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Got a Flat? Read These Nine Quick Fix Tips on How to Patch a Tire

Flat car tire

You’re having the worst day, stranding on the side of the road with a flat tire. Perhaps it’s downpouring, and you’ve no idea what to do next. Scenarios like this happen to everyone, which is why we’ll show you exactly what you to the next time you get a flat. Use these nine quick-fix tips on how to patch a tire and see how safe patching your tire is. 

How to Know if You Need a Tire Patch

Your car can get a flat tire for a wide range of different reasons, including: 

  • Metal or glass shards
  • Nails or screws on the road
  • Impacting with a curb
  • Hitting a pothole
  • Other automotive issues, such as a leaking valve system. 

Flats happen, and when they do, it’s important to know what cure is right for the type of puncture in your tire. Repairs vary, and the damage your tire shows will determine whether a patch, plug, or tire replacement is necessary. The first step is always to check out your tire if you think there may be an issue. 

Why You Need to Know How to Patch a Tire

person fixing flat tire

Image via Flickr

You can’t drive on a flat tire. Otherwise, you face severe damage to your tire and could cause irreversible damage to your vehicle. Unless you want to buy a new car, completing simple repairs like a flat tire is the best solution. 

While tire prices vary based on the make and model of your vehicle, tire patches cost an average of around $20-$40. A tire patch is also much less expensive than purchasing a brand-new tire, no matter what type of vehicle you drive. High-quality worktops out around $40, which includes having a tire expert ensure your tire safety and extend the overall life of your tire. 

Nine Quick Tips on How to Patch a Tire

Learning how to patch a tire can involve first learning a few important things about the type of flat tire, repair options, and how long each option lasts. Even with a patch, you could need a new tire if the damage is bad enough. 

Be Prepared

No one can avoid a flat tire. It happens to everyone at one time or another. To be prepared for a flat tire, make sure you have a few things in your car, such as:

  • Tire gauge
  • Lug wrench
  • Jack
  • Spare tire or doughnut (fully inflated)
  • Vehicle owner’s manual
abandoned car with flat tire

Image via Pexels

If any of these items have been misplaced or your vehicle didn’t come with them, it’s important that you purchase them for your safety. There are also some items typically not included with your vehicle that are nice to store in your trunk or glove box space just in case, including:

  • Flashlight
  • Gloves
  • Rain poncho
  • Wheel wedges
  • Portable air compressor (optional)

Without tire patches already on hand, you’ll need enough time to make it to your local automotive store to purchase a patch. Some people prefer to keep them on hand for the inevitable situation, which could be very helpful if you’re taking a long road trip and don’t want to spend tons of time on the side of the road waiting for help. 

Put on a Spare Tire

If you notice the tire is completely flat, you need to change to using the spare tire immediately. Never drive on a flat tire. Some cars come with what’s called a mini-spare or “doughnut.” These tires are slightly smaller than a traditional tire, but they get you around until you can fix the problem. Move to a safe location to change the tire slowly. A place with level ground, a parking lot, or straight stretch of roadway are ideal. Don’t attempt changing a tire on a narrow shoulder with oncoming traffic. 

Wonder How To has an excellent tutorial on how to put a spare time on your car that explains the steps if you’ve never dealt with a spare before. Because these tires often sit in your truck unused for years, you’ll also need to air up the spare. The recommended pressure is often displayed directly on the tire, or you can find the number in your vehicle owner’s manual. 

You can always take the damaged tire to a repair shop or service location when you have time, just make sure not to drive over the speed limit of your spare. Spare tires aren’t designed to withstand the same top speeds, so you may need to stay below 50 mph, or the tire may burst. 

Locate the Leak

Nail on tire

Image via Flickr

If your tire isn’t completely flat but seems to be leaking out air, your car's low tire pressure sensor may come on, and you may hear the hiss of the air escaping. A nail in your tire often causes this type of hole, and you may be able to patch the tire or plug the hole, depending on its size. First, however, you must find the leak. 

When you have the vehicle on the jack, you can rotate the tire to locate the leak. If you don't hear or feel any air escaping, try this trick: Mix liquid soap and water, brush the mixture on the tire, and watch the mixture bubble up where your hole is located. Use white shoe polish or chalk to mark the spot, so you don't miss it again. 

Decide Between Plug or Patch

If your flat tire is caused by a nail or screw and the hole isn’t torn open, you can plug the tire. Larger holes require a patch. You can purchase a tire plug kit with two T handles, which helps you plug the tire up yourself at home, or head to a professional who can complete the work the right way in no time. Although you can plug or patch a tire yourself, the help of a professional at your local tire shop ensures your safety. 

If the tire is very large, a patch won’t work either. Huge holes or a split tire requires you to completely replace the tire. Attempting to put a patch on a hole that’s too large will result in a leak, and you can expect the tire to flatten again quickly. 

Remove the Tire from the Vehicle

man changing tire

Image via Pexels

By taking the tire off your car, you can either put the spare tire on to provide more time for you to patch the tire. This is perfect if you’re on your way to work, for example, when the flat takes place. Either way, you’ll need to take the tire off the vehicle and the time from the rim before you can install the tire patch. The process can become complicated, which is where professionals come in. 

If you really want to do the work yourself, don’t drive on the vehicle as much as possible until you can fix the issue. Drive on a spare if you must but remove the damaged tire and install the spare. Any damage on your wheel may require further repairs as well.

Plugging the Tire on the Wheel

A tire service attendant may plug the tire puncture without first taking the tire from the car as well. Sometimes this is a better choice, especially if they’re not using a sealant to complete the work. However, the fix is still considered a temporary solution until you can fix the tire. 

The Tire Industry Association explains that when a tire puncture is sealed while the tire remains on the wheel, the fix is temporary. On the other hand, a correct repair involves removing the tire and lasts for the tire’s entire lifetime. 

How to Patch a Tire

Learning how to patch a tire is complicated for beginners, so the following instructions are quick how-to’s. You may need to follow further instructions on the patch kit your purchase, for example. 

After removing the rubber tire from the rim of your wheel, repair the tire one of three ways:

  • Buy a single repair kit that uses a combination of a plug and a patch in one
  • Buy a two-piece repair kit that uses a filler plug and covering the patch
  • Head to your local tire repair specialist. 

