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Old 07-20-2002, 11:24 PM
JSJAMALA JSJAMALA is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2002
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Mein Auto: 2002 325i
Tire Pressure Gauges - Article by consumer reports.

Hey Everbody, since i'm kind of compulsive when it comes to checking the tire pressure on my car, I figured this article would help for any others out there who are like me.
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According to a recent survey by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), 27 percent of the passenger cars and 33 percent of the light trucks (including SUVs, vans, and pickups) on America's roads have at least one substantially underinflated tire. Those findings are disturbing in light of last year's spate of SUV rollovers related to Firestone tires, in which underinflated tires were implicated as a possible contributing factor. Other consequences of underinflation include increased tread wear, compromised vehicle ride and handling, and reduced fuel economy.

Remedial actions are afoot. Onboard tire-pressure monitors have been made standard or optional equipment on an increasing number of vehicles. Legislators accelerated the process last fall, passing the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation Act (TREAD). Under TREAD, in a few years all vehicles sold in the U. S. will be required to incorporate a standard tire-pressure-monitoring device.

But while these moves are heartening, we still recommend that all motorists check their tires at least once a month with an accurate tire-pressure gauge. (Don't depend on a service station: According to a NHTSA study, only about half are equipped with a gauge, and these are often inaccurate.) To find out which gauges offer the best combination of performance and usability, we tested eight models--two pencil-type, two dial-type, and four digital--and evaluated them in four areas.

Ease of use. All of the gauges we tested were equipped with collared chucks that sealed easily to the valve stem and allowed very little, if any, air to escape while taking a reading. All but one, the Monkey Grip M8854 dial, held their readings when removed from the tire; this makes it easier to read the gauge.

Two of the gauges we tested--the AccuGauge H100X dial-type and the Monkey Grip M8862 pencil-type--were equipped with a bleed for removing air from an overinflated tire. The AccuGauge H100X is also capable of monitoring pressure as the tire is deflated, though the process is slower.

Readability. A gauge should be easy to read, with large, well-spaced numbers and/or index markings and good contrast between the markings and the gauge face. While all the gauges we tested were judged easy to read, the smaller, vertically oriented hash marks on the pencil gauges were slightly more difficult to make out than the readouts on the other types.

Ruggedness. Because tire gauges are likely to see some rough treatment, we tested their ruggedness by dropping them from a height of three feet onto a tile-covered concrete floor. None of the gauges showed signs of physical damage, but both of the dial gauges we tested--the AccuGauge H100X and the Monkey Grip M8854--were knocked out of calibration by an average of more than 5 pounds per square inch (psi). After being dropped, the Pressure Inc. DT-105's digital display went blank for about a minute but then returned to normal.

Accuracy. Most of the gauges were highly accurate and yielded repeatable readings over a wide pressure range, never varying by more than 1 psi. Slightly less accurate were the Monkey Grip M8862 and M8854, which were within 2 psi.


RECOMMENDATIONS

The digital gauges performed flawlessly in all tested areas but were a bit more expensive than the other types. All digitals have replaceable batteries except the Monkey Grip M8867. If you decide on a digital, consider the Accutire MS-4020B, which reads from 5 to150 psi and comes with a five-year warranty. The pencil gauges also performed well and have the benefit of being less expensive. A good all-around performer, the NAPA 90-389 was our pencil gauge of choice. Note, however, that both pencil gauges had a maximum pressure reading of 50 psi, making them unsuitable for use on "space-saver" spares, which can require 60 psi. Because both dial gauges were knocked out of calibration by our drop test, they didn't score as highly in ruggedness as the others.


NOT JUST HOT AIR

Because tire pressures can increase by as much as 4 to 6 psi as you drive, tires should be checked and the pressure adjusted when they're cold or before the vehicle has been driven more than a mile. The automaker's recommended tire pressure is located on a placard, usually in a door pillar or in the glovebox or fuel-filler door. Don't inflate tires to more than the maximum pressure embossed on the tire's sidewall.


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