Buying a Tire Pressure Gauge

Dear Tracy,
I would like to purchase a quality tire gauge to make sure my tire pressure is always at the right level. Can you provide me with any advice for selecting the right type of tire pressure gauge?
-Casey M.

Dear Casey,
A quality tire gauge is a great investment! Improperly inflated tires can lead to a host of issues including handling and traction problems, premature tread wear and poor gas mileage. Many folks believe that if their tires look fine, they are fine. That’s not always the case. By the time a tire looks underinflated, tire pressure is extremely low. It is important to do something  before it gets to that point, so monitoring pressure with your own quality gauge is a great way to do that.

gauges for tiresThere are three types of pressure gauges that are available:

Stick gauges – Ball-point pen sized, these gauges are compact and affordable, but can be somewhat difficult to read

Digital gauges – These gauges usually have an easy-to read display, but they require batteries and are a bit bulkier

Dial gauges – The clock-type faces on these gauges are easy to read, but some models are harder to use and more expensive

When considering the three types of options, think about what features are important to you. If you want to save money, look for a simple stick gauge. If you don’t want to spend a fortune, but want something that is easy to read, the digital gauge is the model for you. If you want something close to what race car drivers use, go for the dial gauge. Whatever model you decide on, don’t necessarily go for the cheapest – go for quality. Ask a sales person about the brands, or if you are shopping online – read reviews. You should be able to find a quality gauge for $5 to $20.

Our tips: To maintain the optimal tire condition, check the pressure of your tires at least once a month and before starting on any long trip. For the most accurate reading, check pressure in the morning, when temperatures are cool, and make sure the car has been parked for three or more hours.