How Did This Come To Be?

All of the following automotive parts stores, and big boxes that sell automotive:

Auto Zone


Sell tire maintenance items, particularly tire gauges, manufactured by Slime!

After years of self-study of things tire-related (categories of tire, pressures, load ratings, etc.), I decided 5 years ago to amass a tire maintenance kit, one for each of our car trunks, and one for the hall closet(the nicer items that stay sheltered from summers heat and winters freeze).

I started buying tire gauges, air pumps that plug into the cigarette/12V outlet in the center console, tread depth gauges, spare valve caps, even a high capacity(10 pushes down on the plunger = 2-3psi, not 1) bicycle tire pump.

I purchased a couple Slime tire gauges at Auto Zone, and later on invested in gauges, online, from manufacturers such as Auto Meter, Joe’s racing, and Longacre Racing.

The difference between the Slime tire gauges, and the gauges made by the latter named mfgs, was telling. The accuracy and build quality of the Longacres, for instances, was heavy and rock solid compared to the flimsy Slime gear.

So my question issssss…

Why aren’t tire gauges and other tire accessories of Longacre and Joe’s quality being sold in chain auto parts stores? I actually tell fellow customers to avoid Slime tire gauges, although their tire pumps, I own two, seem to be holding up after four years of owning them.

The general public would have more, and better, options.


Because they are expensive and people won’t buy them.

And because most of their customers are not like you.


Because you can buy tire gauges that work just fine for a lot less money . Also many vehicles now have 4 tire readout right on the dash . I have a 12v/110v pump that reads the tire pressure and inflates just fine . No need for the average person to make this an obsession.

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Only here would tire maintenance be coined an “obsession”.

I guess the European or Asian driver who’s tire pressure is checked about as often as their car gets fueled is “obsessed”?

I find pressure gauges to be an enigma. At one point, I had like 6 of them around in various styles - mostly pencil or dial. No two of them read the same. The total range was on the order of 7lb difference from highest to lowest reading.

I think that being worried about a couple of pounds variation is “obsessing.” But seven pounds is an issue. Right now I have 3 gauges that I trust more than others (long story) and I just sort of use their average.

But if anyone has any suggestions on known trustworthy gauges I’m all ears. The web (e.g. “just Google it”) used to be good, but now it’s too geared toward selling stuff. So it doesn’t help much. This is the post-truth era, afterall.

I check my torque wrenches once in a while. That I can do with some degree of confidence. But I can’t figure a way to check a tire pressure gauge.

My car displays the tire pressure on the dash and i haven’t needed to adjust the air in the tires for a year now. They constantly stay at 37psi on cold and 40psi on hot.

And how do we know that these readings are accurate? The car’s reading on the dash. The 12V/110v pump. Is some dept of weights and measures verifying them all? I doubt it.

The question here wasn’t, how can find out what [some device thinks] my tire pressure is. I think the question was more like how can I have a trustworthy device for telling me my tire pressure.

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You bring up a good point.

Generally, in terms of accuracy and durability, you get what you pay for.

This goes for my wife’s at-home blood pressure meter as well as for gauges measuring tire pressure or anything else.

Many garages and service centers decades ago had something hooked up to a constant supply of air, known as an air gauge check station, or simply, master gauge. Such as Myers Air Gauge check station, model# 54905. But that’s back when terms like Eisenhower, Vietnam, and Disco were common vernacular!

Since those days, even consumer-grade tire gauges have closed the gap in degree of accuracy between them and a master reference gauge.

So now, whether you - as a mechanic, or just ordinary citizen driver - wants to confirm the accuracy of something such as a tire gauge, you need to spend more than $10 for one.

The Longacre Racing Deluxe 0-60psi dial gauge, model# 52-52003 with long hose and air bleeder button, will easily run you north of $50. But for that money, you are buying not just accuracy, you are buying repeatability of pressure reading, and long-term quality and durability. Their gauges are built like TANKS. They could easily be considered the modern garage’s equivalent of that early master check station gauge.

As well as being the gauge by which you check your other tire gauges, as well as those of your neighbors.

Which brings us full circle back to my premise: Such quality gauges should emphatically be available NOT only through one channel: online.

