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Old 03-25-2012, 05:08 PM   #21
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By coincidence, I bought a similar one the other day at Harbor Freight for $25. It plugs into the car's power jack (formerly known as a cigarette lighter). According to the packaging, it will fill a car tire in 3 minutes.
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Old 03-25-2012, 05:33 PM   #22
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Yes, it is worthwhile to spend a bit more to get one a bit larger, so that it will last longer, in addition to pumping faster. I had a little one like the following, but it wore out after just a few uses.



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How can a homeowner not have a compressor, a real one I mean?

I have had a 1-1/2 HP one for 30 years. Recently bought a 2-HP one to bring up to my 2nd home. I don't do heavy carpentry work myself, but a guy never knows when he needs to use the blow gun, a stapler or his impact wrench. Or sandblast something

I also have a puny 12V emergency one, and it has saved me on a couple of occasions. But I have been thinking about a small AC-powered one to keep with the RV. Too bad the RV is not big enough for me to put a tool chest in there.
I did buy a decent 12V compressor that is good enough to pump up the RV tires (up to 80psi) in case of emergency. I bought the following at Walmart, a "Slime" compressor that was advertised as good for RVs and truck tires, and could pump a car tire up in 3 minutes. I have not had a need to pump the RV tires on the road, but used it once on a flat car tire, and was pleased. The price for the kit with carrying case was under $45, if I remember correctly.

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Old 03-25-2012, 07:05 PM   #23
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works every time:


+1
AND it never has a dead battery. AND it's great exercise.
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Old 03-25-2012, 09:09 PM   #24
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Anybody remember the old emergency sparkplug hole type? Remove a plug, screw it in, and with a long enough hose you could reach each tire. I haven't looked for one in a while.

But it's hard to even see plugs anymore, let alone get to them sometimes.
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Old 03-25-2012, 09:22 PM   #25
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Is the point of these things to save money? I never pay for for air -- the local Chevron has free air. Since I live in California, air must be free if you buy gas, so if a station doesn't have free air, I just buy $1 worth of gas and get a token for the pump.

The tires don't leak fast, so it's always easy to get air at a free location.

Or is the point convenience? It certainly is nicer to pump up your tires in the privacy of your dry garage.

Or is the point safety -- as in having it in your car if your spare is flat?

Concerning the cordless one: I'll bet that as with drills, once the battery is done it's almost as expensive to buy a new battery as a new compressor.
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Old 03-25-2012, 09:24 PM   #26
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Is the point of these things to save money? I never pay for for air --
...
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Old 03-25-2012, 10:22 PM   #27
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Is the point of these things to save money? I never pay for for air -- the local Chevron has free air. Since I live in California, air must be free if you buy gas, so if a station doesn't have free air, I just buy $1 worth of gas and get a token for the pump.

The tires don't leak fast, so it's always easy to get air at a free location.

Or is the point convenience? It certainly is nicer to pump up your tires in the privacy of your dry garage.

Or is the point safety -- as in having it in your car if your spare is flat?

Concerning the cordless one: I'll bet that as with drills, once the battery is done it's almost as expensive to buy a new battery as a new compressor.
For me, after filling the car up with gas, the last thing I want to do is take the effort to get air. I just want to fill up and go. (Also, where I'm at the air isn't free and there might be a person ahead of me).

Yes, I prefer the pumping of tires in own garage.

Yes, if I do get a flat, I have a pump in the trunk.

The cordless pump I use, it is uses one of those Craftsman interchangeable batteries for multiple tools (cordless drill, vacuum, saw, you name it). So if the battery runs down, I just recharge it. After years of use, I haven't had one battery that have gone totally dead on me and not take a recharge.
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Old 03-25-2012, 10:43 PM   #28
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Like Trombone Al and REWahoo, I'm confused by the value of a home compressor for car tires.

Let's say that $25 is the price of a great tire-inflating gizmo.

When I go up to our local Tesoro station, they charge me 75 cents for a couple minutes of air. This means that I have to pull out the spare tire ahead of time and pull the covers off the valve stems of the other four tires, and then race around inflating all of them before the compressor shuts off. If I really screw up then I have to spend $1.50.

Perhaps $25 would let me check my tire pressure 20-30 times.

I have so little trouble with my tire pressure that I don't even check it anymore. I look at the car's tires when I drive it, and they look fine. (I know you can't tell when they're down a couple PSI, but you can tell when they've lost 30 PSI.) I actually put a tire-pressure check on my honey-do list for twice a year just because that seems like a reasonable interval. But I've also had the Prius dashboard tire-pressure light come on a couple times before the six-month interval is up.

So with two cars, I check tire pressure four times a year.

That $25 will last me 5-7 years.

How long do the tire-inflation compressors last? How much does it cost to keep them running?

I guess the other aspects are "peace of mind" and "not having to put on the spare tire". But at the rate of a flat tire every year or two (covered by the tire warranty) I don't know if I'd want to carry around a compressor-- let alone take care of it. If my tire went flat, it's because it had a new hole in it. I'd just slap on the spare and get it fixed, and a compressor can't help with that unless I want to start fixing my own flats too.

On a weekday mid-morning, there's almost never a person in front of me at the air hose station... and never twice in a row.
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:10 AM   #29
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Like Trombone Al and REWahoo, I'm confused by the value of a home compressor for car tires.
+1. If the compressor is exclusively used for car tires only, then it's probably an overkill. OTOH, if it will also be used for some other chore tasks around home, then a real one with decent tank size, duty cycle, and CFM rating might be a good long term investment; probably better than stocks and bonds for the foreseeable future. A homeowner who dies with most tools wins.
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:33 AM   #30
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Like Trombone Al and REWahoo, I'm confused by the value of a home compressor for car tires.
The value is highly dependent upon a number of factors, including the type and number of vehicles one owns, plus the distance to a gas station for some of that free air.

