VanDweller Community Forums

Full Version: Keeping tires inflated.
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Pages: 1 2
So, a few weeks ago (3, 4?) I had a flat on my rear, and Firestone fixed it up for $20.  YAY Firestone! I was camping out front of a friends house when it happened and he happened to have one of those tiny 2gallon air compressors.  My tires need 80PSI.  His little compressor got it to 50, and then we just drove it the 1 mile to Firestone.

Anyways, One of the things they did (Firestone) was inflate all my other tires (apparently they were low)  and the van drove SOOOOO much better! there is a little shake in the steering wheel @ freeway speeds, but after the firestone people did the air thing, it pretty much completely went away!  I was sOOOOO happy!

So fast forward to today, I finally drive it again, and I notice the little wobble is back, so I look at the front driver side tire and sure enough it's a little low.  I thought oh, I'll just stop at a gas station and fill it (see I'm totally a handy girl!)  But they want .75 to $1.00 to run their little pump!

So my question really is, what do I do?!  I don't really want to pay .75 every month just to add some air to my tire.  I asked around to all my smart vehicle friends and they all told me for sure, a slow leak like that is sort of normal, don't worry about it.

So I'm not really worried about the slow leak, apparently, my question is, how do I keep the tire inflated?

Does anyone else have this problem? what do you do?  My biggest worry really is, what if I'm boondocking and I have a flat!? Yikes.

Do I need to buy a compressor? But they seem kinda spendy, and my friends 2 gallon couldn't fill my tire up!  what sort of size do I need?

I do have AAA (My twin bought it for me!!! YAY I love her!), I guess I could call them, I dunno if air in tires is covered or whatever.  Maybe that's the best solution?

I do have a spare tire, but I don't have a jack or whatever it is my friend said I needed, but I don't even know what size to get he said 'hydraulic something or other'.

Would love answers to my little dilemma.

Lost with Lack of Air,
Where do you buy your tires?  Many of the places like Discount Tires will fix a leak or a flat for free.  You might want to check such places in the future when you buy your tires. 
I don't know what the guys will say on here, but I say get it fixed!  It is not fun to get a flat no matter where you are!  I have great road side service but the wait time, the delays in travel etc. are a real bother.  This is your home and you should treat it with the best of care in my opinion! 
A slow leak in my opinion is one that shows low tire pressure over months not days.

Just my 2 cents which is about what I would pay me for my opinion!  :LOL!

I have the following air compressor:

 bought it a pep boys a few years back for about that same price.  It is one of the few that can run long enough to top up all tires, even those requiring 80 psi, without overheating.

I recently upgraded it with better ( standard) airlines and attachments, and added a small  computer fan blowing on the heatsink.
[Image: fanmountfromback_zps64c1bb3f.jpg]
[Image: popthehatch_zps1748ada8.jpg]


I regularly use it to pump up my airbags to 100 Psi for unlevel parking spots, but it takes only 40 seconds for 100 psi.  Tires will take considerably longer.

Viair brand is a little spendier, but better built.

Any compressor which has a ciggy plug is much slower and less capable.  The alligator clips designed to attach directly to the battery means it pulls 15+ amps, and that it is faster.  Nearly every 12 volt compressor has a limit on the amount of time it can run before overheating.  This model says 30 minutes.  Many cheaper ones say 10 minutes on, 30 off.

It is fairly compact, and easy to use.  Just start the motor then screw on the fitting onto the valve.  Sometimes trying to start it against the tire pressure will blow the fuse.  Make sure to use the airfilter supplied.

Your friends compressor likely had the regulator backed off for certain power tools.  I have a 3 gallon one for nail guns that had no problems filling a truck tire to 100 psi.

My Modifications were not necessary.  Don't think that this is a piece of junk unless it is modified. I did them because I am a tinkerer, and The Screw on fitting bothered me.  The hardest thing was re tapping the head to accept 1/4 NPT standard fittings.  Not that that was hard, it just required removing the head and the proper tap.

For anybody thinking about doing the same thing to use a good tire chuck, there is risk of damage unless the chuck is modified to be passive.  Normal tire chucks only release pressure when put on a tire valve.  If an unmodified chuck is put onto this compressor and turned on, it will build pressure in the airline beyond 100 psi in about 4 seconds.  Not long after that it would blow a seal or something, possibly violently.  I suggest not using a quick disconnect fitting on the head if modifying.

Here is how I Modified a locking tire chuck for safety:[Image: modifyairchucktofreeflow_zpsf6cd0cb2.jpg]

Drilled a small hole through the depressor.

Now it works better than ever.

I have a harbor freight "pancake" compressor, uses 120vac, that does inflate my tires to 80psi but takes a while.  It's rated at 100psi, but that is where it turns off, it only turns on when down to 80psi, so 80psi is it's maximum usable. 
Tires aren't supposed to leak like that. You've got a bit of a bigger problem there methinks.

Discount tire has been known to fix leaks on tires  for free that were not even purchased from them.   It is good business practice, as many of those drivers return to them when new tires are needed.

Driving a tire with low psi is very bad for the sidewall life, as well as being dangerous.  That is why so many newer cars come with  the troublesome tire pressure sensors, an effect of the Ford Explorer/ firestone rollovers of yesteryear.

If the tires which lose air have a lot of small cracks in the sidewalls, then start saving.  Tires older than 7 years are due for replacement despite the amount of tread remaining
The tire people @ firestone said my tires were in great shape. The dealer I bought van said, they were new tires.

 I'll go back in and visit a tire place then. Looks like there is a Discount tire, so I will visit them, see what they say.

Thanks everyone!

A story about the brand new tires that I had put on this summer for my trip on the Denali hwy:
    I woke up the 1st morning after they were put on with one of them flat.  Of course it was raining and NO one had a compressor at the campsite north of Anchorage.  I checked my emergency hwy kit my job gave me several years back and there was a little air compressor in it that plugged into the lighter.  Well...that little compressor was SMOKIN to get the pressure up to 50 psi (it needed 80), but it was enough to drive the 20 miles back to have the tire remounted.  Come to find out the valve stem was faulty.  Moral is...your tires may be great even new, but the valve stem could be faulty, or perhaps the seal on the rim is not right.  You can't always look at a tire and say it won't leak because it looks like it has good tread.  Sometimes its not the tire!

Tara take the van to any tire shop and ask to have them check the air pressure, in all cases i have done this it was free, fast and did i mention free... They are there for business, it takes them 5 min of time and this could also mean a potential customer and sale down the road...

As for the slow leak, your friends gave you bogus info... Though tire pressure goes up and down with the heat of highway speeds, a leak that takes your tire down to flat needs to be addressed... Have the tire guy look at the rim also, you brought your van up some pretty rough terrain in the Sierras and this could have done slight damage to the rim enough to cause the bead to leak...

as for a jack, go to Wal-Mart and find a 2 ton floor jack, this will be perfect for you... Also go to a lumber yard and ask to look through their scrap bin... What you are looking for is a piece or two of 2x6 or 2x8 that is longer than the jack for sandy, muddy, wet soil so it wont sink into the ground when in use...

Good luck...

Hey Tara, you can go to les shwab, they will air up your tires and they fix flats for free. They will tell you to remember them when you need new tires. Also I bought a air compressor from harbor freight tools. Its very small and it is rated for 120 PSI. It cost around 25.00. It plugs into your cig lighter. I've had mine for two years and it works great. It will inflate a flat tire to 35 PSI in about 3 minutes. I can find the part number if your interested. Just let me know.
Pages: 1 2