The Little Gauge Which Saves You Big Money

The latest vehicles flash a warning light when tire pressure drops dangerously low but provide no clue on proper inflation.

Why are properly inflated tires important?

Tires set to the recommended air pressure last longer, provide better fuel economy and offer superior handling to underinflated ones.

A tire pressure gauge allows you to measure pressure accurately. Guessing when using a filling station's air compressor or just estimating pressure visually risks tire damage.

Digital, backlit and sometimes even programmable--modern tire pressure gauges hardly resemble the stick gauges of yesteryear.

And getting an accurate measurement of PSI--pounds per square inch--can be tricky. Tire pressure gauges come in a variety of compositions and some are far easier to use than others. Some are digital. Some have hoses. Some have a dial. Some utilize a stick that pops out like a turkey baster. There’s even some that talk.

How do you find a reliable gauge that will give you an accurate reading?

As with anything, quality comes first. Gauges built with a metallic or brass mechanical gauge will always prove most durable and reliable, according to Accutire Gauge, a Virginia-based manufacturer of tire pressure gauges.

Accutire offers the following tips for buying and using a tire pressure gauge.

  • The manufacturer recommends a specific air pressure for your make and model. That figure is found in the owner’s manual and the inside panel of the driver’s side door.
  • Check your tire pressure monthly and before long drives.
  • Don’t forget to check the spare.
  • Test when the tires haven’t been driven on for a few hours for the most accurate reading. Heat causes air to expand, making measurements from a warm tire unreliable. This is also why air shouldn’t be added to warm tires.
  • Use a device with a metallic or brass mechanical gauge for best results.

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