Is It Safe To Drive My Car With Low Tire Pressure
Wed dont recommend driving your car for an extended period of time with low tire pressure. If your vehicle is equipped with TPMS and the light is on, youll want to address the issue as soon as possible. Low tire pressure not only results in uneven wear on the tire, it increases the risk of getting a flat or even a blowout.
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What Customers Are Saying
Few reviews for the Intercomp glow-in-the-dark tire pressure gauge are available on Amazon, but its ratings are strong at 4.4 stars. Other Intercomp analog gauges are highly rated as well. Although this glow-in-the-dark Intercomp is last on our list of the best tire pressure gauges, the companys reputation carries enough weight for this device to make the cut.
Best Dual Head Truck Tire Gaugemeasureman 360
An easy tool that can fit in a tool bag pocket or glove box with room to spare, this pencil gauge by Measureman is as slimline as it is economical. As Amazons Choice for one of the best 36-degree swivel-chuck tire gauges, this dual-head unit is impressively heavy-duty, and, according to many of its five-star reviews, precise too.
While not as accurate as a digital version, its dual head allows easier access to the tire valve, and one satisfied shopper wrote, It’s just like the air gauge they use at repair shops, while another added, I use it on my class C RV before every excursion and find it accurate, easy to use on my valve stems. Additionally, it is easy to handle.
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Best Digital Tire Pressure Gaugeastroai Digital Tire Pressure Gauge
If you prefer the convenience of a good digital unit, these digital gauges to form a good seal grip with the valve stem to get an optimal and quick reading. They have a backlit LCD display that shows the battery capacity as well as the reading, and they come with a brass valve. Its super simple to use, with one button for on/off and unit, and it will automatically shut off after around 30 seconds to save battery power.
I’m pleasantly surprised at how well this works, wrote one customer. The lighted digital readout is easy to read, and having the LED backlight also illuminate the valve contact point is a great idea. Makes it easy to use in my poorly lighted garage. I get consistent measurements when doing repeated pressure checks and the values seem to match closely with the remote pressure readouts that my car provides.
Most Accurate: Tiretek Premium Tire Pressure Gauge
Quality construction and simple operation make the TireTek gauge a solid choice.
Of all the gauges we tested, only TireTek lists the grade of ANSI B40.1 calibration, Grade B, which is the highest standard for consumer and commercial gauges. That means its rated for 3% accuracy, or ±1.2 PSI, from 15 to 45 PSI. Other gauges might be as accurate, and others in the AutoGuide Garage performed equally well, but without publishing the grading, you have no way of knowing. If it was as convenient to use as our top pick, it would be in the running for the #1 spot on our list.
Like most mechanical dial tire pressure gauges, it holds pressure and its reading until you release a valve. This lets you measure on the tire, but without the need to get your face down close to the valve stem. The two-inch face is surrounded by the typical rubber drop guard, and the rest of the construction is steel and plated brass. The face glows in the dark, but you need to shine a bright light on it first, so it wont work straight out of the glovebox. As 45-degree swiveling 5 mm chuck is more usable than a straight one, but it can be hard to get into some tight wheels. If you dont have the room for our top pick, this is a good choice for accuracy and dependability, and it has an excellent 92% positive rating from over 5,500 reviews.
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Tiretek Warranty And Customer Service
TireTek gauges have a 12 month warranty, which you can extend to a lifetime satisfaction warranty by registering your product on the TireTek site. There is a web form and customer service email, but no phone number.
How To Check Your Tire Pressure
Checking your cars tire pressure is a fairly straightforward and simple task. The easiest method is to use a tire pressure gauge that you can purchase online or at any automotive parts store for cheap. Its normally recommended to check your cars tire pressure levels when the tires are cold, or after the vehicle has been parked for at least three hours. Since friction causes heat, and heat increases tire pressure, doing a check after driving will likely give you an inaccurate figure. The recommended tire pressures you find in either the decal inside your drivers side door or in your owners manual refers to the tire pressure before you start driving.
Using the tire pressure gauge, remove your valve stem cap and simply place the gauge on the stem with some pressure. A number will appear on the gauge, and it never hurts to check it two or even three times to make sure you have an accurate reading. Once youve checked the tire pressure on all four tires, make sure to replace the valve stem cap.
Avoid gauges like this one that dont hold a reading when you remove them from the valve stem. Photo credit: David Traver Adolphus / AutoGuide.com
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How To Check Tire Pressure
Tires have been known to lose up to 1psi every month, so check all tires, including your spare, once a month .
