Keeping your tyres correctly inflated saves fuel, reduces your chances of a puncture or blow-out and improves your car’s handling. It also maximises the lifespan of your tyres.
Unfortunately, tyres do not stay correctly inflated without a little help from you, the driver. Even a sound tyre with no punctures will lose up to 2psi of air each month – that’s between 5% and 10% of the required pressure in a typical car tyre and is enough to affect your fuel consumption. This is one reason to check your tyres at least once a month.
Tyre pressures change with the seasons, too. Warm weather in summer will boost your tyre pressure while freezing winter temperatures will reduce it – air pressure rises with temperature. You should always check your tyre pressures when your tyres are cold – when your car has not been driven for several hours or more (tyres get hot when you drive). You car’s user manual will specify the correct tyre pressures for your car and you should check these regularly.
Checking your tyres when they are cold can be a bit awkward, as to use a garage pump, you will have to drive to it. The solution is to purchase a foot pump of your own. These are pretty cheap and small and can save you from being stranded as a result of a slow puncture or flat spare tyre. They also make it very convenient to check tyre pressures at home.
I’ve owned a few foot pumps over the years and there have been noticeable differences between them. Some are really poorly made, hard to use and have inaccurate gauges. Some, like the Michelin single barrel foot pump I’m reviewing here, are well made, easy to use and have accurate gauges.
Michelin Single Barrel Foot Pump
Unlike many cheap pumps, the Michelin pump has a stiff, strongly-made metal framework with a broad, rubber-covered pedal. It also has grippy, rubber-covered feet.
All of this means that the pump doesn’t move around under your foot when you are trying to pump – it stays put and the pedal’s large tread plate means that your foot has a stable, grippy surface to push down on.
This pump has a clear, analogue gauge that shows the pressure in both PSI and bars – so you can use whichever measure of pressure is specified in your car’s user manual.
I’ve been using mine regularly for more than a year now and so far have been impressed with its quality and with gauge, which seems more accurate than others have I used. This pump has also come top of Auto Express product reviews twice, scoring high on accuracy and on speed of inflation.
This Michelin single barrel foot pump can be had for just £14.99 from Halfords at the time of writing.
It’s a good quality bit of kit that I have been using for more than a year without problems. I would recommend that all motorists keep a foot pump in their boots – not only does it make it easy to check your tyres but it may help you get home one day without having to wait for breakdown assistance.