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Hands-On: Check Tire Pressure With VIAIR RV Air Compressor

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

Proper maintenance procedures suggest that tire pressure should be checked frequently. It’s prudent to verify – and adjust, if necessary – tire pressure (including the spare, which is commonly overlooked) before setting out on any trip. The problem is, pressure should be checked while the tires are cold and unless you have a compressor at home or on board, you’ll have to drive somewhere to get air, which heats up the tires. The solution is to have some sort of portable compressor handy, such as the VIAIR 400PA-RV – an automatic shut-off model designed specifically for RV use.

VIAIR has been a player in the portable air compressor field for a long time and is known for its high-quality products. The company’s 400PA-RV kit features a 12-volt DC air compressor powered via a fused set of alligator clips.

For dispersing the pressurized air, a tire inflation gun with a 130-psi inline gauge and bleeder valve is provided to make the process simple and accurate. The inflation gun has two filling chucks: a 45-degree extended-reach hard chuck (ideal for dual wheels) and a handy 90-degree twist-on. The manufacturer includes everything in one convenient heavy-duty carry bag that holds the compressor, filling attach­ments and the included primary and extension hoses. The hoses, when connected, supply more than a 60-foot reach from the compressor, which allows access to the tires regard­less of where the compressor connects to the battery. And all the components easily fit back in the bag without frustration.

  To use the 400PA-RV, simply attach the aforementioned cushion grip alligator clips to a battery and hook up the hose and air chuck. All the fittings and hoses connect using quick-connect air couplings similar to the ones used in auto repair shops. The automatic shut-off function turns the compressor off between fillings, without having to disconnect the battery clips.

The performance of the 400PA-RV lived up to our expectations. The compressor, for example, was able to fill a tire from 0 psi to 70 psi in five minutes and 50 seconds. This model compressor has a 33-percent duty cycle, meaning it can run continuously for 15 minutes at 100 psi (72 degrees) before needing 30 minutes rest time. It’s unlikely owners will experience shutdown mode since the compressor will usually be used to top off the tires, which only takes a few minutes. The compressor has a maximum working pressure of 150 psi.

We especially liked the gun-style inflation tool and gauge. It was far more stable filling through the use of the gun versus an average hose and chuck. Couple the gun with the two quick-connect hoses and the VIAIR 400PA-RV kit is a home run for RVers looking to maintain proper air pressure, on the road or at home. The kit can be purchased through online retailers for about $280.

For more information, call 949-585-0011, or visit www.viaircorp.com.

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