Can You Use A Bike Pump For Car Tires?

Bike owners have all the tools you can imagine and only one way to use them. It is common to wonder whether you can pump up a car tire using your bike pump.

To determine if this is possible or effective, we need to understand how each type of bike pump works. As soon as we understand the bike pump, we can see if we can use one to inflate a car tire. 

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

If you want to know if you can inflate a car tire with a bike pump, it’s not an easy question to answer.

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Generally, and with most bike pumps, you can use a bike pump to pump up a car tire.

However, that generalization is far too broad for most readers.

Standard bike pumps can inflate car tires, but that doesn’t mean you should use your bike pump whenever your car’s tires are low.

There are a wide variety of reasons why inflating your car tire with a bike pump requires more understanding of your situation. We will look into these in more detail.

Types Of Bike Pumps

Portable

It’s common for bicyclists to have these small pumps as they can attach to a bag or even to their bike frames. You can use these little pumps for top-ups or pressure adjustments when you’re on the go. Portable bike pumps are the best for convenience.

Because these units measure around 8 inches, you won’t be able to use them for inflating your car tires. The meters are not accurate enough to measure the pressure in a car tire, and it would take hundreds or thousands of pumps to inflate a tire.

These bike pumps will not work on a car tire.

Full-Sized Manual

With fully sized pumps, the line between a pump that can only be used with bike tires and one that can be used with car tires becomes blurry. Pumps like these can be found at every bike store and are meant to be kept in the garage.

These pumps are ideal for inflating new bicycle tires due to their size and range of motion.

In terms of using these pumps on your car tires, it is possible. The standard manual pump may allow you to raise the tire pressure a little bit more than the tiny portable pump. Granted, it will still take you over 100 pumps to put a noticeable amount of pressure into your car tires. 

Electric

The final style of bike pump on the market is the electric bike pump. Whilst the majority of these pumps are not marketed specifically towards bikers, most of them will be found in the garage’s of active cyclists.

These pumps are very effective when you need a tire to be filled up fast and if you don’t want to waste time or energy getting the tire filled up.

The majority of all electric pumps will be great at filling up a car tire. Most people, in fact, buy an electric pump to use primarily for their car and then find it is also great for filling up bike tires. Electric pumps have the power and air speed to get your car tire filled up as fast as you need it to.

How To Inflate Car Tire With Bike Pump?

Here are some steps on how to pump a car tire with a bicycle pump successfully.

Find Out The PSI Rating Of Your Tires

If you are attempting to inflate your car tire with a floor bike pump, it is important to know the tire’s PSI rating. Understanding the correct PSI rating means that you will not fill the tire with excess or insufficient air.

To locate the tire’s PSI rating, you can check the car’s door for a printed value, the vehicle’s manual, and the body of the tire. The rating will usually be found in any of these three places.

This information will guide you to understand if you should be even using a bike pump for a car tire or if you should just seek an alternative solution.

Check tire Pressure

The next step after finding the PSI is to check the tire’s current air pressure. To do this, you will need to use a pressure gauge. If you don’t have one in your vehicle, you should purchase one as soon as possible. 

Checking the tire’s current air pressure is important and should not be skipped. Prior to checking the pressure value, ensure that the tire’s valve is clean.

Get The Pump

Upon completing these first two steps, you will need to prepare the pump. 

Your bike pump car tires usually have a Presta and Schrader valve. The former would not be able to pump into the car’s tire. However, the latter valve can be used on a car’s tire.

The Schrader valve features a tiny metal pin and screw-on cap threading that makes it possible to pump up a car tire with a bike pump.

Start Pumping The Tire

Now that the bicycle pump has been prepared, you can now proceed to fill the car tire with air. To achieve this, you must connect the pump’s schrader valve to the tire’s air valve. 

Once this connection has been established, begin the manual mechanical process of engaging the pump bar. As air begins to gradually fill the tire, ensure you are keeping track of the building air pressure within the tire. This way, you will not pump excessive air into it.

Pumping a car tire with a portable bike pump isn’t as fast as using a typical car pump. It will take an extended amount of time and will feel like an intense workout!

How Long Would It Take To Inflate A Car With A Bike Pump?

Although this question should never try to be answered for the sake of energy or sanity, there are ways to calculate how long it would take to fill up a car tire with a bike pump. As an example, let’s assume we are using the standard manual pump for this experiment as most bikers use these pumps.

If you are using a bicycle pump to inflate a car tire so that it is drivable, it would take an estimated 100-350 pumps and an intense rate to pump up a single car tire, depending on the type. If you don’t mind an intense workout, then go ahead and start pumping.

Ensure You’re Being Careful

If you are using a bike pump to fill up your car’s tires, you need to make sure that you have the right adapter. Although most bike and car times use the same standard plug, some bike tires do have a unique plug design that will not allow you to use the pump on a car tire.

Final Thoughts

So, can you use a bike pump to fill up a car tire? The answer is yes. Bicycle pumps can be used as a great alternative in certain situations. 

Despite this, bicycle pumps aren’t ideally made for tires. Therefore, you shouldn’t opt for a bicycle pump if you can easily head to a gas station to properly pump your deflated car tire.

Additionally, remember to follow the key steps including the recommended PSI to ensure that you are filling your tires with the correct amount of air pressure.