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Keeping a tyre inflator in the boot of your car means you can check your tyre pressures in a matter of minutes and, if necessary, top them up with air. Tyre inflators simply plug into your car’s 12-Volt socket and can bring your tyres up to their optimum pressures in two or three minutes.
If your car has a tyre pressure monitor, then you can respond to a low pressure warning much more rapidly than if you had to drive to a garage with an air pump.
Why it’s important to keep your tyres at the right pressure
If your tyres are always (or, at least, almost always) at their optimum pressure then your tyres can grip the road more effectively, last longer and reduce your fuel consumption. Having a tyre inflator to check and top them up is much easier than using a foot pump, too!
Finding the correct pressure for your tyres
It’s easy to find out what the optimum pressure for your tyres should be. Car manufacturers outline the pressures on stickers places either near the fuel cap or on the driver’s door edge.
It’s a list which details the right pressures for different wheel sizes and widths, so compare the sequence you find on the sticker to the numbers you find on your tyre sidewall. Most often you’ll see the pressure in two formats – bar and psi – and you’ll see two values, one for everyday use and a higher value for when you’re driving with a heavy load.
Testing your tyre pressure
Tyre inflators like the Ring Smart are app-enabled so you can store the right pressures for your car’s tyres and let the inflator do the work for you, shutting off when the tyre’s pressure is optimal. It can check your tyres’ pressures and give them as much of a top-up as they need to stay fit and healthy.
It’s a good idea to check your tyre pressure every couple of weeks, ideally when they’re cold, as the air expands when it’s warm, giving you an artificially high reading. Tyres that are under-inflated by just 15psi can increase your fuel consumption by 6% and increase your braking distance by 5m (if travelling at 56mph).
What features should I look for?
If you’re planning to keep your tyre inflator in your boot, then size and weight are important. The RAC610 12V tyre inflator weighs just 0.72kg and is just under 17cm by 15cm, making it a handy but diminutive addition to your boot.
You should also look at the length of the lead and the cable hose. The shortest hoses are just under three metres in length but if you have a larger car, a longer lead and hose are important so you can reach all four wheels from your 12V socket.
If you’re the adventurous type, then an inflator with an integral rechargeable battery, so it’s fully portable, is a good idea. The Ring Cordless is great for pumping up airbeds, bicycle and motorbike tyres, as well as other inflatable items and even the tyres on heavier vehicles like campervans and RVs.