In my last post I discovered that the caravan tyre pressures were low and didn’t have a portable means of inflating them. I’d looked at the offerings from a well know auto store and reading the blurb on all the boxes discovered that getting an inflator that would be capable of inflating above normal vehicle pressures would not be a straight ‘off the shelf’ item… well not off the shelves of the auto store I was in at the time.
However on a recent trip to Costco I came across a pallet full of Goodyear 12 Volt Tyre Inflators priced at £21.99 + VAT. Reading the box and looking at the model out on display, it seemed well made (like quite a few things in Costco, they are generally made for the US market) it was a well-known brand at a price level that seemed very competitive to others I had looked at on line.
The unit comes with 5.4 metres of cable and the airline is long enough to reach the tyre valve, even if it is at the top of the wheel on a large 4×4 tyre. I think it would reach our caravan wheels when hitched up to the caravan with the unit plugged into the accessory socket on the dash. In the box there is also a bag to keep it in along with adaptors for presto valves, dingy and sports balls.
The unit has a direct drive motor which does make it quieter than some that I have heard and the pressure dial is a ‘glow in the dark’ luminous one, so at least you don’t have to hold a torch on the dial if you are using it at night. The makings on the dial are calibrated every 2 PSI (outer black markings) and every 0.2 BAR on the inner red scale and were clear to see.
For its first test, I dropped the Freelander’s tyre pressure to 16 PSI and timed how long it would take to inflate it back up to 32 PSI – the normal pressure I use when towing the caravan. It took a bit longer than I expected – about 4 minutes, but it is capable of inflating to a lot higher pressures than that, so I guess the CFM rate is lower. To see what it would inflate to pressure wise, I dumped the air out of my small prattle mains compressor that has a 2.5 litre air tank and rigging up a connector turned the unit on. It managed to get to around 95 PSI after a while. The instructions caution you to only use it in 10 minute bursts then allow it to cool, the first couple bursts it didn’t get particularly warm, but on the last one to raise the pressure from about 60 to 95 it did get hot, but not ‘flipping heck that hot” when you touched it! As the caravan tyres should be inflated to 62 PSI, thesis well within its operating range.
The 12 volt plug that fits in the accessory socket is a good close fit, so I’m not anticipating it keep dropping out or overheating. The plug contains a 15 amp fuse… which I must get a couple of spares.. just in case. . I’ve used it four or five times now and it seems to work OK. It seems well made, there is enough cable on it so it should reach most situations and the air hose is long enough. I would have liked to see a metal rather than plastic tyre valve fitting though. The gauge seems accurate, I checked it against my normal tyre inflator on my airline and a digital tyre pressure gauge and it was always within 1 PSI of them both across a wide range of pressures.
The instructions are in English… English English, not translated third or fourth hand into English and are fairly clear. The plastic moulding is well finished, not like some of the cheaper units you can buy and when running it doesn’t want to vibrate off on a walk. I’ve not used it on the caravan yet, but hopefully I won’t have to in September before our next trip.
Generally I always think you get what you pay for and 99% of the time this is definitely true but for £21.99 + VAT (£26.38) maybe I have just got that 1% bargain. So for now it’s back in its bag, in the boot of the Freelander… I’ll let you know how it’s holding up next time I have to use it.