Autos: tire pressure gauge accuracy

Maintaining vehicle safety, for me, means self-tutoring. The tutor shares an experience with tire pressure gauges.


I noticed the car tires might look a bit low, so wondered about their pressure. I found a gauge and checked them. The gauge read very low: about 26psi.

Yet, we have several gauges. Finding another one, I measured the pressure again: about 35psi, it said.

I double checked the pressure with each gauge, but there was no doubting what they said: one, 26psi, while the other, 35psi.

How is it even possible, I wondered, that two pressure gauges could disagree so dramatically? Tire pressure measurement is a matter of safety; what a gauge says, you should be able to count on.

Next morning I went to a parts store and told my story. They were a bit surprised by the disparity between the readings, but not surprised they were different.

“I use a digital one. Digital ones seem to work the best, but you do pay,” I was told.

I got a nice discount and returned home. Interestingly, the digital one reads about halfway between the two stick models I tried.

I decided to research tire pressure gauges on the internet. Sure enough, advises limited faith in the accuracy of cheap stick-type pressure gauges. Some are good, but unless you have a reference to test against, how do you know?


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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