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Check your tire gauges!

2903 Views 20 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  ediggity
Aired up my tires at work and checked the pressures with a -6 month old dial guage, then double checked it with the guage I've had under my seat for the last three years. I figured that since the guage under my seat had been in the elements all this time the newer guage would be the more accurate of the two. Took a 1/2mile trip to the local auto supply store and bought a digital guage. I had figured wrong, I was 10 psi over.
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I've been carrying two for this reason. I've tossed a couple of bad ones in the past few years. Overinflated on dirt roads just might get you killed.
 

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Overinflated on dirt roads just might get you killed.
Not that I disagree, but I don't think you need a tire gauge to tell you if your pressure is appropriate for a dirt or gravel road; it'll either feel right or it won't ... it's on pavement that it's much harder to tell. Just my limited experience.

That said, the original poster seems to be suggesting that the digital gauge is necessarily trustworthy and should be authoritative ... I see no reason whatsoever to believe that. Just because it's readout is electronic does not make it more accurate.

I periodically check my pressure with several gauges, and throw out any "outliers" that read very differently from the rest.
 

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Along the same lines as Dtalk, unless you get gauges calibrated , it is really a crapshoot and the only way to feel ok is to use multiple gauges. However the thing that really matters is the the right pressure. Learn to read the tires wear patterns. it really matters little what the gauge says if center is wearing out of your front tire. As long as you are under the max PSI play with it . Bad roads I drop the psi to 25 and go slow. Again feel it, you do not want to pop the bead no matter that the gauge says you have in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I usually check two guages that have consistantly read the same against each other, but one of them was still packed in with camping gear. The new digital guage agrees with those two guages. The post isn't about what guages to use, rather to double check or triple check what you use.
 

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Not that I disagree, but I don't think you need a tire gauge to tell you if your pressure is appropriate for a dirt or gravel road; it'll either feel right or it won't ... it's on pavement that it's much harder to tell. Just my limited experience.
Front tire -- I knew it was wrong all right, both on wet pavement and on the dirt. After a few hours of being scared half to death at relatively high speed on dirt roads, I borrowed a gauge from one of my buddies and threw my new gauge into the woods somewhere in Quebec.
 

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I carry three gauges and take an average reading.

I never air up or down for dirt, or gravel roads. I just haven't found it necessary.
 

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My roadgear digital gauge is right on the money. Unfortunately the battery has expired after 7 years.
My $6 walmart special digital gauge reads 0.5 psi high at 40.
My old dial gauge reads 5 psi low at 40.
If I remember right, the built in gauge on my little slime compressor reads 5 psi high at 40.
 

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I have several guages. Motorcycle, truck, car, trailer, garage, etc. I check them with each other ocasionally and toss any outliers. 2nd point I run front tire a little over Suzuki's recommendations. Reduced front end slight decel wobble. Still within tire manufacturer specs.
 

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I found you guys are correct. Checking a bunch of gauges proved a couple accurate and the others went to the trash.
Other bike has a TPM system and it's good as the gauges, until the batteries die and it becomes and expensive POS.
JC Whitney has a TPM system that involves sensing caps and a key fob read out. About 200 dollar. And, you could move the caps and fob from bike to bike. Such a deal....
 

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Expensive doesn't automaticaly mean accurate either as far as regular guages are concerned. I bought one of those $16 dial guages with attached tubing to make it easier to check the air on the rear wheels, and it turned out to be 7 psi under. I then compared all the guages of mine and my kids, and none were the same, most being about 3-5 pounds off.
After talking to a local tire shop I ordering two Milton guages and now take them to the auto parts store to compare any cheaper ones that I buy. The tiny guage that came with my Slime air pump is accurate also.
 

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I dug through my stuff and came up with about a half-dozen gauges, both dial and pencil type. All were very close except one that was sent to the trash. My new Milton inflator's gauge was 3 psi higher than all the rest. I asked Milton about that, and they said that it was within spec for that 10 psi to 150 psi gauge. Milton said that it wasn't able to be field calibrated, but one of these day's I'll see for myself.

Make your own gauge. A 0-60 psi (you want the intended reading to be about the middle of the gauge), 1-1/2" diameter, 2% accuracy pressure gauge is about $10. Add a tire chuck that best fits your valve stem positions, and you have an accurate gauge.
 

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Only initially?

I dug through my stuff and came up with about a half-dozen gauges, both dial and pencil type. All were very close except one that was sent to the trash. My new Milton inflator's gauge was 3 psi higher than all the rest. I asked Milton about that, and they said that it was within spec for that 10 psi to 150 psi gauge. Milton said that it wasn't able to be field calibrated, but one of these day's I'll see for myself.

Make your own gauge. A 0-60 psi (you want the intended reading to be about the middle of the gauge), 1-1/2" diameter, 2% accuracy pressure gauge is about $10. Add a tire chuck that best fits your valve stem positions, and you have an accurate gauge.
Unless you buy a gauge that has NIST certs with it, any gauge that is purchased is subject to being wrong. Even the NIST gauges haved to be check periodially to confirm accuracy.
 

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Agreed, but we are just filling tires without even compensating for ambient temperature, not testing nuke plants. A 2" gauge with a National Institute of Standards and Technology cert will be $70 - $80...don't drop it, don't pressurize or depressurize too quickly.
 

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This is a topic of very general interest. I bought a wall clock for my garage the other day with temperature and humidity gauges built in. They give readings, of course, but how do I know if they are accurate or how accurate they are? At least the clock agrees after a few days with the one on my Wee. I hadn't thought of pressure gauges. I just assumed the more expensive they were, the more accurate, and a decent pencil gauge was good enough.
 

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but how do I know if they are accurate or how accurate they are?
I've been in more than a few stores where the thermometers for sale all have different readings. Why anyone would buy one of them, I don't know.
 
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