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How to Put Air in Tires without Gauge? – 7 Effective Ways!

Last Updated on Aug 16, 2023 By Lillian Kazmierczak

Tire inflation is a key factor when it comes to a quick steering response, smooth drive, and efficient fuel consumption.

Keeping the right tire pressure at all times can save your tires from internal damage and sudden failure that may lead to injuries.

But what if you don’t have a gauge to add air to your tires? Or is there any guideline on how to put air in tires without a gauge?

We’re here to help!

Why Does the Tire Pressure Drop?

Why Does the Tire Pressure Drop

1. You hit a curb

The impact of driving over a bump at high speed or hitting a curb while parking the car can make the tire pressure drop. The tire may lose air from any components.

2. Defective Valve

The air escapes in a matter of seconds when a tire has a defective valve.  Cracks in the valve stem can also make you lose control at a high speed that may result in a crash.

3. Embedded Sharp Object in the Rubber

Sharp objects embedded into the tire are known to cause the highest number of pressure loss incidents. You need to take your car to a workshop.

The best thing to do is inspect the tire condition before you head out.

4. The Osmosis Phenomenon

This happens when your car is exposed to sun or low temperature for a long time. The osmosis phenomenon causes porosities inside the casing that makes the tire lose pressure.

This is a normal thing that may happen to any tire and the factory recommended pressure may decrease after a year of use or so.

Can I Put Air in Tires Without a Gauge?

A pressure gauge doesn’t inflate the tire but gives an accurate reading on air pressure.

You don’t need more space than a pen to store a pressure gauge but the low-budget tool helps you know when the air pressure in a tire is too low or filled up to the ideal point.

The tool is great when you need to precisely fill a tire with air but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have one in time.

How to Put Air in Tires Without Gauge

How to Put Air in Tires Without Gauge

**Photo Courtesy: YouTube

You can surely inflate your tires without any gauge as pressure gauges are only meant to check the pressure in the tire; not to inflate the tire. All you need is an air pump or an air compressor.

1. By Feel

Check the pressure in your tire by pushing it with your leg or hand. If the tire feels soft and squishy then you’ve a low pressure tire.

The problem with this method is that you can’t tell how inflated a tire is. But a rock hard tire means you have filled up too much.

2. The Eyeball Method

You need to keep the vehicle on a road or any flat surface for the eyeball method.

Walk away from the tire around 20 to 30 feet and take a good look at it. If the tire seems flat against the ground or is protruding then there is less air pressure.

Note: These two methods work best for under-inflated tires only with a very low pressure but they can’t help detect a sudden drop in pressure and overinflation.

3. Thumb Calibration

This is similar to the hand pressure method. Calibrate the pressure on a good tire with your thumb, use the feel to compare with the low pressure tire, and fill it.

4. Weight on Wheels

Put maximum weight on tires so that tires with low pressure deform 10% to 20%. If you see anything noticeable, you can be sure you need to fill it.

5. Mud Test

The mud test also helps to some extent. In this method, a marking substance like mud or ink is applied to the tire and then a slight movement of the tire is made over a smooth surface to see the patterns.

Tires with less air pressure show a smudged pattern when compared to the other tires. Fill out the air in the tire and test again until the required car tire pressure level is achieved.

6. Pump Strokes-Count

This method can be applied if you do not have a tire pressure gauge or you do not want to fill out your tires with one.

Just stroke the pump and count the number of strokes required to achieve the PSI of the tire. Measure the PSI through a gauge first by counting the pump strokes and setting a standard for the required PSI relative to the number of strokes.

If you need 250 strokes of a pump to achieve 120 PSI car tire pressure then use these 250 strokes as a standard to fill up your tires.

You need to set the standard for each tire of the same vehicle. Set the standard when the tire or the vehicle changes.

7. Your Driving Experience

The steering noise is noticeable when the tire pressure is low. You may have a rough ride or face problems to steer.

Check the wheels immediately when you encounter these issues.

Tools to Inflate Your Tires

1. Tire Pressure Gauge

An optimal amount of pressure is essential for smooth driving and to balance the load. A tire pressure gauge is a device used to measure the air pressure in tires.

