9 Ways To Get Free Air For Tires (Near Me)

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Owning a car is expensive. In 2018, the average cost of owning a new vehicle was $8,849, which works out to a whopping $737 per month! When you’re spending that kind of money just to have four wheels, you need to get all the free stuff you can. Luckily, air is still free, and we’ve put together 9 easy ways to get free air for tires.

When Do You Need Air?

If all you know about cars is how to drive one, you might think the answer is “When the tire is flat,” (that’s what I thought!) but that’s not the answer the judges are looking for. Your back up answer might be “When the tire pressure monitor on the dashboard is lit up,” but this is wrong too.

Checking the air pressure on your tires should be part of a monthly maintenance routine because most dashboard monitors only alert you if the tire pressure drops 25% below of the recommended tire pressure which you can find on the stick inside your driver’s side door. Most car tires have a recommended PSI of 35, so the alert light won’t come on until the pressure falls below 26 pounds. With a slow leak, the PSI could hover just above the 25% mark for a long time.

You can buy a tire gauge to regularly check your tire pressure at most big box stores and auto parts stores.

Where Can I Find Free Air For Tires Near Me?

Anyone reading this (and me writing it) is probably too young to remember the days of full-service gas stations. You pulled into the gas station, drove over a cord that triggered a ding inside the station and an attendant came bounding out to not only pump your gas but to wash your windshield, check your oil, check the air pressure on your tires and fill them up if need be.

Those days are long gone, but for many years, you could still pull into most gas stations, check your own tire pressure and fill them up with air for free. Seemingly, everything has a price these days, and in most cases, that includes air for tires. But if you know where to go, you can still find free air for tires.

1. It’s a Regional Thing

It pays (or saves) to live in certain states and to patronize certain regional gas stations and grocery stores. California and Connecticut both require gas stations to provide free air for drivers. In California though, you must be a paying customer, so unless you buy gas, the gas station can charge you for air.

We’ve grown accustomed to not having to enter a gas station because of pay at the pump terminals, but some compressors require payment unless you enter the station and ask an employee to turn it on.

There are regional gas station brands that provide free air. You can find a list of them at FreeAirPump.com. Click on “Free air near me” at the top of the page. This will bring up a map with all the locations offering free air. You can quickly find free air in your area by entering a zip code into the search bar.

I only found one in my area, and I live in New Orleans! I entered my parent’s town, a much, much smaller place than New Orleans and found two! Go figure. I thought maybe in their area it was “Mom and Pop” gas stations offering free air. One was, but the other was a Shell station.

FreeAirPump.com lets you add new locations so if you find a place offering free air for tires, do your fellow drivers a solid and add it to the site.

If you’re lucky enough to dwell in the land of Wawa, you are lucky indeed. Not only do you have access to excellent sandwiches, enough different types of coffee and coffee drinks to compete with Starbucks, and delicious ice cream, Wawa stores offer free tire air 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

2. Get Free Air For Tires During Oil Change

If you’re still left wondering “where can I find free air for tires near me?” – you may not have to look further than the mechanic shop you use to get your regular oil changes.

Well, if you do change your own oil, keep doing it because doing so is an excellent way to save money. But if you go to an oil change place to have someone else do it for you, ask if they offer free air for tires with an oil change. And then ask if they offer free air refills for regular customers between oil changes. It never hurts to ask!

3. Go to the Source

If you’ve had to replace a tire or tires, the tire shop that sold them to you may offer free air for tires. If you’ve been scrounging around for free air for your tires frequently, while you’re at the shop, ask for a tire inspection.

You probably have a leak which the shop can detect and patch. The patch job won’t be free, but you won’t have to worry about getting a flat.

4. Put Some Muscle Into It

Do you ride a bike? If you do, you probably have a bike pump. If you don’t need to top your tire up too much, a bike bump can be a stop-gap way to get the job done. It’s not a permanent solution though unless you’re looking to get super jacked arms because trying to fill a tire with an air pump completely is like trying to blow up an inflatable mattress with your mouth!

5. Reddit, Is There Anything It Can’t Do?

If you live in a town that has its own subreddit, check there for places to get free air to put in your tires. In fact, it may come up without even having to go to Reddit. When I Googled “Free air for tires near me” the New Orleans subreddit answering the question was the fourth result with seven separate posts!

6. At the Car Wash

That’s a song from the disco era. It’s also a place you may be able to find free air for your tires. Both automatic and hand wash car wash locations sometimes offer free air just as they provide free vacuums.

7. Your Mechanic

Having a good mechanic is just as important as having a good doctor. A good mechanic can give your car years of additional life and save you from buying a lemon of a used car. If you’re a long time customer of a mechanic, he or she may be willing to provide free air for tires.

8. Your Dealer

If you buy your cars from a dealer rather than on the private market, you may have developed a relationship with the dealership over the years as you buy and sell cars and bring your vehicles in for scheduled maintenance. If that’s the case, your dealership may be happy to provide you with free air.

If your car is under warranty, check the terms. Having your air pressure tested and filling your tires when necessary may be considered a part of regular maintenance.

9. Your Credit Card

I always encourage my friends who are planning a vacation to check out the benefits each of their credit cards offer and based on the best perks, to pay for their flights, hotels, ground transport, etc. with the best card.

Unless you’re a hardcore credit card nerd, you probably have no idea of the great perks some cards offer. There are dozens of different credit cards, and the companies provide these perks as a way to stand out among all that competition.

One of the perks some credit cards offer is free roadside assistance. Obviously, this is meant to be used in an emergency, but if you happened to be driving and have a tire leaking air and you’re far from anywhere to get air, free or otherwise, it would be appropriate to use this service.

Free Air for Tires: A Permanent Solution

I’m all for getting free stuff, but regularly worrying about where I can find free air for tires near me can get time-consuming if there aren’t that many options. There is actually a time-saving solution – but it’s a little more costly.

You can buy a portable air compressor for about $35. It plugs into the cigarette lighter and takes less than two minutes to use. Because sometimes your time is more valuable than money!