Next, completely deflate the tire if it’s not already. Take off the valve stem cap using the tool and be careful not to lose the cap so you can reuse it later. Separate the tire from the rim using a bead breaker bar and hammer, prying the rubber from the rim as you work along with the entire tire. 

vintage car tire

Image via Pexels

Once the rubber is free, clean out the puncture hole by inserting your reamer into the hole no less than six times. Rough the edges of the hole using diamond-grit sandpaper and brush away the rubber pieces that could have accumulated. Use rubber cement over the area, applying it just larger than the patch and push the plug into the hole. 

Apply the patch and plug to the puncture in your tire, and make sure the patch rests on the inner tire liner only. It should fit tightly, and you can seat the patch in place using a roller. Cut away any extra material protruding from the plug to ensure the patch sits flush with the tire. Lastly, check out the tire’s overall condition to make sure replacement isn’t required and then reinstall the tire on the rim. 

Tighten Lug Nuts by Hand

When putting the spare tire or patched tire back on your vehicle, try tightening the lug nuts all the way by hand. It may seem like much more work; however, this allows you to check each lug nut one by one and ensure optimal safety. Tighten the lug nut as much as you can by hand, then use a wrench for a final tightening after you lower the vehicle completely to the ground. 

Prevent Future Flat Tires

You can prevent flat tires in your future by completing regular maintenance on your tires. Make sure you properly inflate all four of your tires regularly and keep an eye on the tread of your tires for tread wear over time. You can also rotate your vehicle's tires according to the manufacturer guidelines to keep your wheels in the best condition, extend the life of your tires, and reduce your likelihood of getting a spare. 

How Long Can You Drive on a Tire Patch?

man driving car

Image via Pexels

According to RepairPal, tire experts project you can drive on a tire patch for an average of 7-10 years with no problems. That is, as long as the patch was properly applied and everything goes as planned. Many tire patches last the remainder of the tire’s lifetime. 

Keep in Mind

By deciding to put a patch on your flat tire, you’ve only come up with a quick fix. The results are only temporary, and you will need to take care of the flat tire still if you want to continue driving on the car for a long period of time. If you’re stranded on the side of the road, a quick fix is perfect. However, continuing to drive on a patched tire can cause issues later without further repairs.   

Featured Image: Flickr

Spirit A8 Car Jump Starter Review: How It Compares With Other Brands

spirit a8 car jump starter

The invention of the portable car jump starter revolutionized a small part of the auto service industry. These jump starters brought hope that the days of drivers being stuck on the roadside for hours waiting for a mechanic to help them will soon be gone. The Spirit A8 car jump starter is one of the most popular portable jump starters in the U.S.

Compared to jump-starting your vehicle with the help of another car, the portable jump starter is quicker, cleaner, and safer. Despite these obvious benefits of ownership, portable jump starters have not yet gained the universal acceptance they deserve. We believe that every driver should own a portable jump starter, and we want to help you find a good one, at a good value.

In this article, we discuss one of the most popular portable jump starters on the market: the Spirit A8 car jump starter. We explored how it compares with the competition and help you consider whether it is the perfect portable unit for you and your vehicle.

Comparison Table

What Is the Spirit A8 Car Jump Starter?

The Spirit A8 Car Jump Starter is a portable, 300 amp (max: 600 amp) jump starter with one USB output. This device is capable of jump-starting most passenger vehicles, from small cars to sport utility vehicles (SUVs).

Product Specs  

The Spirit A8 car jump starter is powered by an 18,000 mAh lithium-ion battery. It has one output capable of supplying numerous voltages, including 12V, 16V, and 19V. This jump starter's CC/CV value is 15V1A, and its start current is 200A, which peaks at 400A(3S). It is rated to function in a temperature range of 0 to 85 degrees F.

This jump starter has enough power to jump start most small cars and SUVs. This unit comes with battery clips and a phone charging cable, with the starter and accessories all fitting nicely into a softshell case. The device also comes with one power adapter, four mobile phone adapters, eight different laptop adapter tips, and a user manual.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare to the Spirit A8. We also checked out the:    

  • Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC660 Jump Starter
  • DBPOWER 600A 18000mAh Portable Car Jump Starter
  • GOOLOO 18000mAh SuperSafe Car Jump Starter
Spirit A8 Car Jump Starter

Ease of Use

Using the Spirit A8 car jump starter is straightforward. To use this device, all you need to do is to connect the cables and to switch the car engine on. You should take a look at the cautions provided in the manual, of course.

Features

The Spirit A8 is more than just a jump starter. In addition to jump starting a car, you can use this device to charge your laptop and phone. The A8 has up to nine different laptop plugs/adapters and four laptop connections.

Design Quality

Like most portable jump starters, this unit takes the form of a cube with a hard plastic cover. The jump starter weighs a little under 2.5 lbs., and it can likely fit in your glove box or a car seat pocket. Its controls are straightforward. The Spirit A8 car jump starter also has a protective case really helps in keeping its accessories together.

Reliability

The Spirit A8 car jump starter has a high-quality battery of its own. This jump starter can hold a charge for weeks, and it will reliably start a car even after weeks without charging.

Pros

  • Portable
  • Affordable
  • Multiple connections

Cons

  • Lacks a light
  • Cannot jump heavy trucks
Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC660 1700 Peak Amp 12 Volt Jump...
  • 1,700 Peak Amps; 425 Cranking Amps
  • 22Ah Clore PROFORMER Battery
  • 46" Heavy-Duty #2 AWG Cables

The Jump-N-Carry JNC660 is one of the most powerful jump starters on the market. The jump starter has a replaceable, valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) Rechargeable Clore PROFORMER battery designed for durability, and it peaks at 1700 amps or 425 cranking amps. This jump starter doubles as a “power bank” for your devices: You can use it to charge a variety of gadgets via its 12V charging outlet.