These gauges come with either an analog and digital reading. A digital tire pressure gauge can provide you more accurate and consistent readings of the air pressure compared to an analog one.

Modern cars are equipped with built-in pressure sensors to indicate the air pressure of all the tires simultaneously. The term for measurement is called ‘pounds per square inch’ or ‘PSI’.

The PSI varies depending on the load on and the condition of the tire.

2. A Tire Inflator

Maintaining the tire PSI is important to prevent any sort of damage.

A tire inflator is a modern type of air compressor that fills out the air and maintains the proper PSI of tires. It converts electrical energy into potential energy to store the pressurized gas.

Tire inflators work on batteries so you need to charge them through the charging port of your car or directly through the socket in your home and garage. This allows you to inflate tires in any place at any time for your needs.

3. User Manual

Manufacturers provide a user manual guide to provide tire information including the PSI of the tire.

You need to note down the ideal air pressure of your vehicle tires and maintain that standard every time you fill them out.

How to Check Tire Pressure without Gauge

How to Check Tire Pressure without Gauge

1. Using an App

There are smartphone apps today that help check the air pressure in tires using the built-in camera of the cell phone and the car database on the app.

You have to search for your car model in the database to get precise results.

The app scans the tire and checks its height against the road to determine whether you need to fill the tire with air or not.

2. At the Gas Station

Most of the gas stations provide the tire inflation service. You can drive to your nearest gas station to check out your tire pressure with their built-in gauge.

Some may charge a dollar or two to fill up the air but usually the air pressure measurement facility is free at gas stations.

3. Service Stations and Tire Vendors

Many car service stations offer the tire inflation service. They have installed air gauges to measure and fill the air in the tires.

Your tire vendor is happy to inflate your vehicle tires if you purchase them from the vendor. They can charge a little amount for the service but this simplifies the tire inflation process for you.

4. Check for Slack Tires

Put the maximum weight on a tire that the car carries on it before you do any test. Tires that are not slack are in the safe zone so you don’t need to fill them up.

5. Too Little Pressure is Better than Too Much

Tires can explode if you put too much air into them. Start filling up with a little amount of air for your safety.

6. Do More than One Test

Doing multiple tests increases your chance to avoid unpleasant situations.

People who frequently travel with the same vehicle have a better chance to identify tire pressure problems and solve them before anything bad happens.


1. How do you check tire pressure at a gas station?

Ans. Drive to your nearest gas station with an air compressor to fill the air in the tires. Check out the PSI label. Remove the air stem to inject the pressure gauge and note down the readings.

2. How do I know if my tire pressure is low?

Ans. You can measure the tire pressure with a tire pressure gauge. You can also check if the tire feels soft or looks squishy and protruding which indicates a low air pressure.

3. What factors cause tire pressure to decrease? 

Ans. Factors that cause tire pressure to decrease:

  • Puncture
  • Damaged tire bed
  • Faulty valve
  • Osmosis
  • Changes in temperature

4. Is it normal for tires to lose pressure?

Ans. The rubber structure causes the tire to lose between one to three PSI of pressure in a month under normal conditions. The air inside the tire shrinks with cold so the tire pressure drops when the ambient temperature plummets. The pressure returns to a normal condition when the tire is warmed up.

5. Can I drive with low tire pressure?

Ans. Driving with a low-pressure tire causes more harm than good to your tire. The best solution is to change the tire before a drive when you find yourself in this situation. A deflated tire can also cause an accident or damage to your vehicle.

About the author

Lillian Kazmierczak

As far as I can remember, I would say I have been a car nut for my whole life. My father was a car dealer who used to change and repair his cars himself. This gave me the opportunity to get around all sorts of cars and get my hands dirty repairing vehicles from an early age.

A great fan of Japanese quality and German preciosity, my deep passion lies in older models that I believe have a flair that takes me back to my childhood! I also love their extraordinary durability and reliability when compared to today’s modern models.

When not out taking a ride, I enjoy socializing with fellow motorheads online and consuming any car facts and figures I can get my mind on!

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