Do tire inflators drain battery? 6 preventions to avoid drainage

By Arif

Tire inflator filling air

Tire inflators are a great invention to fill the air by connecting through the cigarette charger inside the car. But do tire inflators drain battery when they are combined for air pumping or charging?

It is a fact that tire inflators take power from the DC output and it does impact the performance of the battery. So, what measures should one adopt to prevent battery drainage?

Should you keep the car engine on while filling the tires? How to use the tire inflators correctly to reduce the effects on the battery and other vital parts?

You will find answers to these questions and many more in this post.

Do tire inflators drain battery?

Tire inflators may drain the battery depending on the circumstances it is used in.

Battery drainage can happen if the car engine is off while using the tire inflator. This is because the battery gets automatically charged through an alternator when the car engine is on.

Using a tire inflator with an ‘off’ engine will suck the power from the battery.

Secondly, drainage can occur quickly if you use the inflator for too long. In a scenario, where more than 1 tire needs refilling usage may take longer which extracts all the charging from the battery.

Some of the other causes for draining of the battery could be long pending maintenance or old and weak condition of the battery. Connecting tire inflators to such batteries makes them drain faster.

Let’s check the preventive measures you can adopt to protect the car battery from draining.

First of all, make sure the condition of a car battery is not weak or worn out. If this is the case it is better to perform the maintenance. If needed, replace the battery with a new one.

Keep the car engine ‘on’ while using the tire inflator

It is technically sensible to keep the car engine on when you want to use the tire inflator. When we say ‘on’ it doesn’t mean starting the car in drive mode. Instead, just move the key in a position that brings the accessories symbol on.

Car tachometer accessories symbol

This will allow the car battery to take power from the alternator that gets active when the car is on. When you plugin the inflator now it will take power from the battery which remains charged with the car ‘on’.

Word of caution: It is not recommended to keep the car engine running while using the tire inflator. This process can have adverse effects on the battery which may lead to overheating and other dangerous hazards.

Power output capacity

The output required to use a tire inflator is not more than 12V. This is not demanding considering the typical voltage of 13 to 14 volts possessed by car batteries.

So, from a power output perspective, a tire inflator won’t drain the battery unless you have a model that requires more than 12V sockets to draw power.

Make sure to check the power output required by a tire inflator before connecting.

Duration to inflate the tires

The average time taken by tire inflators to inflate the tire is between 15-20 minutes.

If you have more than one tire to inflate the duration to fill them will take longer. This means you will have to keep the inflator connected to the battery for a long time.

More than draining the battery, this lengthy process will certainly have an impact on its performance. Overheating is one such impact.

Give a break to the inflator after every 10 minutes and let it cool down for 20-25 minutes. Resume the filling process after the break and continue doing this for all the tires.

Most tire inflating units come with guidelines on usage time. Follow the guidelines to the core as it will help you keep the inflator as well as your car battery safer.

One of the best practices to keep the battery juiced up is starting the car engine for some time after each filling.

Higher airflow inflator

Another way to reduce the inflating time is to have a higher-capacity airflow inflator.

This depends on your personal choice but having a tire inflator that is able to fill the air in quick time will help your car battery save energy.

One way to achieve this is by setting the tire pressure to the recommended level (PSI) before turning on the inflator. This will help you reduce the amount of usage time.

Use the inflator on a battery in good condition

Modern vehicles are loaded with features and accessories that work by taking power from the car battery. It is therefore necessary to perform proper maintenance and keep the battery in good condition.

Some of the precautions to follow are turning off the components when not in use, ensuring the tightness of terminals, and cleaning the dirt and grime from the battery periodically.

Well-maintained batteries survive the power consumption for a long time which makes using tire inflators favorable.

Make use of a cordless tire inflator

A cordless tire inflator does not require power from the car battery while filling the air. These units can be charged using the cigarette charger once and has the capacity to last from 30 to 40 minutes.

Cordless tire inflator

Many cordless tire inflators possess USB-type charging and offer charging cables that can be connected with any charger accommodating the USB type.

This means you may avoid using the cigarette charger inside your car which is beneficial for saving battery power.

Final thoughts

A car battery is one of the vital parts of every vehicle. Many electrical and computerized components rely on car batteries to perform.

When using a tire inflator, you must ensure that the battery of your car remains in good condition. Secondly, keep it fully charged by keeping the car on to avoid drainage.

Always choose a tire inflator that responds quickly to inflate tires (maximum air pressure and airflow). Cordless tire inflators are the best option to avoid using the car battery.

Last but not least, always keep your car properly maintained with special attention to the battery.

If you follow the information and tips provided in this post rest assured your car tires and battery will remain fully charged.

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I am the founder of TheCarPlus. As a passionate car owner and enthusiast, I offer practical solutions and insights from my own personal experiences combined with extensive online research.

The purpose of creating this website is to empower fellow car owners and motorcyclists like 'YOU' with knowledge and practical solutions to enhance your vehicle's performance and aesthetics.

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