It’s quite a common question many people have in mind regarding the size of an air compressor needed to fill tires? A simple answer to the size question is that passenger car tires usually have a recommended air pressure of 32 to 35 PSI. It actually depends on the car-make and generally, almost all air compressors can put out that much pressure easily.
It’s good to get familiar with the air-powered tools, as there are hundreds of shapes, sizes, and makes of air compressors that vary over their use. There are some things that you need to consider while determining the size of the air compressor required to fill the car tires. Capacity is a major aspect to look for as the bigger the tank is the more tools you can easily run off your air compressor unit.
PSI is the most crucial thing of your air tools, In order to set the air pressure, it is important to check pounds per square inch or the PSI rating of your compressor. Furthermore, your air compressor should also have a good flow rate as well to check cubic feet per minute or CFM rating.
How to select the appropriate size air compressor to fill car tires
It’s not much of a difficult job to determine the right size air compressor that is suitable for car tires. You just need to consider some key criteria that indicate whether an air compressor is good enough to fill your tires and most importantly how efficiently it will do so.
CFM (cubic feet per minute )
Compressor’s CFM rating plays an integral role in determining the right size required to fill the car tires. In simple words, CFM or cubic feet per minute is a measurement of the rate of flow the compressor is capable of providing. This helps to identify how quickly and efficiently you can fill your tire. It’s is better to note that CFM should always be measured in the context of air pressure. Usually measured as x CFM @ x PSI.
Why it is important? Well, because you certainly don’t want to go any lower than 1 CFM at the necessary tire pressure unless you don’t have any issue spending a lot of time filling your tires. So, let’s assume your compressor provides 1 CFM @ 50 PSI but only 0.6 CFM @ 100 PSI. While inflating a small car tire to 36 PSI you would have no problem, but filling a big truck tire to 100 PSI could surely take a much longer time.
Size of the air compressor tank
It is recommended to look for tank size when selecting an air compressor to fill car tires, it will obviously make a difference in determining how long it takes to fill your tires. Plus, it will also evaluate how long your compressor pump will have to run. In case you just need to top off a tire by simply adding a few pounds of pressure, a 1-gallon tank is more than enough to get the job done.
The case would be different if you’re filling a tire from empty, it would take several cycles to fill the tire completely. The rule is simple here, the larger the tire, the more time it would require. This indicates that you will probably have to wait while the tank recovers (refills).
Generally, the larger the tank, the less waiting time. It is recommended to have portable 3-gallon and 6-gallon compressors as they are considered appropraite for larger tires. Multiple small compressors are designed to provide a continuous supply of air in order to make sure that less time is needed to refill.
Maximum PSI rating
The Air compressor’s maximum PSI rating is surely the most important factor that indicates whether a compressor is capable enough to fill the car tires or not. It is the measurement of how much air pressure the compressor can give.
The thing to understand here is that if a tire needs more pressure than your compressor can facilitate, it would not be possible to fully inflate the tire. Let’s say your compressor has a maximum operating pressure of 70 PSI and you want to inflate a truck tire to 100 PSI. Simply, you would only be able to put 70 PSI of pressure in the tire.
It is recommended to use a compressor with a maximum operating pressure of at least 10 PSI higher than the actual tire pressure. This means that if your tire needs 100 PSI, you need to have a compressor capable of generating 110 PSI or slightly higher.
Secondly, while using a compressor, if storage tanks have two gauges, for regulated pressure and for tank pressure, make sure the regulator knob is maintained at least 10 PSI higher than the inflation pressure. This is to supply adequate pressure even if the tank pressure is maxed out.
Duty Cycle rating of an air compressor
The duty cycle rating of an air compressor shows the recommended amount of time the pump is supposed to be on during a given usage cycle. For instance, A 50% rating indicates that the compressor pump is not capable enough to run more than half the time you’re using the compressor. The rule is simple, the pump needs to spend 1 minute off for every 1 minute in order to avoid overheating.
In this case, a larger storage tank can provide ease as you will be able to draw on the stored air meanwhile letting the pump cool down. Well, Even small compressors that can be plugged into your car are also designed for continuous use, the only problem is that they can still get overly hot if used for longer periods.