Weighing 18 pounds and with dimensions of 3 x 14.1 x 5.1 inches, the JNC660 is much bigger and heavier than “pocket” jump starters. On the front of this device, there is a voltmeter enabling easy viewing of the battery status.  The 12V outlet, which has automatic circuit protection, is also located at the front, near this starter's status lights. This jump starter has 42-inch cables leading to the jumper clamps. The JNC660 is a very powerful starter with enough power to start engines all the way up to those in 8L diesel vehicles.

Ease of Use

We found no difficulties at all in using this jump starter. After you verify that it is charged, all you need to do is to connect the clamps properly, wait a few moments, and the vehicle should start. We like the shape of the clamps because they are extra-easy to connect to car batteries.

Features

The JNC660 is one of the most powerful jump starters you can get. This jump starter can only charge or power 12V devices. Unlike the Spirit A8 car jump starter, or the DBPOWER and GOOLOO units we also tested for this article, the JNC660 doesn't have laptop or smartphone charging capabilities.

Design Quality

The JNC660 is a sturdy, heavy yet still portable jump starter with a hard plastic case. We like the fact that the battery, clamps, and other parts of the JNC660 are replaceable. This gives it a longer life than other jump starters.

Reliability

The JCN660 jump starter is a reliable piece of equipment.  It is one of the few jump starters with a replaceable battery and clamps.

Pros

  • Very powerful
  • Replaceable parts
  • Can jump heavy trucks and big diesel engines.

Cons

  • Lacks a flashlight
  • Only charges 12V devices (no USB or other device jacks)
  • Lacks a power button, which could compromise its safety
  • Expensive vs. other options
DBPOWER 600A Peak 18000mAh Portable Car Jump Starter (up to 6.5L Gas,...
  • POWERFUL & COMPACT: Jump start your vehicle (up to 6.5L gas or 5.2L diesel engine) up to 20 times with 600 amps of peak...
  • SMART CHARGING PORT: With 18000mAh capacity and smart USB port, it can full charge your laptops (include 8 in 1 laptop...
  • PROTECTION: The high quality and spray gold intelligent jumper clamps has over current protection, short circuit...

The DBPOWER 600A jump starter consistently gets rave reviews from auto self-service enthusiasts. Like the Spirit A8 car jump starter we covered first, the DBPOWER is small enough to fit in your car's glove box. DBPOWER incorporates a number of safety features in this jump starter, including spark-proof cable clamps.

This box uses integrated circuits that help prevent reverse-polarity faults, open circuits, short circuits, overcharging, overloading, over-current, and over-voltage conditions. The jumper cable connection points are protected by silicone covers. The DBPOWER 600A jump starter comes with a big 18,000mAH lithium-ion battery. This jump starter can power a variety of vehicles up to 6.5L gas engines and 5.2L diesels. The power produced by this DBPOWER jump starter is enough to jump start a typical car 30 times on one charge.

Accessories

This jump starter also comes with a number of accessories including an LED light with bright, strobe, and SOS modes. The device has a push-button compass that can help you get back on track in case you lose your way. The jump starter comes with a semi-hard mesh protective case which can help you keep your jump starter and accessories in one place. We liked the LCD screen that shows the battery level, warnings, and the mode. This device has two 2.4A USB ports plus an 8-in-1 laptop adapter. Available output voltages are 12V, 16V, and 19V.

Ease of Use

This auto jump starter is very easy to use, and it only needs to be charged once every three months or so if you don't use any jumps within that period.

Features

The DBPOWER jump starter has more useful features than any other jump starter on our list. Besides jump starting your vehicle, it can charge laptops or comparable devices of three different voltages. The DBPOWER jump starter can also charge smartphones and tablets. The LED's bright-light mode is quite handy as the unit can be used as a road hazard/warning light.

Design Quality

The DBPOWER jump starter is portable, and it was built in the mold of the Spirit A8 car jump starter. Like most comparable units, has a hard plastic cover. We like the fact that this jump starter comes with a protective case that can help users to stay organized. One of the features that makes this jump starter stand out is the LCD screen which shows the battery level and warnings.

Reliability

The DBPOWER Jump starter is very durable. Its 18,000mAh battery can jump start a car 30 times over, although we recommend that you recharge the battery when it falls beneath the 75% mark. The drain rate of this battery is also low, and it can be carried around for three months without needing a recharge.

Pros

  • Two 2.4A USB output ports
  • Large, bright LCD Screen
  • It has traditional cigarette-lighter and wall-charger connections
  • Micro USB cable for mobile devices
  • Comes with a high-quality protection case
  • Equipped with an/off switch and auto-shutoff feature
  • Three-year warranty

Cons

  • Cable leads are short
  • No iPhone connection
GOOLOO 800A Peak 18000mAh SuperSafe Car Jump Starter with USB Quick...
  • POWERFUL LIFE SAVER: This GOOLOO emergency jump starter has enough power (800A peak current) to jump start most 12 volt...
  • QUICK-CHARGE USB PORTS: Designed with dual USB outputs (5V/2.1A, 5V 2.4A/9V 2A), the quick-charge 3.0 USB port charges...
  • ADVANCED PROTECTION TECHNOLOGY: The intelligent jumper clamp features multiple advanced safety technologies including...

The GOOLOO 650A jump starter is a powerful, yet portable, jump starter that can start gasoline engines up to 6.5L and diesel engines up to 5.0L. This jump starter can charge a vehicle up to 20 times on a single charge. It has a 12V/10A power output port that can also power machines like car coolers and portable air compressors.

This device can function in a variety of weather conditions across a broad temperature range. It features quality cables that help protect against short circuits, overcharging, overvoltage, and over-current issues. This jump starter has a 650-peak amp, 18,000 mAh power bank.

Accessories

The jump starter has an LCD screen that displays vital information about the battery. The device also has an LED light that can work as an SOS (hazard) or strobe light. Like the DBPOWER jump starter we also review here, this device has two USB ports. It has a protective case, and it comes backed by an 18-month warranty.

Ease of Use

At a weight of 2 pounds (and dimensions of 9.8 x 6.3 x 4.1 in.), the GOOLOO jump starter is easy to carry and use. This device can easily be tucked away in the glove box. Using it is easy; it basically involves establishing the connections and turning the car engine on.

Features

This portable jump starter is versatile. Its features are similar to those of the DBPOWER jump starter.

