Every RV Owner Needs One of These

Posted In: Blog, Maintenance, RV Products, Safety, Tires

One of the most useful tools you can carry in your RV is a tire inflator. The best selling tire inflators (http://goo.gl/iKSzm6) on Amazon are made by companies like Viair and Campbell Hausfield. Top units (like the Viair 85p) are praised for their robust build quality and relatively quiet operation.

Do I really need to explain why you need one of these things?

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and RV tire problems.” Benjamin Franklin, 1789

Yep, Ben Franklin had it right – if you own an RV, you are guaranteed to have tire problems. These may range from tooth gnashing blowouts, to terrible tread separation, to random rascal flats, to old fashioned romantic slow leaks. Over the years we’ve seen it all.

We keep our tire inflator in a convenient storage location. It's ready to go at any time. (Click the pic for more info.)

We keep our tire inflator in a convenient storage location. It’s ready to go at any time. (Click the pic for more info.)

Even if you’re not having problems, you need to be checking tire pressures to avoid said problems. It’s an important part of any ongoing RV inspection routine. I can’t count how many times I’ve used our own tire inflator to top off our tire pressures when we’re traveling.

In addition to regular pressure adjustment, the inflator is there for roadside emergencies.

For example, if you carry a spare tire, you’ll want to put air in that tire before mounting it on your vehicle.

Of course, these inflators also come in handy for routine jobs like bicycle tires, air mattresses, beach balls, and so forth.

One of the first decisions you need to make regarding tire inflators is whether you want to use 12 volt “cigarette lighter” power or standard 120 volt wall outlet power. Since we have a generator, we always have 120 volt power readily available. Thus we carry a standard 120 volt unit.

It's noisy and reliant on 120 volt power (a normal wall outlet). But if you have a generator, you may want to go with one of these. (Click the pic for more info.)

It’s noisy and reliant on 120 volt power (a normal wall outlet). But if you have a generator, you may want to go with one of these. (Click the pic for more info.)

Our 120 volt tire inflator is a Campbell Hausfield model. It works fine and has delivered many years of good service, but it’s a noisy little beast.

Don’t have a generator? You may be better off buying a 12 volt portable tire inflator.

Viair 85p

The Viair 85p works with 12 volt “cigarette lighter” power outlets. It’s a good choice if you don’t have a generator or a robust power inverter. (Click the pic for more info.)

By the way, if you get the 12 volt job you might as well add a 12 volt extension cord.

12v extension cord

The primary downside to 12 volt models is they are a little less powerful and may not handle really large truck and RV tires. But they are quieter and the new models are receiving rave reviews.

If you don’t own a tire inflator, you’ll end up being nickeled-and-dimed to death at gas stations and the like.

Worse, if you don’t have your own tire inflator, you may find yourself in desperate need of one on the highway.

The moral of this story? Get a tire inflator. It won’t be the most exciting purchase of your life, but it may be among the most useful.


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