Owning a car means an air pump is a great investment. It’s essential to keep your tires at the proper air pressure in order to protect them, your vehicle, and yourself. An air pump lets you do so without leaving the comfort of your own driveway.

A portable air pump also comes in handy if you notice your tires are soft when you’re running around town; it can prevent you from getting stranded and allow you to reach a safe place so you can have your tires inspected. This tool also allows you to pump up and deflate your off-road vehicle’s tires depending upon the terrain you’ll be exploring.

The best kind of air pump, or air compressor, for a vehicle is one that operates by plugging it into a 12V port inside the car. This may be located on the dash, inside the center console, and sometimes even in the back seat. So now that you know you need this handy item in your trunk, what should you look for in a portable air pump?

A few things to look for to make sure you’re getting a good quality air pump are:

  • Choose one with a pressure gauge: This feature should be a non-negotiable, as even basic models offer it and it eliminates the need for an old-fashioned stick-style tire gauge.

  • Get one that stops at a pre-set pressure This prevents over-inflation and takes the guesswork out of the task of filling your tires.

  • Look for accessories: Different nozzle sizes and things like a high-flow adapter can turn your portable tire inflator into a multi-tasking household tool.

  • Consider a model with a flashlight: Just in case you ever get stuck in the dark trying to inflate your tires, this can prove to be a valuable safety feature.

  • Look for the warranty: As with most other vehicle parts, take the warranty into consideration as well as the price and strike a balance between value and quality.

By choosing a good quality portable air pump you’ll ensure that you’ll get many years of service out of it.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Buy a Good Quality Tire Air Pump and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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