Its easy. Heres how:
1. Purchase a trusted tire pressure gauge.
2. Check your tires coldbefore youve driven or at least three hours after youve driven.
3. Insert tire pressure gauge into the valve stem on your tire.
4. Compare the measured psi to the psi found on the sticker inside the drivers door of your vehicle or in the owners manual. DO NOT compare to the psi on your tires sidewall.
5. If your psi is above the number, let air out until it matches. If below, add air until it reaches the proper number.
Low pressure can lead to tire damage. See the inflation difference:
Type Of Tire Pressure Gauges
These days tire gauges take many different forms. Old-school car tire gauges are shaped like a pencil and have a metering shaft that pops out from the bottom, indicating air pressure. A pencil gauge can be a bit hard to read, as the numbers on the shaft are small and they aren’t super-accurate but they are virtually indestructible and highly portable.
Dial gauges are usually small, featuring a face that is about two inches in diameter. Often the dial is backlit so you can easily read it at night. They may or may not feature a length of hose. Dial gauges are more accurate than pencil gauges, but they may not be happy being bounced around in a glove box.
Digital gauges are the most accurate and very easy to read. Most will display air pressure in psi, kPa or bar . Once the tire gauge is pressed on to the valve stem, the gauge can read the pressure in two or three seconds. Digital gauges rely on batteries, so you’ll have to keep an eye on power levels.
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Check Tire Pressure With Your Gauge
Remove the valve cap from one of your tires. Then place the pressure gauge on the valve stem and press down hard enough so the hiss sound disappears and your gauge provides a reading. With a standard gauge, the air pressure will push a small bar out from the bottom of the gauge. Measurement units are etched into the bar. A digital gauge will show you the reading on a screen.
Write down the reading and repeat this process for all four tires.
Best Digital Tire Pressure Gauge With Bleederjaco Elite Digital Gauge
Promising an accurate reading every single time, the JACO Elite digital gauge is ANSI certified, rugged, and according to many happy reviewers, reliable too. It has a solid brass construction, and the 360-degree swivel angled tire chuck has an extended tip that provides a super tight seal on the tire valve stem.
Easy to read and the bleeder valve worked great, wrote one buyer. Worked well and I could get pressure to exactly what I needed it to be. Another customer added that its very well made, precise and that they particularly liked the air bleeder valve which they ended up using more than they thought they would.
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What Are The Benefits Of A Tire Pressure Gauge
One of the easiest things you can do to maintain the longevity of your tires is running them at the right air pressure. Maintaining the correct air pressure will allow the tires to wear optimally and will ensure your safety while driving. Using a tire pressure gauge is the way to determine proper air pressure.
Additionally, having the proper air pressure will improve your fuel economy, improve handling, and give you the best brake performance and smoothest ride possible.
Accutire Digital Tire Pressure Gauge
Accutire has a great reputation but some usability issues.
Accutire makes a classic and well known digital tire gauge, used by thousands of people for years. But there have been a number of running changes to the MS-4021B model that make it hard to know what youre getting. It has a very grippy butyl rubber handle that makes it easy to hold onto in wet or greasy conditions. The gauge reads in PSI only, from 5-150 PSI in 0.5 increments and is said to be accurate within 0.5 PSI. Accutire doesnt list any standard for this claim, but theyre well known as an accurate gauge.
It uses a fixed, 45° angled head, which would generally be useful for a fixed head design, if it were easier to know if you were actually getting a reading. It turns on automatically when it detects pressure from the valve stem, but we found it seldom measured on the first try. We had to remove it, then press it down again and hold it until it displayed a pressure reading. Then, the dimly lit display would turn off after 10 seconds, and its not bright enough to read in direct sunlight. Previous versions have looked different, and some have had an on-off button. Were not sure if our all-black version, as opposed to the typical black and gold, is a different model, but it has the same MS-4021B model number its had since 2014. Nevertheless, it has a good 84% positive rating and over 5,600 reviews.
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How Often Do I Need To Check My Tire Pressure
In general, you should check your tire pressures once a month. With that being said, it largely depends on your cars make and model. Generally, your tire pressure will naturally drop about 1 PSI per month. If you check your tire pressure and find that the PSI has drastically gone down, you may have a leak.
Newer vehicles often have digital tire pressure sensors, so you may not have to check the tire pressure unless there is a warning light. Of course, if you think your tire pressure might have dropped due to an external force such as hitting a curb, it is better to be safe and check.
