Driving with under-inflated tires not only has a detrimental impact on your fuel economy but it they can also affect your ability to steer and control your vehicle.
There are a lot of us doing quite a bit of driving every day and the wheels and tires are one part of the car taking a lot of the constant stress throughout a wide range of road and weather conditions.
It’s likely that you’re not even able to notice it but the tire pressure can drop by 5, or even 10, PSI and even this small amount can impact your driving capabilities.
Your car will experience more drag when the tires aren’t filled up to their recommended amount and you’ll lose a bit of control when it comes to steering and acceleration along with a decreased fuel economy.
Inspecting your tires regularly is important and to do this at home myself I went out to look for the best tire pressure gauge to check the pressure without to go to a gas station or to see my mechanic.
Once I check the pressure I can determine whether the tires are good to be driven on or if I should add some air.
In this post I want to share with you some of the different tire gauges that I came across, both digital and analog, that I believe would make a great addition to the tools and equipment used on a regular basis for car maintenance.
The Best Tire Pressure Gauge for your Vehicle
TEKTON 5941 Digital Tire Gauge
During my search for the best digital tire gauge it was the TEKTON 5941 Digital Tire Gauge that I kept stumbling on to.
I like the digital gauges because they give an instant and very accurate read-out of the tire pressure and I don’t have to fiddle around trying to read the analog display.
As for the display, this gauge comes equipped with a lighted digital screen and even the nozzle comes with a light so that you’re able to see the tire valve even in the dark and poor lighting conditions.
Not only will it display the PSI but you can also use it to check the bar, kPa, and kg/cm2 of the tire as well depending on what range you’re looking to check out.
Using it is quite straightforward and it takes advantage of a one button design so you just push the button to turn on the tire gauge and then use it to select the specific measurement range that you want to use.
Once you’re done checking the tire pressure you just leave it and after 30 seconds it automatically shuts off so you don’t have to worry about running the battery out or leaving it on accidentally.
The gauge itself is quite small, portable, and features an ergonomic design that’s contoured to fit inside your hand nicely so there aren’t any awkward pressure points or pain areas when you’re trying to check your tire pressure with it.
Thanks to its small design I’m able to leave it in the glove box of my car and this makes it possible for me to check my tire pressure quite regularly to make sure that my tires are filled up properly.
Gorilla Automotive TG1 Pencil Style Tire Pressure Gauge
The Gorilla Automotive TG1 Pencil Style Tire Pressure Gauge is one that I leave in my garage for when I quickly need to check the tire pressure and it’s able to measure a pressure range of between 0 and 50 PSI.
On one end is a small piece that slips over the tire valve to check the pressure and while it’s attached there is a readout that comes out of the other end that clearly displays how much PSI is in the tires.
Not only is it able to tell you the PSI but you can also use it to check the KG of the tires depending on which pressure range you’re most interested in using.
The gauge itself is made from a metal material so it feels quite durable in the hands and it even has a little clip on it so that it can be clipped onto jeans or a shirt so that you don’t accidentally lose it while you are putting the caps back on the valve or checking all the different tires.
As for its design, it boasts quite a streamlined and low profile design and thanks to its small size it can be easily left behind in the glove compartment and just grabbed when it needs to be used.
Since it doesn’t require any batteries for operation it’s always ready to go and it’s great if you want to quickly check your tire pressure at home or when you’re out driving around.
This gauge is well suited for cars and vehicles that use tires up to 50 PSI and if you’re driving something with bigger tires then you might be better off considering a digital tire gauge where you’re able to use it for a higher read-out up to 100 PSI.
TireTek Premium Tire Pressure Gauge
The TireTek Premium Tire Pressure Gauge is a nifty little device and makes it easy to check the pressure of your tires to ensure that they are properly filled.
Right away I noticed that it has a small little circular tire design piece on the end where the readout is displayed and this also helps to make it easier to grip when you’re bent over and trying to get it over the tire valve.
The display is analog and thanks to the 2 inch display it’s easy to read while the 360-degree swivel chuck makes it easy to view the display regardless of the angle that you’re checking the tire pressure from.
One great feature I love about it is that the pressure of the tire is held on the display even after it has been released so you can determine whether or not it’s the ideal pressure or whether you should add air or remove air as you see fit.
When it comes to removing air there is actually a pressure release built into the tire gauge so that if you overfill you can easily reduce the tire pressure while still maintaining an accurate fill where it’s not as likely that you’ll let too much air out.
I find that it boasts quite a sturdy and durable design, being made from steel and brass, and it’s not that big either so it can be left behind in the glove compartment and used whenever it’s time to check the tire pressure.
Personally, I leave mine in the garage because I love using it for those monthly tire pressure checks since it leaves the pressure behind on the display and I can write it down without having to remember what it was when I checked it.
As for the measurements it will measure up to 60 PSI on the display and if you need something bigger then I would recommend going with one of the digital gauges that can measure up to 100 PSI or more.
TireTek Flexi-Pro Tire Pressure Gauge
The TireTek Flexi-Pro Tire Pressure Gauge is similar to the previous TireTek gauge that I just mentioned but this one comes with a flexible hose attachment that makes it a bit easier to get into those hard to reach places where the tire valve is.
Having the hose offers a little bit more flexibility and thanks to the 360-degree swivel chuck the gauge can be viewed at all angles and you just need to turn it to face your current position.
