Free Air

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Yet another way to inflate your tires for free is to find a convenience store with a pump that you can activate with a rewards card. A good example is Rutters. To get your rewards card, go to the counter in the store and ask for a Rutters Rewards Card. It's completely free. You don't have to accumulate points or credits before you can get free air.

For the most accurate tire pressure, find a free air pressure pump with a digital display. It's accurate to within 0. Set your desired pressure on the digital display. The pump will automatically stop at that pressure. Remember when you could pull up to an air pressure pump that had a brass pressure gauge built into the end of the hose? Once you pressed the gauge onto your tire valve, a small ruler popped out of the gauge so you could visually read the pressure.

If the pressure was low, you activated the pump by pressing a button on the gauge. If the pressure was too high, you let air out of your tires by pressing the valve stem.

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There are a few of these older air pumps out there in some communities near me. Most have converted to pumps with digital displays offering free air as illustrated in the photos above, or "fee air," for which you pay 50 cents, a dollar, a dollar and a half, or perhaps more. Remember, though, that these older pumps don't have the newer digital display with the most accurate tire pressure. How do I find places offering free air?

One way is to use your smartphone. Go to the website www. Enter your address or zip code. Up pops a map showing places around you where you can get air for free. Click on any gas pump logo ton the map to reveal the name of the store and its location. The example below shows a map for the Pittsburgh area. Places shown are user-provided, so the map is only as accurate as the user-supplied data.

You can submit your own additional places for inclusion in the data. Depending on where you are located and whether there are user-supplied free air places nearby, you may have to drive several miles to find free air. Now you have to make a decisioon: "Do I drive several miles for free air and burn gas riding around, or do I pull up to the nearest fee-for-air pump? For many operators, it's a simple matter of money.

Free Air Audits

Air for your tires is another product or service they can offer for a fee. Another reason is the ease and convenience of installing and maintaining an air pressure pump. Manufacturers of these pumps will install and maintain them at their expense while retaining a portion of the fee charged for use of the pump. So, many store operators see an advantage to offering free air -- the goodwill of their customers and the likelihood that these customers with patronize their store and buy other products. Newer cars have an automatic tire pressure sensor in each tire. The valve where you inflate your tire is attached to a sensor inside the tire chamber.

You get the warning light even if just one of your tire pressure sensors is activated. The warning light tells you that at least one of your tires has "low," but it doesn't tell you which tire that is. So you should check the pressure in all your tires. If you're like me, you don't like to pay for air to inflate your tires. That's what this article is all about. But first, we need to understand what tire pressure is best for the performance of your tires and fuel economy of your car. Newer cars have tire pressure sensors located in each tire.

How to Get Free Air for your Tires

You get a warning on your dash when the pressure in one or more of your tires is "low. Or you can get a fancy back-lit handheld electronic gauge.

For the best gas mileage, the longest tire wear, and the best overall performance for your car use the manufacturer's recommended tire pressure, It's given in your owner's manual and on a sticker on the door column. Keep in mind, however, this recommended pressure is for "cold" conditions: that is, before you start driving in the morning. As the outside temperature increases during the day, and as your flexible tires roll along the road surface creating friction, the temperature inside the tire chamber increases and causes the air pressure to increase.

Afternoon tire pressure, after you have been driving a lot, can be as much as 6 pounds more than the "cold" pressure in the morning before driving.

I. What is FACE?

What this means is that if you are checking your tire pressure in the afternoon and it's several pounds higher than manufacturer's recommendation, and you deflate the pressure to that number, you'll be under-inflating your tire. We must take this into account when we check the pressure. Make sure you compensate for temperature conditions outside and inside your tire when you set the tire pressure. Free air is always available to you when you carry this volt tire inflator in your trunk.

This model features a digital display and cuts off when the tire pressure you set is reached. You can also use it to inflate bicycle tires, air mattresses, balls, and other toys. I keep the above Ryobi inflator in my trunk at all times. It's always convenient to check my air and inflate to the best pressure. A great feature of this tool is that it is powerful and the required battery can be used with other great Ryobi power tools.

You do need a Ryobi volt rechargeable lithium battery and a matching recharger. Most folks do not remember to check the air pressure in their spare tire when they check the four mounted tires. I know from personal experience. A family member had a flat tire recently and when a good Samaritan stopped to help, they found that her spare tire was also flat. A lot of grief would have been saved if the spare tire had been checked and was ready to go.

Another thing.

The compression ratio is the ratio pressure of compressed air to pressure of free air

Do you have a friend that owns an air compressor? Your friend can finally repay that favor he owes you by letting you put air in your tires. After all, what are friends for? Since your friend has most likely had a flat tire before, they probably already have a car tire chuck.

You most likely have somebody else change your oil for you. Most oil change shops let you come back for free fluid top-offs and check your tire pressure at the same time. After all, these free services help you keep coming back in the future. If your oil change facility charges extra to get fluid and air top-offs between changes, you should probably skip the add-on and either find another place to get your oil changed or find a free place to get free air. The tire shop that installed your tires should offer free air too.

Discount Tire is a national brand that offers free air tire pressure checks whether or not you purchased your tires from there. Visiting a tire shop offers the other added benefit of tire inspection to look for the source of the leak. If you ride bikes, you might already have a free air pump in your garage. It will show the recommended pressure readings for the front and rear tires. Most vehicles have the same recommendation for both sets, but it might be different if you have a special air-ride suspension. You should try to keep your tires as close to the recommended pressure as possible so your tire tread wears evenly.

Underinflation causes the edges of your tires to wear thin first and overinflation causes the middle tread pattern to wear prematurely.

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  • Map of places that provide free air for tires!

As a good reminder, you should put air in your tires every oil change. Since your mechanic already has the tools in the repair bay, you should have him check your tire pressure for your other routine maintenance too; it only takes a few extra minutes. Most tires usually lose one pound PSI of air pressure a month so as long as you drive your car on a regular basis, getting your tire pressure checked at each oil change is usually sufficient.