Design Quality

This jump starter weighs about 2.3 lbs. It is well built, with various ports and the LCD screens positioned for easy access.

Reliability

The battery of this device is reliable when the device is new, and you can charge a typical car about 20 times with one charge.

Pros

  • Very small and portable
  • Versatile LED light
  • Offers USB, phone, and laptop ports

Cons

  • Fragile cables
  • Battery fades with time, according to some reviewers

Choosing a Car Jump Starter

If you’re looking to purchase a car jump starter, here are some important factors you’ll need to consider.

Can revive a dead battery

It might sound obvious, but don’t merely expect a jump starter to restart a dead battery unless the product description states it. For example, there are many jump starters that can top-up a low battery but don’t have enough power to restart a dead source.

Portable size

You’ll need to store your car jump starter in your vehicle for desperate times. Although a bulky device will have plenty of power that you need, you’ll require a lightweight, small unit to store in your trunk. The average jump starter weighs around 20 pounds, so aim to keep the weight below this for portability purposes.

Cable length

The cable length plays a significant role in where you’ll place your jump starter during use. Your desired location depends on your personal preference. If you store the jump starter on your car’s hood during use, a small cable length will suffice. On the other hand, if you intend to keep the device on the floor while you charge your car, you’ll need a cable length that can reach the jump starter and your car from a farther distance.

Voltage

Finally, you’ll require a voltage that suits your vehicle. The average car comes with a 12-volt battery. But if you own a truck or bus, this will likely be 24 volts, so choose a device that matches your vehicle’s requirements.

Conclusion

The Spirit A8 car jump starter is a high-quality unit that will meet the needs of most car and SUV owners. In addition to reliable jump starting, the A8 comes with a variety of laptop, phone, and tablet chargers.

However, a careful comparison of the features of the jump starters on our list reveals that the DBPOWER jump starter is the best jump starter overall. Equipped with an 18,000mAh battery, an eight-in-one laptop jack, two 2.4A phone charging ports, a flashlight, and a compass, this jump starter is cheaper, more versatile, more reliable, and more durable than the Spirit A8 car jump starter.

Drivers of heavier vehicles have a solid option in the JNC660 jump starter. Although this jump starter does not have phone or laptop charging features, it is the only jump starter on our list that will reliably jump start engines 6L and larger.

The Best Portable Air Pump for Car Tires: 10 Selections to Keep Your Wheels Inflated

air pump

Have you ever been scooting along down the road and noticed a strange, gravelly sound? Maybe passing cars began to honk at you. Perhaps you even heard a loud pop and lost a little control over your vehicle for a second. Hopefully not.

When these things occur, the most likely culprit is a low or blown tire. Changing your tire isn't a complicated process with the right tools, though it can be tedious and frustrating, especially if caught in the rain or terrible traffic. 

But too often, drivers open their trunks to retrieve their spare tire, only to find that the spare is entirely flat. And those with low tire pressure may be many miles away from a mechanic or a gas station with an air pump. Before you spend an inordinate and unnecessary amount of money on a tow-truck or new tire, consider investing in a portable air pump.

There are a wide variety of gadgets for your car, and you now have the power to jump-start your battery with something that fits in the palm of your hand. The same is true for the air in your tires. Using a small handheld device, you can maintain your tire pressure and keep your tires healthier for longer.

In a bind, you can also use such a device for quick inflation before heading to the nearest mechanic. These devices usually charge via your vehicle's 12V cigarette lighter socket and considering the amount of trouble, labor, and money they can save you, and they're incredibly inexpensive.

Today, we’re going to take a comprehensive look at portable air pumps and find out which model is the best. Let’s get started!

Comparison Table

FORTEM Digital Tire Inflator

SHipping

Weight

Dimensions

voltage output

Prime

1.94 lbs. 

7.6 x 6.1 x 3in

12V

Audew Portable Tire Inflator

SHipping

Weight

Dimensions

voltage output

Prime

0.8 lbs.

4.5 x 1.8 x 5in

12V

P.I. AUTO STORE Premium Air Compressor Tire Inflator

SHipping

Weight

Dimensions

voltage output

Prime

2 lbs.

7 x 3 x 6.5in

12V

AstroAI Portable Air Compressor Pump 

SHipping

Weight

Dimensions

voltage output

Prime

3.5 lbs.

8.6 x 7.5 x 3.9in

12V

Amzdeal Air Compressor Portable Auto Pump Cordless Tire Inflator

SHipping

Weight

Dimensions

voltage output

Prime

4.44 lbs.

13.5 x 11.5 x 3.6in

12V

AUTLEAD C5 Digital Tire Inflator

SHipping

Weight

Dimensions

voltage output

Prime

1.9 lbs.

8.2 x 3.4 x 6.9in

12V

Breezz Air Compressor

SHipping

Weight

Dimensions

voltage output

Prime

2.4 lbs.

7.8 x 7.1 x 2.4in

12V

EPAuto Digital Tire Inflator

SHipping

Weight

Dimensions

voltage output

Prime

3.75 lbs.

13.5 x 8.1 x 5.6in

12V

Oasser Air Compressor Portable

SHipping

Weight

Dimensions

voltage output

Prime

1.32 lbs.

9.6 x 2.2 x 2.2in

12V

Kensun Portable Air Compressor Pump

SHipping

Weight

Dimensions

voltage output

Prime

3.7 lbs.

11.8 x 4.3 x 6.7in

12V

Portable Air Pump FAQs

Before we can compare products, we must first answer the basic questions regarding air pumps. It would be hard to tell which the best portable air pump for car tires if we didn’t know what a portable air pump was! 

What a portable air pump?​

What does a portable air pump do?

How does it work?

Where can you buy a portable air pump?

How We Reviewed

To provide our readers with the most accurate and valid information possible, we did quite a lot of research. We researched air pumps and compressors, to find out how they work and what they typically look like. We then began to scour the internet and local auto shops for portable air pumps. We read reviews and product descriptions. We compared features, prices, and shipping methods. 

We then considered the average life of a car tire and how much weak tire inflation impacts the life of a tire. We researched the power usage of typical portable air pumps, to discover what kind of impact they may have on your car battery or home electricity bill. 

