Tyre Pressure Gauges
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  1. #1
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    Default Tyre Pressure Gauges

    I have checked my tyre pressures with two gauges at home (a cheap one and an expensive $50 gauge) then checked at the service station. All readings were taken cold and they're all different - I'm talking about a 7psi difference between low and high. My mechanic also has a good quality gauge and his reading is different again!

    I don't want to simply assume that the expensive gauge is correct, so is there any way of checking calibration on gauges?

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    I'm fanatical about checking pressures, but it's pointless if I'm not reading the correct value.

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    Fellow Frogger! Westair's Avatar
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    They all seem to differ.
    My best one was bought by my father in 1935 (Sheffield UK made) and I feel is still most accurate. We used it for years on our racecars.

    Still carry it in glovebox.
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    There was a thread on this ages ago. I've read a few times in magazines that the best ones are those telescopic chrome ones made by PCL (England). They're only about $10.

    Stuey


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    THE best guages are the ones bought from kart shops. My guage cost me $125 and its excelent, for car use an over kill, but you said you like to be precise. There are some digital ones that tell you pressure, humidity%, etc...

    However you MUST consider that readings can waver on more than just tyre temp; other significant factors include road temp , time of day, altitude, loading, moiusture in the tyre, the weather etc(humidity, ethalpy)... hence us go-kart racers actually measure our tyre pressures BEFORE AND AFTER EVERY RACE. So the fact that you might have got different readings might be down to more than just cheap/expensive/different guages. - Chris
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    Oh, I should say by the way, I've used PCL's gauges (Pneumatic Components Limited) for 20 years and I have two PCL gauges of different design (one measures very high pressures for truck tyres) bought 25 years apart (one was my Dad's) and they show within one lb/ft of the same pressure on the same tyre. That's pretty consistent. You can buy them from K-Mart now, as well.

    IMO, you can't go past well engineered simplicity, if it works.

    Stuey


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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuey
    Oh, I should say by the way, I've used PCL's gauges (Pneumatic Components Limited) for 20 years and I have two PCL gauges of different design (one measures very high pressures for truck tyres) bought 25 years apart (one was my Dad's) and they show within one lb/ft of the same pressure on the same tyre. That's pretty consistent. You can buy them from K-Mart now, as well.

    IMO, you can't go past well engineered simplicity, if it works.

    Stuey

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    I have had a dial-type gauge for a while (cheapish) and recently suspected it was a bit dodgy. I bought a PCL-style pencil gauge recently (approx $10) and it reads the same pressure.

    Not sure what the point of that little story was but I have read that the PCL-style gauge is much less prone to going out of calibration than a dial type. My only suggestion is to stop looking at lots of different gauges and just use the one, ie. if the servo one is bad (which it usually is) just adjust them to your gauge. If the mechanic's one is also different, adjust them to yours again.

    Use the same gauge and it will always be consistent - maybe consistently wrong but still consistent
    Last edited by SLC206; 21st August 2005 at 12:34 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur
    I have checked my tyre pressures with two gauges at home (a cheap one and an expensive $50 gauge) then checked at the service station. All readings were taken cold and they're all different - I'm talking about a 7psi difference between low and high. My mechanic also has a good quality gauge and his reading is different again!

    I don't want to simply assume that the expensive gauge is correct, so is there any way of checking calibration on gauges?

    I'm fanatical about checking pressures, but it's pointless if I'm not reading the correct value.

    I have two, an old telescopic, and a newish (probably 10 years old now) electronic one with Pirelli on it.

    I've found the telescopic to be unreliable, so much can effect the reading, whether the thing is pointing up or down when you use it (unless you always roll the car the get the valve in the same orientation), how clean the slide is, how old the guage is (wear on both the slide and the bush).

    I've compared the electronic with newly installed servo guages (usually pretty accurate for a while), and with those used by tyre installers (which is where I bought it, at their recommendation), and it is always accurate.

    Best

    Mike Brown

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    I know you're only relating your findings, Mike, but there are a couple of points to be made from what you've said.

    Like any precision instrument, you have to keep the telescopics in good nick, and clean. They shouldn't be in the dirt on the bottom of your tool box - the glovebox is a better idea.

    Mine show the same reading no matter what the orientation. The resistance to movement of the slide determines this. A crappy telescopic one isn't recommended - there are some of these around that show a higher reading when the slide points downward because it moves too readily.

    I agree that there are obviously good brands of higher tech gauges around that are probably more accurate, but the PCL was recommended for the home mechanic for its combination of excellent value, accuracy and convenience. Like I alluded to above, I've seen magazine tests of them that confirmed this.

    Please have a look at the previous thread where a couple of guys refer to other tests of these gauges:

    Tyre Pressue

    If this sounds like I'm discounting anything else, though, I'm not! I just don't want people to waste money.

