Most people don’t check their tire pressure until it’s a problem. But low tire pressure can lead to wasted fuel, accelerated wear, blowouts, and even poor handling, making it harder to move with control and precision.
Checking your tire’s pressures isn’t rocket science, but having the right tool for the job is crucial. There are three types of tire-pressure gauges to choose from: stick, digital, and dial. Here are some of the best options for each:
Stick-type gauges, which somewhat resemble a ballpoint pen, are simple, compact, and affordable, but they are a little harder to interpret than most digital gauges. A small gauge pops out of the device once attached to the tire, indicating the tire pressure. There are no bells and whistles or electronic components- just a simple tool to get the job done.
Victor Tire Gauge – Standard Pencil Style- $2.29
The Victor Tire Pressure Gauge is a top-rated stick gauge. It’s sleek and compact, with a chrome-plated steel body and chrome plastic head. The two-sided indicator bar makes it easy to read from any angle. It only measures from 0-50-PSI but at under $3.00 it’s a functional tool for a great price.
Dial gauges have an analog dial, resembling a clock face, with a simple needle to indicate the pressure. Some dial gauges have more features than others– an extension hose, a bleeder valve, a dual-scale dial, a shock-resistant dial cover–but that doesn’t mean they’re more accurate. Most dial gauges are easy to read, but they tend to be bulky and typically cost more money, running anywhere from $20 to $50.
Victor Mini Dial Tire Pressure Gauge is the perfect tool for checking the tire air pressure on car tires, SUV and truck tires, and RV and dually truck tires. Smaller than most gauges, this item can be easily stashed in a glove compartment or center console.
Digital gauges are typically the easiest to use and read. They usually have an electronic LCD display, similar to a pocket calculator, and are more resistant to damage from dust and dirt. Some digital readouts light up, making them handy for checking the pressure in low-light conditions. On the downside, however, digital gauges are a little bulkier than stick gauges and they require batteries. While batteries can last for years, depending on use, they will run down eventually and need replacement.
Victor Backlit Digital Tire Gauge offers great visibility with its lighted nozzle and display screen. This gauge is the perfect tool for checking the tire air pressure on most standard tires, while its backlit display makes it easy to use during the day or night. The digital display shows the exact reading, while the nozzle seals to the valve stem for simple and accurate PSI measurements.
Checking Tire Pressure Properly
Checking your tire pressure at least once a month, and refilling as necessary, is one of the best safety moves you can make when it comes to your vehicle. A common mistake when filling tires is inflating to the pressure listed on the tire- that’s actually the pressure for the car’s maximum carrying load. Instead, look for a sticker on the driver’s side door, or check out the owner’s manual.
At V&F Auto, we strive to provide our customers with a well-rounded knowledge of all things automotive. Since 1988, our family-owned and operated service center has been providing top-quality auto repair services to Agawam, Feeding Hills, Southwick, West Springfield, and the surrounding Massachusetts communities. If your car needs maintenance or repair, call us at (413)314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.
This article was originally published in August 2017 and has been updated.