What PSI Should I Set My Air Compressor for Tires

What PSI Should I Set My Air Compressor for Tires

PSI for vehicle tires varies mostly on the type of vehicle. Mountain bikes need a psi of about 15 to 25 while construction vehicles need at least 100 pounds per square inch ( PSI ) in each tire, Gravel tires need psi ranging from 25 to 40, Passenger cars, 32 to 35 psi, and  Light truck /SUV tires range from 30 to 35 psi.

When contemplating what psi you to set your air compressor for tires,  you first of all, need to know the basic concept of air compressors like the purpose of air compressors, types of air compressors, PSI ranges, and maintenance which will help you choose the best air compressor for whichever motor tire you have.

However, this blog post would really educate and enlighten your horizon on What PSI Should I Set My Air Compressor for Tires, types of air compressors, and their psi ranges.

Importance of proper tire pressure

Proper tire inflation prevents wear and tear by usage. proper tire pressure is very crucial and important as it does not cause premature tire change and you will get more life from your tires.

Basically, the importance of proper tire pressure is that it saves from unforeseen driving chaos, like accidents, and it enhances traction and stability.

Inadequate proper inflation has the possibility to shorten the life of your car’s tires or might cause a tire to fail. Low tire pressure can cause a blowout, so it’s no shock that low tire pressure can influence the efficiency of driving.

What PSI Should I Set My Air Compressor for Tires and what Types of Tires

1. Passenger car tire 

Most passenger cars will recommend 32 psi to 35 psi in the tires when they’re cold. When tires are hot, it is generally recommended to add 4-6 PSI (pounds per square inch) above the recommended cold tire pressure.

This increase is responsible for the expansion of air inside the tire as it heats up during driving. It is essential to refer to the tire manufacturer’s recommendations or the vehicle owner’s manual for the specific PSI adjustment for hot tires and cold tires as different tires and vehicles may have varying recommendations.

2. Light truck/SUV tires

Light truck tires/ SUV tires recommend a psi of 35-45 psi. These tires may require a higher psi because of the capacity to carry heavy loads around. But also refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations as they are different for varying tires.

3. Construction Vehicles 

These vehicles have very high psi compared to other vehicle tires because of the heavy-duty operations they perform. Most construction vehicles require a psi of at least 100 and sometimes more than 150 to make it faster.

Tire Placard

Another helpful resource for determining the correct tire pressure is the tire placard. It is located on the driver’s side door jamb or inside the fuel filler door, the placard provides important information about tire size, load capacity, and the recommended PSI for your vehicle.

It is essential to cross-check the tire placard with the tire manufacturer’s recommendations for precise accuracy.

Types of Air Compressors for Tire

1. Reciprocating (Piston) Compressors:

These compressors use a piston and cylinder arrangement to compress air. They are available in both single-stage and two-stage configurations. Single-stage compressors compress the air in one stroke, while two-stage compressors further compress the air in a second cylinder for higher pressures

2. Rotary Screw Compressors:

These compressors utilize a rotary screw mechanism to compress air. They consist of two rotating helical screws that trap and compress air as they turn. Rotary screw compressors are known for their continuous operation and are often used in industrial settings.

3. Centrifugal Compressors:

Centrifugal compressors are commonly used in large industrial applications. They rely on centrifugal force to accelerate and compress air. They are capable of producing high volumes of compressed air at high pressures.

4. Scroll Compressors:

Scroll compressors use two interlocking spiral elements (scrolls) to compress air. One scroll remains stationary while the other orbits, creating pockets of trapped air that get progressively smaller and compressed as they move toward the center. Scroll compressors are often used in smaller applications and are known for their quiet operation and oil-free air output.

Read also: Best Air Compressor For Cleaning PC in 2023

Purpose of Using Air Compressors on Tires

  1. Inflation: Air compressors allow you to inflate your tires to the desired PSI (pounds per square inch) level, ensuring they are properly inflated.
  2. Tire pressure maintenance: Air compressors help you maintain the recommended PSI level for your tires, preventing underinflation or overinflation.
  3. Improved fuel efficiency: By maintaining the optimal PSI, you can enhance your vehicle’s fuel efficiency, as underinflated or overinflated tires can lead to increased fuel consumption.
  4. Extended tire lifespan: Properly inflated tires experience less wear and tear, resulting in an extended lifespan. Air compressors aid in maintaining the correct tire pressure, contributing to longevity.
  5. Enhanced safety: Adequate tire pressure achieved through air compressors promotes better traction, handling, and stability, enhancing overall safety while driving.
  6. Consistent performance: Correct PSI levels ensure consistent tire performance, including braking responsiveness, cornering stability, and overall driving experience.
  7. Optimal tire wear: Maintaining the recommended PSI helps distribute the tire’s contact patch evenly, reducing uneven wear and extending tire tread life.
  8. Seasonal adjustments: Air compressors enable you to adjust tire pressure according to seasonal variations, such as temperature changes affecting air density and tire pressure.
  9. Load carrying capacity: Air compressors assist in adjusting tire pressure when carrying heavier loads, ensuring the tires can handle the additional weight adequately.
  10. Off-road versatility: For off-road driving, air compressors allow you to lower tire pressure to increase traction on uneven terrains and then re-inflate to the appropriate PSI for regular driving.


Careful and regular maintenance helps in keeping the air compressor in perfect condition. The maintenance process should be carried out intentionally in order for rapid performance.

Heat is the enemy; that is why your air compressor cooling systems should be a top maintenance criterion.  A well-maintained cooling system helps manage the heat generated during compression.

Below are the tips on how to maintain your air compressor ;

  • Every 500 hours of usage or after three months, it is mandatory to change the oil and have its filter cleaned.
  • Check the pressure drop over the filters
  • Inspect the air inlet filter.
  • Air leakage and oil leakage can cause Air compressor failure, so it’s wise to dictate leakage from the compressor
  • Air compressors require constant oil lubrication to prevent friction on the pistons or screws and other parts.

How do you clean your air compressor after using it on tires

  • Place your air compressor in the normal position.
  • Grip the ring on the compressor tank’s drain and turn it counterclockwise.
  • Make sure to open the drain valve all the way.
  • Void the entire tank of water, sludge, oil, or even rust.
  • Leave the valve open for a little help drying it out.


Assigning an actual psi that is required by an air compressor for tires can be very vital as it influences the working performance of the motor positively. Moreover, adhering to the manufacturer’s recommendations and vehicle owner’s manual to check for psi ranges for varying vehicles helps in preventing driving mishaps.

However, depending on your type of vehicle, psi ranges for compressors, and therefore psi should not be set based on another vehicle’s performance. Lucky enough, I have provided all the information you need to know on PSI for tires and also answered the question, What PSI Should I Set My Air Compressor for Tires?