Stealing air from car tires with a homemade two-headed hose…it’s simple and easy and the guys over on Lifehacker will tell you how. Shoot, it’s actually so easy that I can tell you how. The only items you will require to pull this wonderful hack off are two chucks (pump heads) and a length of air hose. The acquisition of these items is pretty simple — just ask your local bike shop to order you a replacement air hose of any variety, along with an extra head. Just looking briefly at my Bontrager Charger pump here, I can see how easy it would be to pull off. So easy I could do it. And that means it’s REALLY easy. Now it seems like the guys over at Lifehacker have taken some heat for merely suggesting that you should hook your awesome-new-air-hose up to a Hummer to steal some air, and I’m here to draw some of that heat by saying YES, you should totally steal air from cars. Especially Hummers. And extra-especially the big, lame, yellow ones. Why? Because some people deserve it (like yellow Hummer drivers), and besides, “Air Theft” will never hold up in court.

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Really, how can someone steal air? How can you steal something that has no value? Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines theft as:

the act of stealing; specifically : the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it

Can one OWN air? Is that a thing? OK, ya, it probably is. I guess there are such things as No-Fly-Zones, but that involves someone being in the air-area of someone else, not the removal of said air. What’s the worst that can happen? You have to put the air back in the victim’s tires? Or do you pay him back in air? It’s nothing like siphoning gas out of someone’s gas tank…is it? These are some deep, well though out questions.

Living in a city like Somerville, Massachusetts we have a lot of issues pertaining to parking, particularly when it snows. Once people has shoveled out a parking spot, they often lay claim to it by placing a chair, or a trash can, or a large barrel labeled “toxic waste” in it (that is not a joke). If another driver has the audacity to remove that place-saving object to park his own car there…wow-wow-wee-wow, watch out! We’re talking tire slashing, window smashing, hood bashing fun here. The parking spot saving, car-vandalizing person in this equation has definitely done something illegal, no question…but is it WRONG? I mean he has attacked another person’s car because they “stole” something from him that never belonged to him in the first place — a parking spot — but he put a whole bunch of back-breaking labor into creating that parking spot, he absolutely has a right to be homicidally-pissed, but lacks non-highly-illegal recourse.

But now, with this two-headed-hose-hack, the vehicle-assailant has another, less legally black and white option — he can “steal” something from the parking spot thief which may not (or may) belong to him — AIR. “Hey D-Bag, give me back my parking spot, and I’ll give you back your air, alright.”

All I know is that my neighbor with the yellow Hummer better watch out this winter.


  1. Most car tyres are at about 35 PSI (240kPa), so thats the most you will get off them.

    BUT – trucks will be running much higher pressures, so you could use those to go higher. A regulator or slow release valve would be required though. 120 psi into a downhill tyre would make a big bang.

  2. 30psi will work for a mountainbike and lorry tyres can be as high as 100psi. Plus the amount of air you need is so small that you are unlikely to seriously reduce the pressure in the “donor” tyre…. however the idea that this is “new” is laughable…. but typically a mini pump is smaller and lighter…

  3. I like to think of myself as environmentally conscious because I ride a bike. Now, if I steal air out of car tires I’m contributing to more carbon emissions by causing those that I’m stealing from to drive on tires with lower pressure. Not to mention if I steal from the nice lady with the two kids next door, I’m essentially making it more dangerous to drive her kids to school. Brillant article guys.

    “the average person who drives 12,000 miles yearly on under-inflated tires uses about 144 extra gallons of gas, at a cost of $300-$500 a year. And each time one of those gallons of gas is burned, 20 pounds of carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere as the carbons in the gas are released and combine with the oxygen in the air. As such, any vehicle running on soft tires is contributing as much as 1.5 extra tons (2,880 pounds) of greenhouse gases to the environment annually. “

  4. Who the hell is anyone to think that they are better than anyone else because of what they drive? I bike, it’s my favorite thing to do, I also drive a lifted truck and drive 30k miles a year. Come, steal my air for your bike, I hope I don’t catch you. Where I’m from messing with someone’s truck/SUV/car can leave you with a more serious problem than carbon emmisions. Instead of being a douche to all the people you think are douches let’s treat each other with some respect.

  5. @Uri:

    oh, if you want to bring SCIENCE into it…you’re no fun.

    @ Professore and Ben:

    Disclaimer: This article may contain satire and irony.
    With nearly two generations raised on programs like The Simpsons, I thought I no longer needed to place that label on things.