    Oh, and I've got a thing for simple design that works.

    http://www.pcl.org.uk/index.html

    Cheers

    Stuey
    Last edited by Stuey; 20th August 2005 at 08:07 PM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by CHRI'S16
    THE best guages are the ones bought from kart shops. My guage cost me $125 and its excelent, for car use an over kill, but you said you like to be precise. There are some digital ones that tell you pressure, humidity%, etc...

    However you MUST consider that readings can waver on more than just tyre temp; other significant factors include road temp , time of day, altitude, loading, moiusture in the tyre, the weather etc(humidity, ethalpy)... hence us go-kart racers actually measure our tyre pressures BEFORE AND AFTER EVERY RACE. So the fact that you might have got different readings might be down to more than just cheap/expensive/different guages. - Chris
    But, once again, how do you know it's accurate? I'm happy to pay the money if it is. Is it really better than the cheap PCL gauges?

    I'm just more confused now. There must be somewhere on this planet you can get a calibration check on a gauge!

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    You'll notice that PCL sell a pretty expensive calibration unit which is used for places that do a lot of inflations - I guess not many would buy them, but those that install equipment woul probably have one. How about trying the yellow pages for pneumatic equipment installers? They might test your gauge if you talk nicely to them...

    Cheers

    Stuey


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    Default Tyre press. gauges.

    Accreditation.
    This is a standards scheme that most repair shops come under in order to carry,"Accredited Workshop" on their shingle.
    This means, among other things, that workshop equipment is calibrated at regular intervals. All measuring gear ie torque wrenches, micrometers, wheel aligning gear and tyre pressure gauges.

    So just hi yourself along to your nearest "accredited" servo, use their tyre gauge and compare.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur
    But, once again, how do you know it's accurate? I'm happy to pay the money if it is. Is it really better than the cheap PCL gauges?

    I'm just more confused now. There must be somewhere on this planet you can get a calibration check on a gauge!
    Accurate?, well i gues it comes down to the fact that 1000's of race hungry racers across the country use it... so reputation and the fact that they work.

    The accuracy comes in on WHEN you do a test. If you use the same guage all the time and check the pressures under the same conditions then you can establish accuracy, but it near impossible to precisely reproduce the SAME test conditions each time, as I said before there are just too many, variables.
    Hence we racers check before AND after racing; but ALSO we use the same guage each time.
    Compare to a person with 2 watches, he will never know the exact time, however, if he buys a descent watch and accurately sets/calibrate the time to begin, then it is logical, fair and with reasonable accuracy to say that he will have the right time.
    Hence I use race guages, as they are factory calibrated, I'm not saying they MORE accurate, what I'm saying is when it comes to giving you an indication of the pressure of air in that particular tyre, at that particular time, for my $$ these are THE best.... simple things like, clip on valve, thumb pressure release, large easy to read face, rubber hose and dial cover for protection, good carry case etc... the fact that it has rearely let 1000's of racers down tells me its good enough to win national champion ships with, its good enough for me. - Chris

    ps, do yo really need to best for road use? you do know that just driving round the block (that's 4 left turns) will easily give you a different reading. Even just driving down to your local for top ups etc. will have an affect.
    ... ptui!

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    I've got my Snap-On gauge I got from my apprenticeship days as a bike mechanic.

    Now, I am not entirely sure if this theory holds water or not, but with me it certainly does.

    Some particular bikes were very well known to be extremely picky with their tyre temperatures. Mine in particular had to be (front) 33psi, (rear) 41psi.

    I used many different gauges and tried riding the bike, having it never feel "right". Even if the same gauge read 0.5psi out, the bike would handle funny. This wasn't just psychological. I had friends try the bike, without me telling them anything. And they commented on the handling and "turn-in".

    I used my Snap-On gauge and set the pressures to factory spec, and the bike handled as it was suppose to.

    It might not be very accurate, such as the PCL ones. But I think if you use just the one gauge all the time, at least you'll be somewhat consistent with your pressures.

    pipsqeek
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    Default Tyre gauges..

    Pips,
    I can appreciate the bike tyre pressure thing but I think some of the previous froggies are getting carried away over a pound or two over and under with their everyday transport.

    I place these blokes in the same category as those who lay awake wondering if the fridge light has gone off!!

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    hihi wel said.. i musr say im of those sods whom recons close enough is near enough and in doing so.,. readily use what ever gauge is at ofer the servo..

    Having said that.. i always set them to the same PSI, around 35-40 on my 505 as to decrease variability.. and i always do it when the treds are warm. but bah.. dont care that much..