Be sure to check your tires pressure prior to it being driven, as that will give the most accurate reading.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our lead tire pressure tester, Clark Tate, is a van lifer and mountain biker. She depends on reliable tools that can handle life on the road and is experienced using a tire gauge several times a day to set mountain bikes up for group rides. Clark also pays close attention to the tire pressure on her 1994 4×4 Toyota Hiace when she hits the highway or heads up rocky forest service roads. From dropping tire pressure to cut across Baja’s beaches at low tide to tuning the van up for a long road trip, Clark is no stranger to routine tire checks and late-night breakdowns .
We bought all the gauges, read through their user manuals, and created a test plan to evaluate their relative strengths and weaknesses. We handed them around to our car and motocross-obsessed friends to put decades of expertise to work for you. From the best glove compartment companion to the most consistently accurate, we tried to narrow down the list to help you keep your tires running smoothly and correctly inflated every time.
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Rhino Usa Heavy Duty Pressure Gauge
PSI Range::Units:REASONS TO BUY
Although the brass chuck can swivel 360 degrees and the construction feels reasonably solid, the Rhino USA Heavy Duty Pressure Gauge‘s braided hose picked up a concerning kink early on in our testing. The chuck is also shallower than the other tire gauge options, making it easier to accidentally release air than to get a solid pressure reading. While this gauge seems fairly accurate, every reading we took dropped. It still seems to work, but we like the other dial options better. The gauge face glows in the dark and is a little easier to read than the JACO model. Since it only measures to 75 PSI, its tick marks are conveniently spaced further apart.
Dial gauges generally require more care than the digital options in the test, but we were surprised at how quickly this one got damaged. If you want a dial gauge made in the US, this gauge certainly works, but we’re a little worried about its durability.
Make A Match Of The Tread Pattern To Ground Conditions
Thread patterns also affect tire performance. Therefore, it is important to match it to ground requirements for more stable operation. Worse damages may occur when thread pattern is not chosen properly, such as tire overheating, thread separation, and puncturing. To avoid this, make sure to remember and understand the numbers related to the tread depth of tires.
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Ease Of Pressure Check
A gauge’s accuracy is closely tied to how easy it is to use. If you can line it up consistently with the tire valve, you’re less likely to let unnecessary air escape and miss capturing it all with the gauge. The gauges that form the best, most consistent seals were the Accutire, TireTek, and Milton gauges. This is mostly thanks to a deeper well in the chuck that holds the tire’s valve stem in line. The JACO has this as well, making it incredibly easy to get a good seal every time, but it’s a little more cumbersome since you need both hands to use it one for the chuck and one for the dial.
The Accutire shines here. Its awkward-looking right angles make it easy to align visually, and a thumb imprint places the force of your hand directly in line with the valve. Pretty brilliant. The AstroAI Dual Head gauge isn’t bad either. It’s just so long that it’s easy to hit the valve at an incorrect angle if you’re holding the rubberized plastic handle. If you grip the metal section with both hands, you can get much more consistent results.
The Rhino and the AstroAI guns seemed to make it harder to check tire pressure consistently. Our frustrations with the Rhino were due to a shallower chuck stem that made it too easy to accidentally let the air out of the tire. The was also the problem with the Topeak, which is otherwise incredibly easy to hold and use.
What Is Tire Pressure
Tire pressure is the amount of air in your tires. It is measured in pounds per square inch to quantity the correct amount a tire or object should have.
The average PSI for passenger cars is between 30 and 35 PSI. But this number can vary. The exact PSI level desired depends entirely on your vehicle and the specific tires you are using with your car.
The air inside a tire exerts pressure through the expansion and movement of atoms. As a result, atoms move faster when the temperature increases. This is why tires tend to deflate when the weather is frigid.
The average tire PSI during 80-degree weather is about 30 PSI. However, this number drops to only around 25 PSI when temperatures fall under 30 degrees.
Tires naturally lose air pressure little by little over time. Even when a vehicle is only parked and not driving. The vehicleâs weight does not cause this to happen, but the air naturally escapes through the wall of the tire.
The best way to determine the current tire pressure level is by using a tire pressure gauge.
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Additional Tips For Using Tire Pressure Gauges
- If you need to check the pressure on RV tires, make sure the gauge tests for higher inflation pressure. Some gauges only check up to 60 PSI, while most RV tires inflate up to 100 PSI.
- Try not to knock or drop the gauge. Tire gauges can become inaccurate with improper handling.
- Use the gauge regularly. Check your tire pressure at least once a month or more if you are a commercial or frequent driver. It also helps to check your tire pressure when you fuel up, as most gas stations offer free tire inflation at their air pumps.
To learn more about keeping your tires properly inflated, read our 5-step guide on how to check tire pressure.
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Whether you need a bit of air, flat repair or advice choosing the best tires
visit a Kal Tire store near you! Our tire experts are happy to check your tire.