Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on The Penny Hoarder.
Car ownership comes with lots of expenses, both big and small. Putting air in your tires is one of those small — yet annoying — costs.
Most gas stations charge anywhere from $1.50 to $2.50 for five minutes of compressed air, usually payable by credit card or the random spare change hiding under your floor mats.
But wouldn’t free air be even better?
Luckily, a handful of gas station chains, tire shops and other locations offer free air pumps as a way to draw in customers.
If your low tire pressure light comes on, there are several places you can stop to get free air for your tires.
Stay safe — and save money — by checking out these places next time you hit the road.
1. Discount Tire
With more than 1,100 locations in 38 states, Discount Tire is one of the largest independent tire shops in the country.
Any driver can pull up to a Discount Tire to check their tire pressure and top it off with free air at no cost.
2. Warehouse Clubs
Both of these chains have numerous locations across the country, many of which are equipped with tire shops.
Members get to enjoy other car maintenance perks too, including free tire balance and rotation at Sam’s Club.
Wawa is one of the largest gas station chains in the country that offers free compressed air at all of its locations — and the best gas station coffee. Unfortunately, locations are concentrated on the East Coast.
Wawa has more than 1,000 locations in Washington, D.C., and six states — Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida.
4. Firestone Complete Auto Care
Firestone Complete Auto Care — with more than 1,700 locations nationwide — will give you a free tire inspection, check your tire pressure and refill your tires at no cost.
They’re hoping you’ll opt for a tire rotation or a new set of spark plugs while you’re there — but there’s absolutely no obligation to buy anything.
5. Goodyear Auto Services
Like Firestone, Goodyear is a tire manufacturer with hundreds of service stations across the country.
These competitors share another similarity: Free air for your tires.
Pull in to any Goodyear Auto Service shop, and a technician will check your PSI and bring your tires to the right pressure. They’ll even look for leaks and other tire damage while they’re at it.
6. Les Schwab
With hundreds of locations across the West, Les Schwab Tire Centers will check and properly inflate your tires for free.
You can also get a free pre-trip safety check and basic checks on your brakes, alignment and battery.
7. Your Local Mechanic Shop
Your local tire shop or garage probably doesn’t advertise free air for tires.
But if you have a dangerously low tire PSI, you can always pull into the nearest mechanic shop, explain your situation and they’ll likely let you air up your own tires for free.
8. Car Dealership
Some car dealerships will offer free oil changes, free car washes and, yes, free air for your tires if you purchased your vehicle at the dealership.
Even if you didn’t buy your vehicle there, car dealerships may give you a free air check in a pinch, especially if you are in a model from their specific automaker (a Chrysler dealership will almost certainly fill the tires of your Chrysler vehicle, even if you did not buy the car there).
It’s not a guarantee though, so call ahead and check.
9. Other Places To Get Free Air
Gas stations tend to be fairly regional. Smaller companies might offer free air for your tires, so it doesn’t hurt to ask your local Facebook or Nextdoor group for a local gas station recommendation.
Here are some other gas station and tire shop chains where you can find free air pumps:
- Big O Tires
- Just Tires
- Kum & Go
- Royal Farms
- Stewart’s Shop
10. These 2 States Offer Free Air for Tires at Gas Stations
Drivers in California and Connecticut enjoy a nice, albeit random, perk written into state law — free air for tires at local gas stations.
In California, any driver who purchases fuel at a gas station can receive free air for their tires.
In Connecticut, gas stations are required to provide free air “to any individual requesting to use it to inflate tires,” so no purchase required. In both cases, the free air is only available during normal business hours.
Traveling to Florida? All state rest stops offer free air for your tires as well.
A handy website called Freeairpump.com makes it easy to find free air for your tires.
You can search this user-generated map of free air spots near you by either sharing your location or entering your ZIP code.
Freeairpump.com has detailed information on more than 12,000 businesses offering free air nationwide, so there’s a good chance you’ll find a place within driving distance.
If you find a place offering free air, you can submit it and get it added to the map. Likewise, if a business is no longer offering free air, you can contact the site and they’ll remove it.
Why Is Correct Tire Pressure So Important?
Proper tire inflation not only saves you money on gas, it can also save your life.
Low air pressure can lead to a flat tire, blowout or the tread coming off your tire. In 2021, a total of 622 people died on the road in tire-related crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Here are some tips for checking the air pressure of your vehicle’s tires:
- Check the air pressure of all tires, including your spare tire, at least once a month.
- Keep a tire pressure gauge in your car. You can find these devices for less than $5 at places like Amazon and Walmart.
- Check your tires when they’re cold, meaning your car has been turned off for at least three hours.
- You can find the proper air inflation for your tires — measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) — on the tire and loading information label on the driver’s side door edge or in your owner’s manual.
Monitor your air pressure and look for a place that offers free air to save money — and stay safe — on the road.