Maintaining correct tyre pressure goes a long way to save you money on fuel bills and tyres, and also makes your drive safer. We all know that over a certain period of time we might loose air pressure naturally, due to faulty valve or a slow puncture. Therefore, checking air pressure periodically should be an indispensable habit. Selecting the appropriate pressure gauge is a hectic task when there are so many varieties available in the market. The following guide will make you aware of few pointers to keep in mind before making a purchase:
1) Gauge type (pencil/dial/digital)-
Pencil type- It is an Analog type tyre gauge, also known as stick tyre pressure gauge. It mostly comprises of a metal or plastic outer shell, an inner plastic stick having pressure markings and a stem attachment. When this gauge is pressed onto the tyre valve, the air pressure makes the plastic reading stick rise and give the pressure reading.
Pros- Most compact size and least expensive.
Cons- Less accuracy compared to other gauges and loses accuracy over time.
Dial Type- This is also an analog type pressure gauge that uses a clock-like dial instead of a marked stick. When the gauge is pressed onto the tyre valve, the air pressure forces the internal spring loaded mechanism and displays a pressure reading on the dial.
Pros- High accuracy, dependable and dial is easy to read.
Cons- Bulky and less portable.
Digital type- This type of gauge is light as well as easy to use. When pressed onto the tyre valve, it displays a reading on its small LCD screen. This type of gauge is pretty accurate when the batteries are supplying enough power, but can screw up pressure reading if battery is weak.
Pros- Value for money compared to some dial gauges; easy to take reading in low light due to backlit screen.
Cons- Less dependable than dial type gauge.
2) Pressure Range-
You need to know the approximate pressure reading you want to set for your tyres because the accuracy of a pressure gauge is best at the middle third of the gauge pressure range. You should always pick the gauge who’s range is twice than that of your required pressure reading. For example, if you want to set around 40 psi pressure for a tyre then you should select a gauge with 80 psi range.
3) Accuracy percentage-
Accuracy is the most important quality that separates a cheap and an expensive gauge. Most of the expensive gauges are more suitable for people who use it for vehicles that perform on a race track and therefore, for checking pressure for your daily ride, an averagely priced unit should be sufficient. Gauges are available with accuracies from +/-3/2/3% to 0.25% of span (ASME grade B to grade 3A). Accuracy of the gauge should be checked and calibrated once every year.
4) Liquid Filled Dial-
Sometimes a dial type gauge is filled with liquid which is generally glycerin. This heavy liquid makes the needle steady and easier to read. It also lubricates the internal parts and absorbs vibrations of the gauge to make it dependable even after many years. When given a choice, always pick a glycerin-filled gauge.