* Backlit display for clear readings
* Consistent and reliable tire pressure measurement
* How to tell if your “run flat” tires are running flat
Remember the old days, when new cars often came with a spare tire, tool kit and tire-pressure gauge? Me neither, though I had an older model BMW which had a neat, drop down tool kit holder mounted inside the trunk lid. The tools themselves had long since vanished of course, the metric wrenches, file, tire pressure gauge and jack handle leaving behind only their imprints, like fossils. Nowadays cars in the US are mandated to come with a “tire pressure monitoring” system, which is usually a light on the dashboard. Some are more helpful than others. Mostly, you get some variety of a cryptic exclamation mark, sometimes inside an orange semicircle that looks more like a child’s drawing of the sun dipping beneath the horizon than, well, a flat tire. Suffice to say, these dashboard lights are an inadequate replacement for real tools, and it’s a good idea to have a real, reliable tire pressure gauge you keep in your car.
For one thing, even on newish cars, those TPM lights on the dash often– for some reason– don’t even tell you which tire is flat. For another, in my experience, it seems that tire pressure sensors are often less reliable than tires themselves.
This digital handheld gauge is not only easy to use, it gives a consistent reading every time. So when you go to add air to your tires, you don’t have to fool with the terrible gauges on the gas station air machines. This is especially important if you care about your car’s gas mileage and/or handling, since what one gas station calls “34 psi” might be another gas station’s 38 psi. Under-inflated the tires and you’ll get worse fuel economy; over inflate them and your tires will start to loose grip, making the car feel “squirrely.” (A technical term.) Luckily, this light up digital gauge is cheap and easy to pack with you in your trunk or glove box.
And don’t think, just because many modern vehicles come with “run flat” tires, that the concept of proper tire inflation is obsolete. Because run-flats tend to look the same when they’re almost empty, it’s even more important to check your tire pressures with a reliable gauge.