For example, those of us with towable RV's may see a great deal of value in a portable compressor similar to what NW-Bound posted. While it is easy to maneuver a car into a service station to air up your tires, the same can't be said when you are towing 30+ feet of trailer behind your vehicle. And if I have a low tire I don't want to risk damaging it by driving 5 miles to the nearest gas station (or a heck of a lot farther if camped out in the sticks), and I darn sure don't want to have to put on the spare to get there.

Also, a quick count reveals I have 30 tires requiring air, and no way am I loading up and hauling my riding mower or my wheelbarrow to the gas station every time a tire is low.
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:48 AM   #31
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Also, a quick count reveals I have 30 tires requiring air, and no way am I loading up and hauling my riding mower or my wheelbarrow to the gas station every time a tire is low.
While I don't have quite that many there are enough that it's worth having the compressor at home. And I like setting the pressures when the tires are stone cold. Even if they don't leak the temperature changes with the seasons will make 5 lbs. difference in the truck tires.

When I was in a car all day every day I was so tuned in to the car that I could feel the difference that 1/2 pound of tire pressure made.
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:54 AM   #32
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As I mentioned back in post #3, you can get a compressor that will last you forever and will even run a few small air tools for about $80 on sale, assuming you don't need to carry it around with you.

http://www.harborfreight.com/2-hp-8-...sor-67501.html
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Old 03-26-2012, 09:11 AM   #33
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I have two small portable pancake compressors... they plug in, so not the kind you have in your car all the time...

One of the problems with going to a gas station for air is that you are not sure they have a working compressor... I have been driving before when I have gotten a low air indicator... pull into a station and no air... pull into another and it does not work... I am surprised how fed stations actually have air...


Also, bicycle tires need to be pumped up a LOT... my son will usually use the hand pump if it needs a quick top up as it is faster than getting the other pump out, waiting for it to get full etc... but to me, paying $50 to $100 is well worth not having the trouble of going to find some air, OH and also not wasting gas to do it....
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Old 03-26-2012, 10:15 AM   #34
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When I was in a car all day every day I was so tuned in to the car that I could feel the difference that 1/2 pound of tire pressure made.
And did it bother you whenever you drove over a pea?
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Old 03-26-2012, 01:11 PM   #35
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I have had a couple of these 12v compressors and they work well for cars, riding lawn mowers, bicycles, wheelbarrows, etc. Handy to have.

I have found that it is better to spend a bit more that the bottom line model, which didn't work after about a year. The better model has given me better service for more than a couple years now.
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:31 PM   #36
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I check tire pressure on all our vehicles every Sunday Morning. The portables are great for an emergency. We get the maximum wear on all our tires. You have a sticker on the inside of the drivers door, that shows the proper amount of tire pressure to fill. The last 2 vehicles I painted, I use a Ridgid - OF45150 OIL Free Comp.
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:14 PM   #37
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For example, those of us with towable RV's may see a great deal of value in a portable compressor similar to what NW-Bound posted. While it is easy to maneuver a car into a service station to air up your tires, the same can't be said when you are towing 30+ feet of trailer behind your vehicle. And if I have a low tire I don't want to risk damaging it by driving 5 miles to the nearest gas station (or a heck of a lot farther if camped out in the sticks), and I darn sure don't want to have to put on the spare to get there.
Also, a quick count reveals I have 30 tires requiring air, and no way am I loading up and hauling my riding mower or my wheelbarrow to the gas station every time a tire is low.
I get it now. I'd do the same. I bet your spare tires are a tad bigger than the spares that Toyota gives us Prius drivers.

I have to admit that I don't own a wheelbarrow or a riding mower or even an equipment dolly, but if I did then I'd pump them up with a manual bicycle pump.

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Also, bicycle tires need to be pumped up a LOT... my son will usually use the hand pump if it needs a quick top up as it is faster than getting the other pump out, waiting for it to get full etc... but to me, paying $50 to $100 is well worth not having the trouble of going to find some air, OH and also not wasting gas to do it....
OK, that crosses the line, pumping up a bicycle tire with an air compressor is wussypants sort of overlooking the reason for the bicycle's existence.
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:28 PM   #38
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Is the point of these things to save money? I never pay for for air -- the local Chevron has free air. Since I live in California, air must be free if you buy gas, so if a station doesn't have free air, I just buy $1 worth of gas and get a token for the pump.
Isn't that cool? Sounds like living in California doesn't always mean high costs. That's one expense that is less in California than here. It costs $1.25 here, at all the stations AFAIK, and they don't care if you buy gas or not.

You're saving money every time you put air in your tires. You can put that saved $$ into the "car for DD" fund.
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:34 PM   #39
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I have to admit that I don't own a wheelbarrow or a riding mower or even an equipment dolly, but if I did then I'd pump them up with a manual bicycle pump.
I don't have time to use a manual pump - too busy working on my handmade rake I'm making from scrap wood salvaged from the dump...
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Old 03-26-2012, 09:27 PM   #40
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I don't have time to use a manual pump - too busy working on my handmade rake I'm making from scrap wood salvaged from the dump...
Aw, that's just piling on. I think the guy deserves a break for developing his carpentry skills and for getting a blog post out of it. At least we didn't have to read about knitting socks & sweaters.

I've been known to take a store-bought plastic leaf rake with a broken handle and screw the head of it onto the handle from a worn-out pushbroom...

During my commuting years I used to track my bicycle miles vs my car miles. In two of four years I put more miles on my legs than on the car, and the other two were pretty close. (I gave it up in retirement when I realized that I had a lot more to lose along the side of the road than some of those crazed commuters did.) But when I was riding, topping off the tires with the manual pump was just a warmup to the commute.
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