They should be available as another tire maintenance choice for the masses, as an alternative to the cheap Slime product which has its own designated shelf plan-o-gram in every chain automotive store(except for NAPA) or automotive department.

“Slime” brand tire gauges are garbage! They are literally the Fisher-Price of tire gauges. Just about anything else you can buy would be a better option.

My favorite mechanical tire gauge is the “Milton” brand dial gauge, however I recently found something way better: the Kobalt digital tire gauge, model 336417. The regular price is $15.98, but they go on sale for $9.99 for Thanksgiving weekend. This tire gauge is easy to use, very accurate, and I like that it has two screens–which are backlit, so no matter which way it’s facing, you can easily read the pressure.

I have an old dial-type Brookstone pressure gauge, from the days when that company actually sold tools. I also have a good-quality tire inflator, and I get an instantaneous tire pressure read-out on my vehicle’s display screen whenever I want.

I have found that the difference among all 3 of these devices is less than 1 psi. That similarity certainly might not be the case if I used a cheap-o pressure gauge or a cheap-o tire inflator, but this is what I have found for my situation.

In case the OP wants to spend some time digging through old posts, I posted a warning about Slime pressure gauges several years ago. They are indeed garbage.

I already know that! Why even suggest that I “dig through old threads” for references to Slime products, when I already know about their reputation?

My question - and concern - is why all the corporate auto parts chains gravitate toward them in their store layouts?

To me that’s almost insinuating that the general driving public doesn’t care about tire maintenance, and figures that up to $8 is all anyone would spend on a gauge.

I have, however, bought a total of three Slime 12v tire air pumps, one of which I sent to relatives abroad, another resides in my trunk, and a ‘backup’ in my hall closet. At four years old, they are all still serving me well. All for a price around $40. Two are digital, auto-shutoff.

But as for gauges, I would not even give one - yes, that’s GIVE not ‘gift’, as Millennials are prone to state it - to somebody for Christmas or for a birthday.

I bought Slime’s brass analog bleeder valve dial gauge several years ago, just to test it vs. more expensive models. $12.99 I think? After checking the tires on just one side of my car, the pressure reading hold feature failed, and the pointer slowly crept back down toward zero.

My Accu-Gage(now owned by Milton) S60X - my first ‘serious’ tire gauge that I bought 10-15 years ago, recently lost the pressure hold reading. But that was when the Accu-Gage was over ten years old, not ten days! It was my intro to dial-type tire gauges, a ‘graduation’ of sorts from basic plunger(stick) gauges.

As with anything, with tire pressure gauges, you do indeed get what you pay for.

I’m having that expression put on my tombstone!

I owned one of those Longacre gauges for over 30 years. When the gauge broke, I bought a calibrate-able gauge but kept the hose and bleed valve.

I can compare it with other gauges I have around. The best one is my cylinder leakdown tool’s gauges.

Beware of digital types. They can be wrong and uncorrectable. My jump pack’s compressor digital gauge is 3 psi low. I wrote +3 on it so when I use it to air my tires, I remember to set it 3 psi higher.

As with many automotive parts and tools, you get what you pay for.


Because you aren’t the first one to post the fact that Slime’s product(s) are garbage. Ergo, your “revelation” is already well-known to the veterans of this forum.

I think that it’s more than an insinuation, and is just further evidence that a sizable portion of the populace doesn’t care very much about all phases of auto maintenance. If you ride in a vehicle with a bit of height, it is not at all uncommon to be able to look down at the instrument panel of sedans and see–very often–a CEL lit up. Several years ago, we had a post from a woman in (I think…) Maine, and her post read as follows: “The check engine light on my Suzuki has been on for the past 16 years. What’s wrong with it?”

There are definitely folks with whom we share the road who have little interest in car maintenance–of all types.

Quite a few years ago, when our office staff was outside as a result of a fire drill, I noticed that both of a co-worker’s front tires were so badly-worn that the steel belts were showing through at the tread edges. I made her aware of the extremely dangerous condition of her tires, and told her to drive directly to a tire store on her way home. Her response, was… I can’t do that because I have to drive my daughter and her friends to go bowling this afternoon.
Even after carefully–and calmly–explaining to her that she was endangering the lives of her daughter and some elementary school classmates by driving on those tires, she couldn’t seem to grasp the seriousness of the situation, and I noticed that she was still driving on those worn-out tires several days later. Clearly, she had no interest in either proper maintenance or safety on the road.