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    Quote Originally Posted by bowie
    hihi wel said.. i musr say im of those sods whom recons close enough is near enough and in doing so.,. readily use what ever gauge is at ofer the servo..
    This is a little risky I have had servo gauges over inflate by 30 psi this is murder on your tyre and would effect your breaking os well. I'm not concerned by being out by 5or so PSI but 30 is rediculas.

    The only servo gauge I trust is the BP ones that have a digital one on the post that autimaticaly adjusts to the set PSi .

    Cheers
    MattG
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattg
    This is a little risky I have had servo gauges over inflate by 30 psi this is murder on your tyre and would effect your breaking os well. I'm not concerned by being out by 5or so PSI but 30 is rediculas.

    The only servo gauge I trust is the BP ones that have a digital one on the post that autimaticaly adjusts to the set PSi .

    Cheers
    Matt
    5psi is quite alot when most cars tyres vary from 30-35psi... marginal is 1psi on a road car.
    If you drove your car and i let all tyres down by 5psi, trust me you will notice, the problem is that in reality it goes down by this much over a much longer period (weeks. months etc).
    The problem with the BP ones is that unles your nearest BP is just outside your garage door you wont get even readings as its near impossible to make sure eachtyre has received the same heat cycle... hence by the time you get to the station your not starting at the same point.
    The auto BP units also can't take loading into consideration, so its a pure PSI reading...
    Hmmm I think i might not really be helping.
    But the easy general rules are: use the same guage all the time, check BEFORE driving anywere (tyres cold) and if you have to pump up the tyre make sure the car is on level ground, and go 2psi more than the recommended pressure by the manufacturer. - Chris
    ... ptui!

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    A man who wears but one watch knows what time it is.
    A man who wears two is never quite sure.


    +or - 10% is the accuracy for your usual tyre gauge, (so at 35psi a difference of 7psi between different gauges, is not unusual).

    Like any measuring instrument it has to be calibrated and re-calibrated at regular intervals with operational checks when used.
    Single point checks are useless as linearity is not measured, (3 minimum).

    Construct a rigid column 64feet high, with sight glasses at 16,32, 48 and 64 feet. 32feet of water at STP, (standard temp and pressure) will equal exactly 1 atm, (this can be measured at the base of your home calibration rig by an inverted air gap jar and nipple). Repeat for differing water column heights, plot your graph, correct for altitude and air pressure/temp and tide, (QNF can be obtained from the nearest aerodrome), (thermometer calibration covered at another time).

    Now realize you are not doing tyres for F1, take a Bex and have a lie down.

    Middle of the road priced gauge kept out of the crap will more than satisfy any A^@l desire to keep the tyre pressure just so, (at least you check).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamma
    Now realize you are not doing tyres for F1, take a Bex and have a lie down.

    Middle of the road priced gauge kept out of the crap will more than satisfy any A^@l desire to keep the tyre pressure just so, (at least you check).
    ah Gamma you cack! ... funny guy, but yeah sensible advice.- Chris
    ... ptui!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamma
    A man who wears but one watch knows what time it is.
    A man who wears two is never quite sure.


    +or - 10% is the accuracy for your usual tyre gauge, (so at 35psi a difference of 7psi between different gauges, is not unusual).

    Like any measuring instrument it has to be calibrated and re-calibrated at regular intervals with operational checks when used.
    Single point checks are useless as linearity is not measured, (3 minimum).

    Construct a rigid column 64feet high, with sight glasses at 16,32, 48 and 64 feet. 32feet of water at STP, (standard temp and pressure) will equal exactly 1 atm, (this can be measured at the base of your home calibration rig by an inverted air gap jar and nipple). Repeat for differing water column heights, plot your graph, correct for altitude and air pressure/temp and tide, (QNF can be obtained from the nearest aerodrome), (thermometer calibration covered at another time).

    Now realize you are not doing tyres for F1, take a Bex and have a lie down.

    Middle of the road priced gauge kept out of the crap will more than satisfy any A^@l desire to keep the tyre pressure just so, (at least you check).

    Dont forget the cup of tea with the BEX

    Nearly any guage has to be better than the servo's. I reckon if you want to be pedantic get a guage that you are comfortable with the used of eg dial or rod or whatever. ASyou go around servo's at different times check your guage agaist thiers and record the differences, but use yours to adjust the tyres. Now over time you will get an average of error between yours and the different servo's. You can then decide that based on errors your guage is + or - the average and compensate accordingly. I reckon apart from a SAA callibration thats about the best you can do. Check the tread wear patterns and also adjust over time. You will end up with a guage that is calibrated not just for tempreature but driving style, driving area etc for as you see the tread wear you will compensate and decide hmmm thats running over infalted so I will back off the pressure a bit. etc etc.

    Or am I being silly

    Otherwise when you chuck a wheely and the tyre heats up you will have to stop and let some air out


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