We then compiled several lists of the most promising portable air pumps, and slowly eliminated many candidates until we had a manageable number. Once we had our candidates for "Best Portable Air Pump for Car Tires" we continued to compare until we had a single best choice. This project was a weighty and challenging task, as the results of our findings may influence those who end up with flat tires, stranded on the roadside. We kept this in mind as we compiled our data.

The Best Portable Air Pump for Car Tires

FORTEM Digital Tire Inflator

FORTEM Digital Tire Inflator for Car w/Auto Pump/Shut Off Feature,...
  • EASY TO OPERATE – Simple as plugging into your car outlet, attach hose to the tire, set the PSI desired and flip the...
  • MULTIPLE USES – Included attachments for Sports balls, Air mattress, balloons & other inflatables.
  • BUILT WITH YOUR SAFETY IN MIND – Built in LED flashlight helps you be ready for nightime emergencies.

The FORTEM Digital Tire Inflator is small, lightweight, aesthetically pleasing, and built-to-last. The rugged black and red square connects to your car's internal 12V port and features an LCD. You set your target pressure, connect the hose to the tire you wish to inflate, and flip the switch. 

The FORTEM will automatically turn off when the goal pressure rating has been reached. And if you're dealing with low tire pressure during the night, you can rest easy knowing that the FORTEM portable air pump also features a handy flashlight.

Key features

  • LCD Display Screen
  • LED light for dark areas
  • Incredibly small and lightweight
  • Automatically shuts itself off after tire pressure is achieved
  • Simple controls that are easy to see and use

Where to buy

You can find the FORTEM Digital Tire Inflator online at Amazon.com. 

Audew Portable Tire Inflator

Audew Portable Air Compressor Pump, 12V Digital Tire Inflator, 150 PSI...
  • 【Auto Shut-off】AUDEW portable air compressor has auto shut-off function.Just set your desired tire pressure,and it...
  • 【Fast Inflating】Up to 35 L/min air flow rate,AUDEW portable tire inflator can inflate a flat tire within 2...
  • 【2-In-1 LED Light】AUDEW digital tire pump is equipped with 2 modes of lights: Flash Light and Emergency. Flash Light...

The teeniest, tiniest portable air pump that you can find is the Audew Portable Tire Inflator. Weighing in at only 0.8 lbs., this small device is a utilitarian dream come true. While it is the smallest device on this list, it has a hose reach of up to ten feet. That’s amazing! The Audew maintains its slim design by using the body of the pump to house the hose and cord. You’ll never lose those tiny pieces ever again.

However, it does not include a flashlight, and you must carefully monitor the pump’s gauge and disconnect the hose when the tire pressure is correct.

Key features

  • Smallest and lightest portable tire inflator
  • Hose reach of up to ten feet
  • The least expensive portable air pump

Where to buy

The Audew Portable Tire Inflator is available on Amazon. It is a Prime item, so you can be sure to receive it quickly.

P.I. AUTO STORE Premium Air Compressor Tire Inflator

Sale
P.I. Auto Store Premium Air Compressor Tire Inflator for Automobiles...
  • PREMIUM FEATURES – New 2019 Improved Air Compressor with powerful pump generating 38 l/min air-flow. Can inflate a...
  • VERY SIMPLE TO USE – Plug into your 12 Volt cigarette lighter socket or other 12 V outlet. Easily set pressure on the...
  • COMPACT ROBUST DESIGN - Compact design and Storage Case make it ideal for storage in your trunk. You never know when you...

For a few dollars more than the FORTEM, you can get a slightly bulkier, but also marginally more featureful portable air pump. The P.I. AUTO STORE Premium Air Compressor Tire Inflator comes equipped with a bright LED flashlight, a red emergency light, and a large LCD, almost exactly like the FORTEM.

The P.I. AUTO STORE air pump also houses its cable and hose internally, much like the Audew pump. Indeed, it features some of the best qualities of both pumps, though it is more expensive, and weighs a little more.

Key features

  • Red emergency light
  • Compact design, relatively lightweight
  • LCD screen
  • Automatic shut-off upon pressure goal completion

Where to buy

The P.I. AUTO STORE Premium Air Compressor is available on Amazon.

AstroAI Portable Air Compressor Pump

AstroAI Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire Inflator 12V DC...
  • NOTE: Please ensure the current of your automobile cigarette lighter is from 10 to 15 amps to avoid automobile fuses...
  • Check out our VIDEO on the left side and take a quick tour of AstroAI air compressor! INCREASED SAFETY: Properly...
  • INTEGRATED IN-LINE FUSE prevents overloading the air compressor, making it safer for everyone to use

If you're willing to compromise a little on size and weight, you can get a multi-functional portable air pump for a lesser price than the FORTEM or the P.I. pump. It looks like a miniaturized version of a full-size air compressor! It has a backlit display screen, which is incredibly handy when in the dark. It also has a flashlight, a metal internal motor, and an automatic shutoff feature. And it's only 3.5 lbs.!

The cord and hose are slightly awkward, as they are only secured when wrapped around the body of the pump. However, this is a small price to pay for the power you get from this portable air pump!

Key features

  • Backlit display screen
  • Automatic shutoff mechanism
  • Convenient carrying handle for trunk storage and removal

Where to buy

The AstroAl Portable Air Compressor Pump is available for purchase on Amazon.

Amzdeal Air Compressor Portable Auto Pump Cordless Tire Inflator

Amzdeal Air Compressor Portable Auto Pump Cordless Tire Inflator 12V...
  • 【Fast Inflating】The Speed of the Air Compressor is 30-60 L / min, much stronger and faster than conventional pumps...
  • 【Preset & Shut-Off Intelligent】Tire inflator with LCD display can simply preset the desired pressure in four unit...
  • 【Portable & Multi-Purpose】The portable air Compressor is not only suitable for cars but also for bicycles, balls,...

For those who detest the tangle and mess of cables, hoses, and wires, the Amzdeal Air Compressor has been patiently waiting for you. This pump looks like an electric drill, and the only includes a single hose, with three adapters. No cables, no wires to string out your car window or door. Only the pump, the house, and you.

