The US. Department of Transportation recommends properly inflating your tires to prevent more serious damages like tire failure and increased treadwear, as well as extending the life of the tires by over 4500 miles, but finding free air for your tires on the road is becoming more and more problematic.
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If you’ve been desperately Googling “free air near me” with no success, this post should help you get a clearer picture of what to expect on the road and give you a list of places nearby where you can fill up your tires at no cost.
Do All Gas Stations Offer Free Air?
Around 20 years ago, almost all gas stations offer free air. Now, many gas stations only provide paid air pumps, which would cost you $1 to $2 per fill.
In some cases, gas stations provide free air IF you bought fuel first.
However, this doesn’t mean that gas stations with free air are non-existent. They’re still around. You just have to plan ahead to move your route around a bit.
In addition, some states require gas stations to have air pump facilities in place.
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What States Require Free Air at Gas Stations?
Connecticut and California laws require:
- Every service station in the state to provide during operating hours, water, compressed air, and a gauge for measuring air pressure to the public for use in servicing any passenger or commercial vehicle.
- These air and water services are made available at no cost to customers who purchase motor vehicle fuel.
- A sign near the compressor notifying people of their rights.
Unfortunately, not all gas stations follow this guideline. And if they did, the sign is often hidden, too small to read, or not posted at all.
Beyond Connecticut and California, some cities like Baltimore also have a law requiring gas stations to let you put air in your tires for free.
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20 Places with Free Air Pumps Nationwide
Free air pumps are not exclusively found in gas stations. Even national tire stores, vehicle repair shops, convenience stores, and other commercial establishments could offer this service.
Note that some big chains with franchised locations may have different policies regarding free air.
1. America’s Tire (or Discount Tire)
Also known as Discount Tire outside of California, this tire company provides free tire air pressure checks.
In some locations, you would have to schedule an appointment first, but if you’re near a branch (out of 1,000 stores in 35 states) with a “free air check” sign, then you just fill up your tire at no charge.
2. Atlantic Tire and Service
This tire repair shop is the best option you have if you’re driving anywhere in North Carolina.
3. BJ’s Wholesale Club
This popular wholesale club has 219 locations in the country, but only 149 of them have gas stations with free air for your tires.
BJ’s Tire Center also provides complete tire services, so if you need to have yours repaired or replaced, this company can definitely help.
Your friendly neighborhood Costco may not be the store you’d have in mind when you’re having trouble with your tires, but any Costco that has a Tire Center location on site will also have air pumps in the parking lot.
You won’t need a membership card to use the air pump as they’re outside the store and available for anyone to use.
Aside from giving away free car inspections, this company also offers free tire checks. Do note that you’d have to pay for repairs if your tire actually has more serious damages.
If you’ve got car trouble while driving in the Midwest, find a GetGo near you. Owned by supermarket chain Giant Eagle, GetGo locations are equipped with automated tire check machines that anyone can use for free.
It's a giant box of free samples and it comes right to your door at no cost.
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There’s even a tutorial on YouTube on how to get free air from these machines.
Find a GetGo near you and make sure to filter the results for locations with free air.
(Good luck though because as a resident of Pittsburgh, more often than not, GetGo’s machines are out-of-service.)
7. Holiday Stationstores
This nationwide gas station has over 500 locations across Alaska, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming with most locations with air pumps you could use freely without paying a cent.
Hy-Vee stores offer free air. Available in eight Midwestern states (Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin), Hy-Vee stores offer free air with available diesel, ice, propane, and ATM.
Check this link to find a Hy-Vee near you.
9. Just Tires
Just Tires check the pressure of all four tires on your vehicle completely free of charge.
Expect the Just Tires crew to check for over- or under-inflation, check pressure-related damages (like leaks or tread wear), and bring tire pressure back to the PSI that meets your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.
Sounds awesome, right? You just need to set an appointment. This is ideal for non-emergencies or planned tire health checks.
All Kroger gas stations used to offer free pumps tore-inflate your tires, but today, only a few locations have this service at no cost.
You have to search from the Kroger Store Locator and tick the filter option with “gas station.”
11. Kum & Go
Kum & Go is a convenience store chain primarily located in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming).
The company is one of the last remaining stores in the Midwestern United States to offer free air pumps.
You can find a Kum & Go location near you by searching through its 400-strong stores across 11 states.
12. Kwik Trip
Like GetGo, Kwik Trip has fully-automated air pumps in the Midwest, so if you’re anywhere near Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and its other 600+ locations, find the nearest Kwik Trip stop here.
This chain of convenience stores in the New Jersey and New York areas has over 150 locations.
Enter a zip or choose a QuickChek stop from the map to find a location near you. Details of that specific location will pop up and you’ll see if that stop has free air, free wifi, beer, ATMs, fuel, diesel, Tesla charging station and other filters.
Air is free at QuikTrip. Plus there’s good pizza and gasoline at their 800+ locations as well.
You can find a QuikTrip stop across 11 states in the Midwest, Southeast and Southwest, so if you’re driving anywhere around Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas, you can use their store locator to find the QuikTrip closest to you.
Don’t forget to choose the filter “free air” under “Services” tab, so you can find the stops with a pump available.
15. Royal Farms
This gas station/convenience store has over 200 stores on the East Coast with all locations with a gasoline station offers free air.
You can check the nearest store here.
16. Sam’s Club
If you have a membership from Sam’s Club, not only can you have access to free air for your tires, but they will even repair them if needed, regardless if you bought those tires from Sam’s Club or not.
Enter a zip code, city or state to find the Sam’s Club nearest you. Make sure to tick the “Auto & Tires” box to filter your results.
Sheetz is a convenience store with 500+ locations across these six states: Maryland, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
Check the nearest Sheetz branch to get free air for your tires.
18. Stewart’s Shop
Stewart’s Shop offers free air from any of its 300 locations in New York and Vermont.
While you’re here, don’t miss Stewart’s Shop’s Flavors of the week ice cream! They’re pretty awesome.
To all my PA readers, I didn’t place Sheetz above Wawa because I think it’s better. This list is in alphabetical order.
Wawa has free air service at its 850+ locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, and Washington, D.C. Find a Wawa near you.
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The Bottom Line
If you don’t want to take chances hunting down free air pumps in the city and would rather just pay up, here are two options for you to pay using free money:
- Use gas money – Learn how to get free gas and free gas cards, then use some of your gas money for inflating your tires.
- Use gift cards – Check out these easy methods of how to receive free gift cards. If the gas stations around your area are picky with gift cards, you could stick with a Visa gift card instead.
I hope you get to use this list, especially if you’re facing an emergency. Don’t forget to bookmark my free towing guide – another resource I’m sure drivers would appreciate.