  6. Why is this getting so much coverage?
    As Uri mentioned it will only get `32 PSI into your tires. In most cases this means that you will be letting air out of your tires and putting them into the car.

  7. seriously, this is an idiot idea. Let’s all ride around while making cars more Dangerous and Inefficient, and give motorists another reason to hate us two wheelers… All while making our bike tires, barely, ridable. And unless your stupid enough to mess with a truckers tires for more PSI – if one of those blokes caught you doing that, your name might be “sally” for a while. Or just a trip to the ER and the bike shop to get another bike since they smashed yours.

    ThomP: it might have been wise on your part to explain that this article from Lifehacker is part of “evil week” given the looming holiday. It would add a bit more of the elbow-in-ribs style that I think you were shooting for. Even wiser to not publish it.

  8. Yeah I get the whole ‘pressure in = pressure out’ thing… but wouldn’t the weight of the car pressing down on the deflating tyre push more air out?

    Don’t you squeeze an inflatable item to get the last bit of air out of it?

  9. Just ask the owner/driver to donate you the air, if you have a flat I am bloody sure one will help, Further whats so heavy about 2 x CO2 canisters?

  10. This is kind of silly. I thought cyclists were against laziness. Hell you give us moped riders a hard look all the time. Buy a Co2 inflator, those work really well. Oh wait, Oh gee! CO2 causes global warming! HAHAHHAHHAHHAHA. Trees and plants use carbon dioxide. You hippies are so full of yourselves you slosh when you walk!

  11. You know what would fill a bike tire nice and quickly? The space shuttle. It runs 300psi tires full of nitrogen. Now we’re going to have a bunch of weight weenies trying to fill their tubes with nitrogen to shave those last few parts of a gram and endangering our now defunct shuttle program. Thanks Thom, thanks for helping cyclists ruin space exploration for everyone.

  12. You guys are missing out on one major factor… VOLUME. Ever try to pump up your car tire with a bike pump? It take at least 10 times as many pumps.. Thats why it is called Pounds per Square Inch…
    Your probably taking half a psi out of a hummer tire if your airing up your mtb. Not make it dangerous or Inefficient. If I were a person in the back seat of that car I would be way more worried about the driver on a cell phone or speeding than a cyclist taking air out.

    Since professore likes doing math, maybe he can tell you answer to this. If a hummer tire is inflated to 40 psi, how many 26×2.00 mtb tires can you fill to 30psi before the hummer tire reaches a psi that is considered underflated.

    My guess is that professore is about as green as a fluorescent light bulb… If you do not get that joke look up mercury and how many house hold users properly dispose of fluorescent bulbs…..

  13. > ThomP – 10/28/10 – 5:44pm
    > Disclaimer: This article may contain satire and irony.
    > With nearly two generations raised on programs like The
    > Simpsons, I thought I no longer needed to place that label on things.

    Many people are still suckered by Poe’s Law (

    > gwbushwetsthebed – 10/28/10 – 8:32pm
    > seriously, this is an idiot idea. Let’s all ride around while making
    > cars more Dangerous and Inefficient,

    It’s an idiot idea, but not because it makes cars more inefficient or dangerous. The volume of air you would pull out of a car tire is negligible, so much so that there is more pressure differential created when you start your car on a frosty morning then drive out to north hampton for a ‘cross race, on the pike at 80 miles an hour because you’re late. It’s an idiot idea because it would only get you whatever pressure is in the car tire – fine for a 2.0 MTB tire but not very useful for a road bike, and is _certainly_ illegal without the permission of the vehicle owner.

    > Smythe – 10/28/10 – 9:30pm
    > Yeah I get the whole ‘pressure in = pressure out’ thing…
    > but wouldn’t the weight of the car pressing down on the deflating tyre push more air out?
    > Don’t you squeeze an inflatable item to get the last bit of air out of it?

    No. If you recall, you check your tire pressure with the weight of the car already on the tire. The fluid dynamics involved with an inflatable device are dependent upon a great many things. It feels like you get more pressure when you squeeze your blow-up doll, but in reality there isn’t much more than a few pounds of pressure in such things to begin with so squeezing it greatly increases the pressure differential, making it seem like you’re getting much greater pressure but you’re really only increasing it by a couple of pounds. In order to get the same effect from a car tire, you would need to increase the external pressure by a non-linear factor based on a combination of the internal volume and pressure of the tire, and the fact that you’re distributing the cars weight between four tires (the quaternary root of the force of the car). At least, I think that’s how it works, I could be wrong.

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