This portable air pump is charged at home and brought along with you in the car. It can also be used to charge multiple inflatable items, like basketballs or pool toys. If you are tired of dealing with cables and wires, you can simplify your tire inflation experience with this simple, portable air pump. 

Of course, the downside to this is that you must continuously keep your pump charged. If you forget, and the battery happens to die, you're probably out of luck. 

Key features

  • No extraneous cables or wires
  • Easy to use
  • Unique design

Where to buy

You can find the Amzdeal Air Compressor on Amazon.

AUTLEAD C5 Digital Tire Inflator

Sale
AUTLEAD C5 Digital Tire Inflator, 40L/min Portable Air Compressor...
  • 【Fast Inflating & High Efficiency】- 40L/min large air flow, the C5 portable tire inflator can inflate a tire from...
  • 【Auto Shut Off & Precise Readings】- Simply preset the tire pressure and the air pump will automatically turn off at...
  • 【3-In-1 LED Light】- C5 car air compressor comes with 3 modes of LED lights: Bright flashlight let you inflate even...

With many of the critical features of the AstroAl, the AUTLEAD C5 Digital Tire Inflator straddles affordability and functionality. The AUTLEAD does not have many frills and is not nearly as aesthetically pleasing as the AstroAl pump. It somewhat resembles a Speak N' Spell toy. Block-like, with a handle built into the shape of the pump, it's also slightly like a pump purse.

The AUTLEAD is lightweight, designed to be simple, and blunt. Do you need to inflate your tires? The AUTLEAD pump The AUTLEAD pump has a flashlight with three options: bright, SOS, and strobe. Need to raise a ball? You guessed it! The AUTLEAD pump has adapters that are perfect for inflating nearly anything! And if you're tired of messy cables and hoses, don't worry. You can tuck those away into the body of the AUTLEAD pump.

Key features

  • Three flashlight functions from which to choose
  • Simple design
  • Lightweight
  • Decently priced

Where to buy

The AUTLEAD C5 Digital Tire Inflator is available on Amazon.

Breezz Air Compressor

Sale
Breezz Tire Inflator, Air Compressor Pump, 12V DC Portable Auto Tire...
  • 【STRONG POWER & FAST INFLATION】: Up to 150 PSI, Inflate the 195/65R15 car tire from 0 to 35psi under 4min. It makes...
  • 【AUTO SHUT OFF】: Simple and useful technology in the car air pump. Preset your desired pressure value, When the tire...
  • 【DIGITAL DISPLAY & LED LIGHTING】: The portable air compressor equipped with a large high-precision and bright...

When you want your tire inflation to be a breeze, you can always turn to the Breezz Air Compressor. Though it is not the smallest, least expensive, or most featureful portable air pump on this list, it is sturdy, fast, relatively inexpensive, and super compact. It can inflate a typical car tire from 0 psi to the appropriate amount in approximately four minutes. 

In addition to its general awesomeness, you can also be sure that you'll always find the Breezz when you need it. It's bright yellow color, flashlight, and the backlit screen will assure that it'll still be around when you need it! 

Key features

  • Bright color, and a backlit screen
  • Inflates tires very quickly
  • Hose and cable stored internally
  • Decently priced

Where to buy

You can find the Breezz Air Compressor on Amazon.

EPAuto Digital Tire Inflator

EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire Inflator
  • CONVENIENCE: Plug directly into Cigarette Lighter Socket of your Vehicle. 12VDC, 10 to 15 amps, 120 to 180W. Equipped...
  • MULTIPLE USES: Inflate tires on cars, bikes, sedan and midsize SUV. (Engine size under 3.5 liter) Universal valve...
  • Capacity: DOES NOT SUPPORT truck tires, for instance: light truck tires (LT), heavy duty truck tires or any truck tires.

With much of the charm of the AstroAl, but with the added convenience of a traveling bag, the EPAuto Digital Tire Inflator is heftier than the AstroAl, and is nearly the most substantial portable air pump on this list, coming in at 3.75 lbs. But its strong flashlight, large display, and traveling bag add to its charm.

The EPAuto is a dependable choice and easily kept out of the way in the trunk of your car. 

Where to buy

You can purchase the EPAuto Digital Tire Inflator on Amazon.

Oasser Air Compressor Portable

oasser Air Compressor Portable Tire Inflator Electric Hand Held Pump...
  • Large 2200 mAh Lithium Battery: The rechargeable Oasser electric air compressor can be turned on rapidly. It can inflate...
  • Free Gift of Abundant Accessories: 12V power base, storage bag, 2 Air Hoses 13.78inch and 4.72inch, quick coupling and...
  • Fashionable and portable: The pump with LED light is uniquely pistol-shaped and portable to use in the daytime or...

This pump is like the magic wand of portable air pumps. Designed in the form of a long black tube, the Oasser Air Compressor looks like something from the future. On one end of the microphone-like device, is a lit digital display screen with buttons and a port for charging. On the opposite end is a strong flashlight. The center of the torch is a port for the hose!

The whole design is brilliant, compact, and highly futuristic. It's also capable of automatically shutting off air flow, to no over-inflate your tires. 

Key features

  • Unique and efficient design
  • Lit display screen
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use

Where to buy

The Oasser Air Compressor can be found on Amazon.

Kensun Portable Air Compressor Pump

Sale
Kensun AC/DC Power Supply Portable Air Compressor Pump with Analog...
  • You get enormous customer service support from one of the most trusted names in automotive accessories.
  • The tire inflator is perfect for use indoors and during the travel as it is designed with AC and DC power cords.
  • This portable air compressor comes with a pair of accessory nozzles. If you have Schrader valve, you may need an...

The Kensun Portable Air Compressor Pump is versatile. This pump can use your car’s 12V port or your home’s electrical outlet to charge and work. It also comes with three adapters, making it perfect for inflating all types of things. With dual metal motors, this portable air pump can inflate a car tire more quickly than the average pump can.

The included travel case is convenient. Unfortunately, the price is not, especially when you consider the convenient features that the Kensun lacks, like a flashlight or lit display screen.

Key Features

  • Dual charging methods
  • Dual metal motors
  • Travel bag
  • AC and DC capabilities

Where to buy

You can find the Kensun Portable Air Compressor Pump on Amazon.

