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Michelin Programmable Fast Flow Digital Tyre Inflator Review

The 195/60 R15 tyre of my Toyota Corolla was inflated from 27 PSI to 32 PSI in well under a minute.

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Michelin Programmable Fast Flow Digital Tyre Inflator Review

Introduction

A tyre inflator is one of the most important gadgets you could buy for your car. It is especially useful while touring when you might not be able to find a working air pump. Also remember, the best time to inflate your car's tyres is in the morning when they are cold. A good tyre inflator will help you maintain the proper air pressure as you don't need to drive to a pump every time. Various companies make these and among them, Michelin is a trusted name. The French company is well known for its quality products and the 'Programmable Fast Flow Digital Tyre Inflator 12266' that we are reviewing is no exception.

Appearance, Size & Build

The inflator looks good in black with a piano black panel at the front. On the right is a long power cord measuring 300 cm (about 10 ft), while on the left is an air hose measuring 60 cm (about 2 ft). These can be neatly tucked into dedicated grooves on the sides of the unit. At the rear are the instructions to operate the inflator and slots where the additional valve connectors are housed.

The tyre inflator is quite a compact item and light to carry around. It measures 21.3 cm x 19 cm x 9 cm and occupies very little space in a car boot.

The inflator is well-built and feels sturdy. The finish of the product is also top-notch with no rough edges anywhere. The switches are decently sized and are easy to press. The quality of the air hose is fine too.

Features

The piano black panel at the front houses a 12V power outlet on the left, a 5V USB port on the right and a large yellow ON/OFF switch in the middle. An air-pressure digital display is placed below. The inflator is equipped with a pre-set feature which helps you to set the required pressure beforehand. A switch to increase or decrease the desired pressure is on the left and a reset button is on the right. The reset button can also be used to toggle between the unit of measure (PSI / BAR / kPa). Five tiny but bright LED lamps are located below the display screen. The switch to operate these is located to the right of the reset button.

Application

The Michelin tyre inflator can be used to inflate tyres of cars, motorcycles, trailers, caravans and bicycles. You can also use it to inflate footballs, toys and other inflatable items. The maximum tyre inflation pressure for cars is 50 PSI and bicycle tyres can be inflated up to 100 PSI. Note that higher pressures can be achieved in cycle tyres due to their smaller air volumes compared to car tyres.

Price

Priced at Rs. 3,995 on Amazon, the Michelin tyre inflator is not as cheap as some other inflators. But considering the brand value of Michelin, the quality of the product and the functionality, I will not call it overpriced.

How to use the tyre inflator

Plug the power cord into the 12V power outlet in your car. The 10 ft long power cord ensures that the inflator can reach any tyre of the vehicle with ease. Screw the nozzle of the air hose onto the valve of the tyre.

Turn the key to "accessory" mode and the display screen comes alive. Now use the "+" and "-" buttons to pre-set the desired tyre pressure and press the yellow ON/OFF switch. The inflator immediately starts pumping up the tyre. Once the pre-set pressure is reached, the inflator switches off on its own. Once done, unscrew the nozzle from the valve.

Inflation Time

Michelin claims that the Programmable Fast Flow Digital Tyre Inflator 12266 can manage to inflate a tyre from flat to 30 PSI in ~3 minutes. I find this claim reasonable. The 195/60 R15 tyre of my Toyota Corolla was inflated from 27 PSI to 32 PSI in well under a minute. That is very quick compared to another wired inflator that I have been using.

Noise, Vibrations & Heating

Like all portable tyre inflators, the Michelin inflator makes an irritating noise while operating. This is particularly disturbing if your surroundings are quiet. That said, it is not as loud as some of the cheaper inflators. Again, while it does vibrate, it does not dance around as much as the cheaper inflators. Even after inflating all four tyres of the car on a hot November afternoon, the inflator did not heat up.

Shortcomings

While the Michelin tyre inflator is one of the best available in the market, it has some negatives as well. For a start, Michelin says that this inflator should not be used to inflate space saver tyres.

Then, one must ensure that there is a 12V power socket around. While most cars have a 12V socket, those trying to inflate tyres of motorcycles, bicycles and items such as footballs could find powering the inflator difficult. Again, when you are dealing with long cables, shifting the inflator from the right side of the car to the left or vice-versa becomes tedious. You need to unplug it, walk around the car with the inflator, cables and all, plug it back in and turn the key to accessory mode. One has to also ensure that the front door of the car is always open as that's where the power cord comes out from.

Coming to the nozzle, the screw-type fitting system is fiddly and takes time. If there are salt deposits or other sediments on the valve of the tyre, the nozzle might not fit till you first clean the threading on the valve. Another wired inflator that I have used has a nozzle similar to one found in air pumps found at petrol stations. It also has a piece of plastic that can be flipped up to lock the nozzle in place, which is a much easier mechanism to use.

Piano black panel with 12V and USB power outlets, switches, digital display and LEDs:

Power cord is neatly folded and tucked away in a groove on the right...

...while the air hose sits on the left:

Instructions for use are pasted on the rear:

Valve adapters for different applications are housed below:

A 12V power outlet is the only way to power up the inflator:

One can switch between PSI, kPa and Bar:

Five bright LEDs help if you need to operate the inflator in the dark:

The 10 ft long power cord and the 2 ft long air hose ensure that the inflator can easily reach any tyre of the car:

Air hose needs to be screwed onto the valve just as you would a valve cap. This can be tricky if there are salt deposits on your tyre valve:

Set the desired air pressure using the "+" and "-" pre-set buttons:

Press the big yellow switch to start filling air in the tyre. The inflator does make a noise while filling, but it's not as loud as other inflators I have used. It's also quite quick at filling air:

Once the pressure reaches the desired PSI, the inflator will switch off on its own:

An extra fuse has been provided:

Here's what GTO had to say about the matter:

Bought this inflator based on a recommendation from Akshay1234 a couple of years back. Works like a charm and has saved me thrice, by inflating a punctured tyre and getting me to the tyre shop without any damage (or changing to a spare). Works best on tyres with slow punctures. It is permanently parked in the boot of my car & taken along on all road trips if I'm travelling in a different car.

Thread inspiration taken from Androdev's awesome Bosch C7 charger thread.

Here's what BHPian kiran_aithal had to say about the matter:

I have been using this product for the last 6 to 7 years (at least) and every time it works like a charm. Very user-friendly and compact to store. Inflates 10 psi to 36 psi in a couple of mins (just used it yesterday on my Alto).

Here's what BHPian Everlearner had to say about the matter:

I'm using a Windek inflator from 2017 and is working fine. The only problem is screwing and unscrewing the nozzle is a pain. I had posted a query on the other inflator thread as well.

The solution by Parsh looks interesting. Quoted Rs.599 on Amazon and I'm planning to order one. It will be good to know more feedback on this if anyone has used it.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

 
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