Do You Have To Turn Your Car Off To Put Air In Tires?

Owning a car involves many responsibilities, especially the do’s and don’ts. While it is important to follow every precaution stated by your vehicle’s manufacturer and other automobile professionals, it is also essential to know what is normal to do. For instance, someone ask, “Do you have to turn your car off to put air in tires?” This is a normal practice by most car owners. However, leaving your car’s engine on as you put air in the tires doesn’t have any negative impact, like filling the gas tank while the engine is on.

Nevertheless, let’s see what happens if you leave your car’s engine running while inflating the tires, as well as how to check air in tires and add air to car tires.

add air to car tires

Do You Have To Turn Your Car Off To Put Air In Tires?

You don’t have to turn your car off to put air in the tires. This is because pumping the tires does not directly impact the engine or any other delicate component of your vehicle. However, it’s a general rule of thumb to turn off your car when pumping the tires, especially if you’re performing the task personally at home.

You will need to watch the process to avoid overinflating or underinflating the tires. Also, you won’t be able to drive at the same time as inflating your car’s tire even if someone else is to perform the exercise; hence, the need to shut off the engine and allow all the working components to cool down a bit.

Whether you’re in a hurry or not, there’s no way you can inflate the tires in motion. In other words, in any case, you are still going to wait as the tire is being inflated. So, it would be best to shut off the engine and relax as the service technician performs the task.

What Happens If You Keep the Car on While Putting air?

While no serious issue may arise from running your car’s engine as you inflate the tires, sticking to the simple rule of thumb is essential. This is because of some specific things you may experience when you leave the engine on.

For instance, if you leave the engine running when inflating the tires, you will most likely waste some fuel within the time frame you’ll have to wait to complete the exercise.

Also, if the tires are warm or hot, getting an accurate pressure level reading would be challenging as you put air into the tires. So, there’s a need to allow them to cool down a bit before pumping air into the tires.

If you go on to inflate the hot tires, they may reduce below the expected PSI range when the tires eventually cool down due to the initial inaccurate pressure level. 

Furthermore, tires that are not adequately inflated have a tendency to wear out faster. Meanwhile, you may experience a tire shred if you overfill a tire with air.

How to Check Tire Pressure?

Vehicle manufacturers often recommend a PSI range of 27 to 32. However, you can take up to 40 for most cars, minivans, and compact pickups.

In the case of larger vehicles like trucks and SUVs, the PSI is often 4 to 8 PSI more than that of smaller cars. It may be around 40 to 45 PSI. You should follow the recommended air pressure of tire as uneven tire pressure generates vibration.

Also, the front and rear tires may require different pressure levels. The procedure below reveals how to check air pressure level in a car’s tire.

Remove the tire’s valve stem cap

The valve stem cap is a little black or silver extension, about 1″ (2-3 cm) long, located next to the hubcap. Carefully unscrew the component to remove it.

Fix the air pressure gauge onto the valve stem and note the reading

Now, fix the air pressure gauge on the valve stem and take note of the reading. You may not get a correct reading if there is a hissing sound. So, you may want to adjust the gauge a little bit.

Also, note that a digital gauge may require pressing a button to trigger the gauge to read the pressure level. Meanwhile, a regular gauge simply gives the reading once you fuse in the gauge.

Reinstall the valve stem cap. 

It’s time to replace the valve stem cap. The cap helps to protect the valve mechanism in the valve stem from dirt and moisture.

After that, check the other tires for the same pressure level to verify if they match the recommended tire pressure level in your vehicle’s manual. If the pressure is inconsistent, kindly inflate the other tires that are below the standard.

Checking and putting air in tire YouTube

How to Put Air In Tires?

Once you have ascertained the current air pressure levels in your vehicle’s tires, inflating them with pressure levels below standard is important. If you’re wondering how to put air in a tire, carefully follow these simple steps to put air in your tires.

Unscrew the valve stem cap

Firstly, carefully unscrew the valve stem cap on the tire you’re about to inflate and keep the cover safe where you can easily find it for reinstallation before filling a tire with air.

Turn on the air compressor pump

Once you remove the valve stem cap, carefully turn on the air compressor for pumping. If you’re at a gas station, kindly put the amount of coin required for the service in the machine.

Fix the pump on the tire.

Now pick the hose from the pump or air compressor and fix it adequately to the valve stem. Hold the hose against the valve stem as you inflate the tire.

Hold the pump and be patient for it to fill up

Once the air from the pump starts filling the tire, ensure to hold the pump in place to avoid unnecessary movements. Also, keep your air pressure gauge close to check whether or not the tire has reached its recommended pressure level.

Most car tires are expected to be filled around 30 – 35 PSI. If the pressure level is too high, carefully deflate the tire and check it with the pressure gauge. Meanwhile, if you’re wondering how to let air out of a tire, simply press the pin at the center of the valve stem.

Reinstall the valve stem cap

Finally, reinstall the valve stem cap by screwing the component back on the tire. Thereafter, you can repeat the process for the other tires if they also need to be inflated.


Maintaining the ideal tire pressure level is as important as putting air in tires in the first place. Hence, checking your car’s tire pressure regularly is vital to ensure that the standard pressure level is consistently maintained. 

Meanwhile, if you were asking, “Do you have to turn your car off to put air in tires?” A straightforward answer has been provided in the article above. Nevertheless, do not hesitate to shut off your car’s engine in cases where your vehicle’s manufacturer strictly warns.


Mr. Shafiqule Islam is a graduated Mechanical Engineer and has more than 15 years experience of repairing and maintenance of different brand vehicles like Toyota, Mitsubishi, Ford, Mercedes, BMW etc. He is also giving training to Mechanics. He has started writing to share his practical knowledge to Vehicle Owners, Drivers and Mechanics to keep their cars at best fit.

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