The Verdict

stanley air compressor

Image via Pixabay

After careful consideration, we came to find the best portable air pump for car tires. Though every candidate on our list is worthy, there is one that truly stands apart and above from the rest.

For us, there could be no other choice than the AstroAl Portable Air Compressor Pump. Though it doesn't feature an internal cable and hose storage mechanism, it is sturdy and multi-purpose. The AstroAl’s price, effectiveness, weight, aesthetics, and functionality outpaces the competition, making it the best portable air pump for car tires.


Featured image source: Pixabay

What Does An O2 Sensor Do? What Every Mechanic Should Know

mechanic fixing car

Mechanics understand that engine parts have become complicated with sensors and computers running the show. The O2 sensor is one of those parts that still causes trouble for mechanics, and some wonder what does an O2 sensor do? 

The O2 sensor is an integral part of any engine manufactured after 1980 when engine controls became electric. The O2 sensor monitors oxygen levels in the emissions and sends constant updates to the vehicle’s main computer. When emissions levels get too high, the O2 sensor will force the car to make changes to optimize the emissions mixture. 

What O2 Sensors Monitor

Most vehicles have more than one O2 sensor. If one of them does not work correctly, the central computer will turn on the check engine light. The O2 sensors are continually monitoring and altering the emissions based on several factors, including:

  • Engine workload
  • Engine temperature
  • Air temperature
  • Altitude
  • Barometric pressure
  • Gas to oxygen mixture

Oxygen Sensor Locations

Along with asking what does an O2 sensor do, people wonder about their location, too. New vehicles have at least two sensors. One is close to the engine, on the exhaust pipe at the beginning of the emissions system. The second is closer to the end of the emissions system near the muffler and catalytic converter.

Having O2 sensors in at least two spots gives the engine accurate information so the sensors can fine tune the gas-to-oxygen mixture. If a vehicle has a dual exhaust system, then the car will have a pair of sensors in each exhaust pipe. 

The Lifespan Of An O2 Sensor

As O2 sensors are in their fourth decade of existence, they have longer lifespans than the earlier versions. Older models lasted 60,000 miles, but new ones will run for 100,000 miles or more. The latest versions are designed to withstand high temperatures, rough roads, and other severe conditions.

When An O2 Sensor Begins To Fail

It is difficult to tell if an O2 sensor is going bad unless you have a diagnostic code reader. However, there are a few clues that could suggest the sensors is failing. One is that your vehicle’s gas mileage decreases without any other explanation. Performance tends to drop off, too. 

Along with the check engine light turning on, another possible sign that the O2 sensor is on its last legs is a rough running car. Some people will attribute that to spark plug problems, but if the vehicle is still running rough, it could be the oxygen sensor. Finally, if the exhaust is black and the spark plugs have issues, the oxygen sensors could be failing. 

mechanic fixing automobile

Image via Pexels

Why Do O2 Sensors Fail?

Oxygen sensors fail as they age, but other reasons cause them to stop working correctly. If you put contaminated fuel in your car, the O2 sensors could fail sooner than expected. Contamination from road salt and other external chemicals can damage the O2 sensor. If your engine is burning oil, your car’s O2 sensors can be damaged, too. 

Other Sensors In Vehicles

Along with O2 sensors, vehicles have several different sensors that affect the way that cars run. Some of the sensors will trigger the check engine light, and some will affect the performance of the vehicle. Mechanics should know what does an O2 sensor do and they should know what these other sensors do, too. 

Tire Pressure Monitor SystemsTire Pressure Monitor Systems

If you have a model year 2006 or newer, your car has notified you that the tires need air. Tire pressure sensors will trigger a dashboard light when the air pressure drops at least 25 percent. Newer model vehicles have sensors in the valve stems, and older models have the sensors in the center of the wheel. 

Tire pressure sensors use a battery that lasts five to seven years. You can replace the sensors when they fail, and many people have the procedure done when they get new tires. Some sensors stop working when people inject tire sealant into their tires. 

Temperature Sensors

man working under car

Image via Pexels

Another sensor that commonly shows up on the dashboard is the temperature monitor. This sensor affects the fuel mixture by monitoring the changes in air temperature and air density. If the sensor is not working correctly, the vehicle’s performance will be affected. Emissions and fuel usage increase if the temperature sensor isn’t functioning correctly. 

Mechanics can use a diagnostic reader to determine if the temperature sensors are functioning or not. Your vehicle’s heating and air conditioning use a temperature sensor, too. Since this sensor does not affect the way the car runs, if it breaks, it doesn’t trigger the check engine light. You’ll notice the HVAC system doesn’t work well if the sensor breaks. 

Fuel Temperature Sensor

The temperature of the fuel is a vital reading that keeps the car running efficiently. This sensor not only monitors fuel temperature, but it also uses data to inject the right amount of fuel based on its temperature.

At cold temperatures, fuel does not burn as efficiently, but if fuel is too warm, it burns faster. The sensor works to keep the fuel at the ideal temperature for the conditions. If the sensor begins to fail, car parts can be damaged from the car running out of gas. 

Coolant Sensor

Coolant is an essential fluid in any vehicle. Without coolant, the car will overheat. To be sure that the vehicle runs at an appropriate temperature, coolant sensors monitor fuel consumption and engine emissions.

If the coolant sensor fails, the cooling fan stops working. Failure causes the engine to overheat. Ironically, the coolant sensor can be damaged when the engine overheats. If this happens, the coolant sensor needs to be replaced. 

When a mechanic checks the coolant sensor with a diagnostic reader, the temperature of the engine should be the same as the air inlet temperature. The two should increase as the car warms up. 

Vehicle Speed Sensors

man fixing vehicle engine

Image via Pexels

Newer cars also have speed sensors, which are magnetically based and are on the transmission. These sensors monitor the speed of the vehicle, and they work with the antilock brakes which have wheel speed sensors, too. The transmission has other sensors that work with the speed sensors, also. 

When the speed sensors fail, it is wiring problems that create the problem. Failure also happens when iron particles interfere with the magnets in the sensors. If the anti-lock brakes system isn’t working, then the sensor could be bad. 

