexpensive pumps if you need them. Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 23:59

2 Answers 2


The problem with these portable compressors is that they are very limited in the amount of power they can pull from the vehicle. The volume of compressed air they can deliver falls off as the pressure goes up. So you reach a point where very little new air is being added and the compressor, as you have noted, just ends up getting hotter. That, of course, reduces the efficiency even more and you end up doing a lot of nothing.

You did the right thing, 30 psi is enough to get you to a real tire inflator.

  • Thanks for the reply. Do you think it will help if i lift up the car using a hydraulic jack, then use the inflator? Or how about using a manual bicycle tire pump? Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 16:28
  • Lifting the vehicle or not lifting the vehicle will not change the behavior of the pump. The pump pressure gauge reads the difference between the outside air pressure and the "inside" air pressure.
    – fred_dot_u
    Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 16:49

Answer to number four:

Lifting the vehicle or not lifting the vehicle will not change the behavior of the pump. The pump pressure gauge reads the difference between the outside air pressure and the "inside" air pressure. If you observe a tire while being inflated without problems from the compressor, you'll see that the footprint of the tire, the portion of rubber in contact with the ground, will decrease as the tire pressure increases.

If a tire is loaded to exactly five hundred pounds including the weight of the tire and wheel and filled with air to fifty pounds per square inch, the rubber in contact with the ground will have an area of one hundred square inches. Allowances must be made for inaccuracies in the measuring devices and for sidewall stiffness of the rubber and other factors, I'm sure, but the ballpark figures are good enough.

There are Department of Transportation inspectors who use nearly flat "scales" which are really high resolution pressure sensitive panels. The driver is instructed to place a tire on the panel, the area of the panel is measured and the weight is determined without moving parts.

If you lift your vehicle to inflate the tire, it means there is no footprint of rubber on the ground, but no other considerations are involved.

Answer to number five:

The volume you can produce with a bicycle floor pump is miniscule compared to that required to fill a vehicle tire. Many moons ago I received a floor pump for a gift, along with a five gallon air pressure storage tank. My friend and I thought it would be fun to pressurize the tank using the floor pump.

The friction of continuous operation of the floor pump softened the plastic chamber of the pump. On one of the fill strokes of the pump, the lowered internal pressure pulled the softened plastic into the cylinder, making an hourglass shape. Very short lived gift.

You would wear yourself out, or wear the pump to the point of uselessness attempting to fill a vehicle tire of such volume. I've done it. (wear myself out!)

Our vehicles were not sold with spare tires. They both have inflator pumps and a can of fix-a-flat. Knowing that we could be faced with the same circumstances you experienced, I purchased a large quantity of CO2 cartridges and a schrader valve inflator to fit. It's likely I would use a few dozen of the cartridges if I had to attempt an inflation, but it beats the alternatives.

  • Concur on the volume thing. 10 minutes work with a bicycle track pump raised the pressure on a 31" tyre by 1 PSI.
    – Criggie
    Commented Oct 4, 2022 at 21:56

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