The hose insert is slightly longer than you would find with the standard inserts and this helps to prevent any air from leaking out when you’re measuring the pressure and giving you a less accurate display.
As for the display it boasts a 2-inch display dial and you’re able to determine the current tire pressure up to 60 PSI.
One feature that I like about this one just like the previous TireTek gaugeIs that it comes with a pressure release button so that you can release some of the air inside the tire if you happen to to overfill it so that is able to get to a better pressure that’s more suited for driving.
This is another great tire pressure gauge to use for checking the pressure in your tires and the hose makes it even easier to use, especially in those cramped areas where it’s not that easy to access the valve.
Accutire MS-4021B Digital Tire Pressure Gauge
The Accutire MS-4021B Digital Tire Pressure Gauge takes advantage of a heavy duty construction and thanks to its rugged design it’s meant for long term use so you can keep checking the tire pressure on your car and keep the tires at their ideal driving pressure.
It’s a digital gauge so it displays the current pressure on an LCD display and it can read the pressure between 5 PSI and 150 PSI so what’s good for car tires along with trucks, SUVs, and vans as well.
The display is backlit so it can be used at night and in poor lighting conditions and it even features an automatic shut off so you don’t have to worry about running the battery out and it’s not going to deflate the tire once it has got its reading.
The head is angled which provides a better position when it comes to getting the end on to the tire valve and the handle is also rubber coated for a better grip and more control when you’re checking the tire pressure.
I quite like the design of the Accutire MS-4021B Digital Tire Pressure Gauge and thanks to the small hole in the handle I can easily keep it hung up in the garage for whenever I need to access it and check the tires.
Ionox Digital Tire Pressure Gauge
The Ionox Digital Tire Pressure Gauge is a portable, rugged, and minimalist gauge that’s well-suited for using to check tire pressure on cars as well as trucks, vans, and SUVs.
It can be used for measuring tire pressure up to 150 PSI and it’s possible to use for different pressure scales as well depending on your preferences (PSI, Bar, kPa, kg/cm2).
As a digital gauge it’s able to provide nearly instant measurements and thanks to the backlit display screen you can always tell what the pressure is even in the dark or low-light conditions.
It uses a single button to turn it on and change the different pressure scale that you want to use and to turn it off you just have to press and hold the button although it comes with an automatic shut off after 30 seconds to help save battery life.
Its small design means it can be kept in the glove compartment or in your car for quick access and the gauge has been designed ergonomically so that it offers a comfortable grip while being used.
Personally, I love using digital gauges and they’re great for checking tire pressure when it comes to tires that need more than 50-60 PSI in pressure (usually bigger tires on trucks, vans, and SUVs).
Tire Pressure Safety Tips
If you have ever gone to fill your tires with air hopefully you have noticed the numbers on the sidewall of the tire that show the maximum PSI that the tires it should be inflated to.
While you might think it’s a good idea to fill them up to the maximum this might not be the best choice to make and if you want long lasting tires and a smooth and safe ride it’s a good idea to find the right tire pressure that your vehicle will thank you for.
Maximum Tire Pressure
On the sidewall of the tire is where you can find the maximum pressure in PSI that the car tire needs for carrying its maximum load.
This is the cold pressure, and it’s called the cold pressure because it’s important to fill up the tires while they’re still cold and this means in the morning or after they have been sitting in the shade for a while.
Depending on what you’re driving the maximum tire pressure is usually between 30 and 32 PSI but it can change depending on the tires you’re using and the type of vehicle you have.
What happens when you inflate the tires to the maximum PSI?
There are a few problems that you might experience if you’re inflating your tires to the maximum amount every time.
Difference in Handling
One of the most noticeable difference is that there will be a change in how the vehicle handles.
At maximum inflation the tires aren’t able to give as much on the sidewall and while this might have a positive impact on cornering there could be a problem when it comes to braking effectiveness.
Without any room for movement the tire is pushed to its extremes and since there’s no give it’s possible that the back end could slide out on a tight corner.
Negative Impact on Tire Life
Another problem when the tires are inflated too much is that it makes the rubber round out at the top of the tire and this causes the center to more quickly wear out.
When they’re completely full there is also less traction and it’s possible that the high pressure might cause a blowout.
Choosing the Right Tire Pressure
Thankfully there is an optimum tire pressure that you can take advantage of so that you’re able to enjoy the best control and the standard lifetime of the tires.
You can look online to find the recommended tire pressure for your car but it’s also listed in the owner’s manual or even on the sticker that you can find in the door jam.
Depending on your vehicle the recommended pressure is likely going to be somewhere between 30 and 35 PSI and this is the minimum of tire pressure needed to support the maximum load of your vehicle.
Should you drive with less than the recommended pressure then you might experience worse fuel economy and handling won’t be as good either.
Inflating Your Tires
It’s a good idea to check your tires on a regular basis and this is made easier when you’re using a tire pressure gauge, such as one of the ones I’ve listed above.
Depending on how often you drive I recommend checking the pressure:
- Whenever you fill up for gas
- Every 2-4 weeks
- Every noticeable change in weather/temperature
Personally, I check mine about once per week but if you’re not doing a lot of driving or you have a newer car then you could do it once a month.
Also, always check them before a long road trip and fill them to the proper pressure as necessary.