Throttle Position Sensors

This sensor system monitors the throttle, and a scan tool will show the throttle opening if the sensor is functioning correctly. This sensor is responsible for controlling the opening on the accelerator, so airflow matches the engine load. 

You might not know what a throttle sensor is, but you might recognize when it is functioning poorly if you notice that your car has a hiccup during acceleration. It is common for throttle position sensors to show signs of wear at the idle position, which is why cars hesitate as miles build up. 

Manifold Absolute Pressure Sensor

If you aren’t a mechanic, this sensor might be in part of the car you don’t know. This sensor watches the outside atmosphere and the intake vacuum to make decisions about the engine load. Some vehicles use a fuel injection system that requires data from the manifold sensor and the throttle sensor. 

If this sensor is not working well, the results are similar to the throttle sensor as the motor will hiccup and hesitate. The sensor will make mistakes with spark timing and fuel, and air mixtures. A diagnostic scan tool can measure whether or not the manifold sensor is working correctly. 

Position Sensors

Two position sensors work together to maintain the speed and firing in the engine. The crankshaft position sensor maintains the position and speed of the crankshaft, and the camshaft position sensor supports the engine’s firing order. If either of the sensors fails, the engine will not run.

How Sensors Work Together

Before cars had sensors, mechanics could turn a few screws and change a few filters to get their vehicles to run better. Now, all of the sensors work together to keep all of the systems in check. They all feed into the main computer that prevents the car from failing. 

Feeding Into The Main Computer

These sensors continuously feed data into the main computer through a collection of modules. The sensors feed data to the modules which send them to the central computer, which then makes decisions about fuel-air mixtures, wheel speed, and so much more. Without the sensors doing their jobs, the car would not be able to run efficiently. 

Maintaining The Sensors

person touching gray rod on vehicle engine

Image via Pexels

Unfortunately, when the sensors go bad, they can be expensive to replace. It is better to replace them before they fail entirely. Waiting too long can actually do damage to the vehicle, especially related to performance and fuel efficiency. In some cases, sensors need to be cleaned, which is much less expensive than having to replace them. 

Keeping the sensors working correctly is key to keeping your car functioning properly. The lines of communication need to stay open to extend the life of your vehicle. Well trained mechanics know how to care for sensors, modules, and main computers so your car can last a long time. 

Wagner Brake Pads Review

Wagner Brake Pads

Brake pads may seem like a near-no-brainer purchase at the local auto parts store, but any brake pad shopper should have an idea which types and brands provide the best performance for optimal safety on the road. Wagner Brake Pads are often among the highest-rated pads on the market, known for superior performance when it comes to stopping your vehicle quickly and safely. The features that makes Wagner brake pads the best options on the market will be discussed here, along with a comparison to other available brake pads for different types of vehicles.

What makes Wagner brake pads unique is the company's commitment to always pushing the envelope with its technological innovations and quality standards. They offer various ceramic brake pads for different vehicle types and driving conditions. Wagner even offers a new brake pad design intended to stop trucks and SUVs in less distance than all other brake pads in their class.

The manufacturer designs, tests and certifies its pads to make sure that they return to their original equipment performance. The design of the pads has been made in such a way to ensure that they reduce the noise that causes vibration and to deliver optimal stopping performance.

What Are Wagner Brake Pads?

Wagner brake pads are primarily ceramic brake pads designed for excellent wear and performance. Generally speaking, ceramic brake pads are quieter than semi-metallic pads, and they can withstand higher temperatures without breakdown. Quality pads cause less damage to your rotors, making the rotors last longer before they need to be turned or replaced. Ceramic pads also produce less dust than other types of brake pads that don't clamp, flex, or cling in the same ways.

Ceramic pads like Wagner products tend to be a bit more expensive than “organic” and metallic brake pads, but they also last longer before they must be replaced. Wagner makes a variety of brake pads for different needs. Performance and safety are always their top priorities.

Usually, when a product is a tad more expensive the rest of its competition it's because the manufacturer has invested money into resources to ensure that it delivers the finest product. That is exactly what Wagner has done. This manufacturer wants to ensure that its customers are satisfied with their product and that they feel they got their money's worth. 

Product Range & Specs  

Wagner brake pads come in a variety of types designed to meet different driving needs and vehicle specifications. The Wagner OEx brake pad has been shown to stop a test vehicle up to 50 feet sooner than other-brand brake pads in certain SUV and pickup models. The Wagner SD brake pad is made for excellent performance in extreme heat, frequent stopping, and heavy loads.  

Moving through the line, Wagner QS brake pads are great overall pads for quiet and consistent stopping performance. Finally,Wagner TQ brake pads are billed as thermo-quiet pads. Wagner has replaced the copper that's normally used in a ceramic brake pad with material that delivers better performance for stopping.

Pricing

Ceramic brake pads are more expensive than organic or metallic brake pads; they are more costly to make and purchase both. The value comes in their performance and life duration. However, Wagner brake pads are reasonably priced across their full ceramic brake pad line, in our view. Most types of  Wagner brake pads can be purchased within a $26-to-$40 range. This even includes SD (for severe duty) high-performance, extreme-heat pads.

How They Compare

We picked a few other lines of brake pads readily available on the market to see how they compare with Wagner brake pads.

  • ACDelco Brake Pads
  • Brembo Brake Pads
  • Hawk HPS Brake Pads

Wagner Brake Pads

Wagner Brake Pads

Of all the brake pads in our comparison, the Wagner brake pads are the least expensive. This is genuinely impressive given their commitment to quality across all the different brake pad options they offer.

Features

Wagner brake pads offer many options, with different models emphasizing quiet performance, consistent stopping, and extreme heat performance. Their severe duty (SD) brake pads can be used for heavy loads. The newly designed OE brake pad has been shown to stop some trucks and SUVs 50 feet sooner than other brake pads in its class. Some of their quietest brake pads come with rubber-backed shims to reduce noise even further than the ceramic material does on its own.

Brand Reputation

Wagner brake pads have an excellent reputation for quality stopping and performance. They are always looking to innovate and improve their already exceptional brake performance.

Design Quality