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xo1rider 11-15-2011 09:43 PM

Checking air pressure
I'm new to travel trailers in general, my Airstream is my first railer.

It's becoming a puzzle to me how to check and air my tires, in general I have a compresser at home but the trailer lives in a storage yard. I tried one truck stop with no luck at all.

I bought a tiny little 110V compressor that works fine, when I'm hooked up at a park to power I plug it into the external outlet and spend what seems like 20 minutes per tire. It's got me thinking about buying a generator and hauling around a heavy compressor in the back of my tow vehicle.

Is there someplace on the road that you know of where you can easily have access to a professional grade compressor?

HowieE 11-15-2011 09:59 PM

Any truck stop will have air. You may have to go through the truck fuel line to get to it but most have a separate location for air.

Sears has several small compressors that will do fine at home. Any compressor with a tanks should do you.

Most important is the correct pressure. Check this chart for against your trailer weight.

Castaway 11-15-2011 10:09 PM

I just bought a Cambell Hausfeld 2 gallon compressor, not only does it pump up the tires but I can blow out the water lines for winterizing. Only cost around $75.00 and takes up very little space.

Ahab 11-16-2011 08:47 AM

Costco sells a heavy duty 12v compressor. It needs to be hooked directly to the battery because it draws a lot of amps but it fills the tire fast and does not weigh a lot.

xo1rider 11-16-2011 09:41 AM

Thanks Ahab,

That might do the trick, I'm trying to avoid carrying a "real" compressor in the back of the truck. I tried a couple of truck stops on my last trip in once case the machine took my quarters but the check on the hose was so beat up I lost more air than I added.

I just wish I could store the trailer at home but I live in a suburban neighborhood with a tiny driveway. The storage yard I'm using does not have a compressor or for that matter electricity.

withidl 11-16-2011 10:33 AM

No mention has been made that the tires MUST be at ambient temperature when adding/removing air. If you drive to a truckstop or other facility with air the AS tires will have aquired heat from the road surface and from "flexing" friction, which will cause each of them to be at a different pressure; so to accurately inflate them you would have to allow the AS tires to sit for some time to return to ambient before adding/removing air.

aftermath 11-16-2011 10:48 AM

withidl makes a good point. You should always check your pressure when the tires are cold. I store my trailer off site as well but can park it in front of my house prior to trips. I bring it home and let it sit overnight. I check and air the tires the next day.

While on the road I check them every now and then. When I was bringing my trailer home for the first time I went through the same experience you had. I stopped in to a truck stop and was directed to some cheap pump that wouldn't inflate the tires in a timely fashion. I then drove to a tire shop where they pumped them up at no charge.

I have one of those little emergency compressors and that will have to do. I don't like carrying a bunch of stuff around.

If you can't park the trailer at your place I would check the pressure while cold and record how many pounds of air you need. Drive it to a facility that has a pump and then add that many pounds. JMHO

Goal15 11-16-2011 10:52 AM

I bought a Black and Decker Air Station that runs on DC and 110V because I couldnt find any place where i could actually pull the AS up next to the air station at filling stations and the closest truck stop to me is a very busy TA and I just hate to get in the way of those guys out there making a living on the road.

I have found that it takes about 7-8 minutes to top off each tire, so i can do it in the morning before we take off for a trip while I am messing around with all the other last minute things like loading the bicycles, etc.

the Air Station gets mixed reviews on the internets but so far mine has worked as it is supposed to. But i will be looking into that $75 compressor because while a neighbor says i can borrow his, im the kind of person who hates to impose on the good nature of neighbors if I don't have to

dkottum 11-16-2011 01:41 PM

The tires should not lose much if any air, so I have a quality hand pump (the kind you stand on the base and use two hands to pump) with a built-in pressure gauge. Always have power (me) available to top the tires off. Lightweight, easy to use and store.

doug k

Goal15 11-16-2011 01:46 PM


You know, I had thought about doing just that but wasn't sure it would work. Not sure why I doubted it, after all car tires were pumped up that way back in the day..... could have saved myself some money


perryg114 11-16-2011 01:56 PM

Keep in mind that most mechanical tire pressure gages have a huge calibration error. I have seen any two be 10psi or more different than each other. However, the electronic gages seem to be much more accurate and consistant with each other. The old sliding scale type that pops out seem to be more accurate than the dial type. Always check tires when they are cold. Some tires leak more than others but outside air temp has a lot to do with pressure. A tire that does not leak at all will read several psi lower when it is cold outside. So you take a tire already low on air and then it gets cold outside, you have a problem. The little cigarette lighter powered pumps work ok but most of them have very low volume and it takes forever to pump up an RV tire, some have higher volume than others. These are better than nothing on the road. Always good to have a real air compressor at home.

Never use flat fixer in a can because it makes the tire almost impossible to patch when you get to a garage. Do carry the do it yourself tubeless tire patch kit to temporarily patch a tire on the road. It is stuff that looks like hairy string you stick in the hole. Then use your 12V pump to get air back in it assuming you did not let it explode or come off the rim before you stopped.


Bill M. 11-16-2011 02:35 PM

In regards to filling up tires at a truck stop after they are hot. You can check the pressure in the morning before you leave and then add that amount to whaterver pressure they are at the truck stop.

FlashSilver 11-16-2011 02:56 PM


Originally Posted by dkottum
The tires should not lose much if any air, so I have a quality hand pump (the kind you stand on the base and use two hands to pump) with a built-in pressure gauge. Always have power (me) available to top the tires off. Lightweight, easy to use and store.

doug k

Not to mention a pretty good upper body workout. I have two hand pumps with gauges that I use for my bikes, one bike needs 120 lbs psi and the other 65lbs psi. I always have one pump in the Toyota, but I never thought of using it on the trailer tires, or the TV. Of course they will work, and will fill slow enough so we can get the pressure just right. Thanks for the blinding glimpse of the obvious for those of us oblivious to such things.

TBRich 11-16-2011 05:16 PM

We also have a small 12v compressor that we carry with us. It was important to me to get one that attaches directly to the battery rather than using a cigarette lighter plug because those often don't reach far enough to use on a trailer. With the battery set up I can use the truck battery or the rig batteries, depending on the situation.

Also, we have PressurePros. So when we bring the Bambi into the driveway the day before we leave, I park the truck in front of the Bambi as if it was hitched, and plug in the PressurePro receiver in the truck...I can get a pressure reading for each tire without actually taking the pressure at each tire. Then, if one or more need topping off, I can do that while they are still cold.

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