I don’t know how much to trust my old pencil tire gauge or how to trust that a digital gauge remains accurate. Is there a quality gauge out there that has some sort of calibration mechanism? What do you guys do or am I worrying about an inconsequential pound or two when talking about run of the mill tires and driving?
You are probably a bit over the top on this. Motorcycle riders and car racers need more precise and accurate readings of tire pressure. What I do is have several pencil type pressure gauges easily purchased at Walmart, or any auto parts stores. You can compare readings of a couple gauges to assess accuracy.
Pencil gauges are inexpensive but don’t last forever. They are easily damaged by drops, dirt, or rough handling. If the slide isn’t moving smoothly over the entire length that is a clue it is bad. Digital gauges are more accurate and tolerate abuse better.
For general driving I’d suggest buying two or three decent mid priced pencil gauges and that should be fine.
I prefer the dial type, I bought an Accugage in 1986 and am still using it. It does read about 2 psi high after I dropped it though. As a personal preference I set the tire pressure an extra 2 or 3 psi than the door placard recommendation. I check the tire pressure on a regular basis. All four tires should have the same reading, if one tire is lower than the rest it’s usually due to a slow leak.
I agree, 1 or 2 psi off on regular tires shouldn’t make much of a difference as long as the tires are at the same pressure.
This is what I use.
A better quality version.
You can find inexpensive dial pressure gauges at auto parts stores and places like Wal-Mart. Also, I trust digital gauges to be accurate. Most don’t allow you to replace the battery, so I figure I will probably dispose of them before they become inaccurate.
My understanding is that the pencil type isn’t as accurate as the dial or digital types, especially as time goes by. I prefer dial gauges myself. I have several Accu-Gage dial gauges and they all read identically.
The pencil gauge is about as accurate as you need. It is very accurate.
They are all calibrated to within 1psi. The complicated dial or digital gauges…there’s a lot more to mess up in the manufacturing so they actually may NOT be as accurate.
I also have an Accu-Gage dial-type tire pressure gauge, and it has proven to be reliable and accurate for the 20 or so years that I have owned it.
By contrast, last year a friend of mine bought a Slime (what a name!) brand gauge at Pep Boys, and it was broken within about 6 months. I suggest that you NOT buy a Slime brand pressure gauge.
That’s A Great Question. I Wish I Could Answer It. I Bought My Gauge About 40 Years Ago. It’s A German Made Mechanical, Dial-Indicator MotoMeter.
I have never found a better gauge. It even came with its own soft leather case that snaps shut. We sold them when I worked for Volkswagen / Porsche / Audi.
A search shows some “vintage” MotoMeters for sale on ebay and some Benz forums.
To this day, I can set the tire pressures on my wife’s car with the old gauge and when I check her TPMS, the readings agree with the MotoMeter. Either they’re both correct or they’re both wrong.
I guess I should have listed this gauge in one of our favorite tool discussions. It’s like an old friend of mine. No, it’s not for sale at any price. I remeber that I did replace the old dried out seal in the business end with a new o-ring some years ago.
This is exactly like mine for sale on ebay.
Yes, I have driven a Unimog, too.
Was that gauge from the same people who sell the SLIME to put into tyres?
I’m Not Saying To Buy It. In Fact I Stated That I Wished That I Could Answer Where To Get A Quality Gauge Like Mine That’s The Same As The One For Sale.
It would be anybody’s guess if an old gauge would work as well as mine still does.
$50 for a tire gauge ? I suppose I would gladly pay that for a nice new gauge. Adjusted for inflation, that is probably similar to what I gave for the Motometer 40 years ago, when I paid less than ten bucks for it new.
I’ve never had good luck with pencil-type gauges, lubricated or not.
Here is what I use, I attached it to my air compressor hose and have found these to be extremely accurate. The best gauge I ever bought.
Yes, Joseph, I believe that it is the same company.
The logo was identical, with a fluorescent green color.
Slime brand gauges seem to have replaced the Accugage brand gauges in the stores, so it might be the same manufacturer making both brands.
Well, I don’t know about the newer Accu-Gage models, but my 20 year old Accu-Gage was made right here in the good old USA.
Slime brand’s crappy gauges are made–of course–in China.
Perhaps Accu-Gages are now made in China also, but that just gives me more of a reason to take good care of my old one.
Sears sells a pretty decent dial gauge under the Craftsman label.
Accu-Gage is still made-in-America, with a lifetime warranty. I just had my original Car-Talk Accu-Gage (15 years old at least) repaired at the factory for the cost of postage ($2.50). It still measured accurately, just wouldn’t ‘hold’ the reading. Accu-Gage is available thru the Car-Talk store. http://www.shamelesscommerce.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=GAUGE
Accu-Gage is still available at WalMart, Sears, and Advance Auto Parts near me. Mine is several years old, but it still works fine.
They also sell Accu-Gage for less than $10.
Buy two tire pressure gauges. Keep one in a plastic bag and stored in a cool, dry safe place. Use it to occasionally check the gauge that is used to check your tires. A PSI or two in error is not critical for ordinary tire usage.
If you insist on near perfect accuracy, then get your backup gauge checked at a scientific instrument calibration service whose equipment will have accuracy traceable to NIST. These can be found in larger urban areas where there is enough industrial R & D, medical research or similar scientific work taking place. The calibration service can give you readings on your gauge at strategic points for tire pressure measuring work such as 30, 35 and 40 PSI or more if you want accurate bicycle tire pressures too. You don’t need a perfectly accurate gauge; you need to know the error and want a gauge that reads consistently. You can determine for yourself if your gauge is consistently repeatable before you spend $30 to $50 for a calibration check.
Some of this may be overkill for tire pressure work but it is the best that you can do and may not overly expensive for some.
Typically, pressure gauges and other instruments used for scientific research and the like are checked once per year.