My 30+ year old Snap-on pencil tire (pocket) gauge is still the gauge that I trust the most out of all my other tire gauges… lol

I use my very trusty yet hard to read 22+yo tire inflator gauge with the old window lens gauge and whip the most, it hangs beside the 25’ rolled up air hose, it does not have a deflation button though, so you have to improvise a little… lol… That poor thing has been kicked, dropped and lived a hard life and still works great…

Basically this, but 22+ years old…

I have the home made dual (6’ each) whip hoses with clamp on air chucks, tire gauge with inflation stem and digital gauge, it is a 2 tire equalizer for the hot rod with the spool…but it can be used to air up any 2 tires at a time

And then I have several more different types of gauges and or inflators in different tool boxes that just don’t get used much…

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:+1: I rest my case, regarding investing in higher quality kit.

I own a Jaco Elite pro 100psi digital, and a Longacre Basic digital, both with bleed down function.

My biggest issue with digital tire gauges is the lack of real-time update of the displayed pressure after repeated presses of the bleed button.

EG: I was using one of the above to bleed my car’s tires down to spec 32psi cold. The pressure readout didn’t react until after I pressed the bleed button for a good five seconds. After several minutes of bleeding, and unseat and reseating the chuck on the tire valve, I finally arrived at exactly “32.0”.

On a hunch, I double checked the result at that tire with my analog Longacre, and with a Milton 921 stick. Both indicated the tire had only 27psi! :person_facepalming:

Needless to say, I’ve stayed purely analog since that episode two years ago. Although, if I really insisted on going digital with tire gauges, there’s always the nearly $100 Astro Pneumatic 3018 filler head with digital readout. The ‘big blue one’! Two garages I frequent use, and are quite satisfied with them. Their only downside, of course, keeping fresh batteries in them.

^THIS^ Attitude you ecountered.

I get it all the time, and not just tires:

Moi: “Sir, there’s a piece of trim loose on your passenger side”

Him: “I know all about it, thank you”!

(yeah, sure you knew about it, they all say that)

Saturday morning two Februaries ago:

My boss pulls into the parking lot for our monthly employee store meeting. She notices a large delivery truck over by our back entrance, and hands me the keys to get the coffee and donuts out of her Chevy while she goes to instruct the delivery driver where to back into.

On a whim, while the boss is occupied with the delivery, and me putting the Dunkin Donuts boxes on the hood of my car, I quickly check two of her tires with a small pocket dial bleeder from my glove box (I had previously checked the gauge to within 1psi of my Longacre and Auto Meter).

2009 Malibu, door pillar value 30psi all four tires.

Actual: 25psi in one, 26 in another - after having just driven fifteen highway miles from home to the store!!

When my boss came back, I showed her the gauge, low reading still holding. I even offered to air them up (to 32-33 hot). Told her five minutes. Her response as we brought the Dunkin into the store together?..

“It’s alright, I know, I need new tires” almost with a giggle in her tone. (Treadwear was visible on all four tires, but not yet acute)

Even within this conversation we’re having, a hint of that same attitude appears, I believe, in the third post.

Does the above nonsense happen overseas? Probably, no one’s perfect, but faaar less often than it does here, in Show Me Country.

Because they were engineered to be accurate. Not very difficult.

Not all gauges. Do you really believe that a $2.99 cutie candy-colored keyring gauge is going to return repeatable, accurate pressure readings as reliably as a $50 Longacre, or even a $12 Milton?

In that context, I wish a garage or service station still had one of these:

bolted to the counter or bench in the back of their service bay.

I would pay that place to bring in my dozen or so tire pressure gauges to see which ones really pass the muster with regards to accuracy!

Why would anyone own “a dozen or so” tire pressure gauges?
Wouldn’t one–or perhaps two–per car be sufficient?

Easy bro, attitude. Remember? :wink:

Service station ?? You mean like years ago that sold fuel and had one or two repair bays ? There may only 20or 3 of those left in the US.

Our Subaru Outback has the 4 tire readout. I checked with my quite good tire gauge and there was only 1 Ib. difference so I am good .