“ Manufacturer: Tesco / Type: Accessory - Digital Pressure Gauge „
Up until fairly recently checking the pressure of your car tyres was a bit of a faff. You could either take it to a garage and use the machines there or use the gauge on a foot pump. Both were a time-consuming. At the garage you might have to wait in a queue (and some garages charge for this service); having a foot pump at home was easier, but you still had to find it amongst all the junk in the back of your car/garage, unwind the flex and fix it up to your tyre. These might sound like simple things to you, but they are the sort of thing that gets a little monkey fellow like me very stressed.
Now there's a third option in the form of a digital tyre pressure gauge. This is a small device with a nozzle that fits over your tyre valve, tests the pressure and reports the reading on a little LCD screen on the side. So simple even an incompetent buffoon like me can manage it.
It does look a little odd - something akin to a bent spoon made out of moulded black plastic, but the strange shape makes it easy to fit onto a tyre whether the valve is at the top, middle or bottom. For some reason, I do find it slightly trickier to fit if the valve is towards the bottom of the tyre, but even with that minor irritant, it's still pretty straightforward.
OK, so it's not the nicest looking object. The moulded black plastic looks chunky and slightly cheap (but then it IS cheap -just £4!) and it's never going to win any design awards. On the plus side, it is very small and light. It can easily be slipped into a pocket and carried around all day without weighing you down. The small size (14.3cm tall) means it can be popped into a glove box or the pocket in your car door without taking up too much space, leaving plenty of room for all the other garbage that naturally gravitates towards the glove box!
The gadget could not be easier to use. Pressing the big blue button causes the gauge to turn on and the LED screen to light up. A zero will appear to show when it is ready to use, and the current unit of measurement is represented by letters down the right hand side of the screen (it can measure PSI and BAR pressure, together with a couple of others). Toggling between the different units of measurement is done by pressing the blue button again to shift to the next option until you reach your preferred one. It even remembers the last unit used when you switch it off, so you don't need to select the appropriate one each time.
It has a number of benefits over a conventional foot pump. First off, it's easier to read. The LCD screen might be small (just a couple of centimetres long and around 1cm wide), but it's nice and clear (although there is no backlight, so you do need to use it in reasonable lighting conditions). The numbers stand out clearly on the LCD screen and there's no mistaking the exact reading.
Since it's digital, it's also highly accurate, giving you a reading down to one decimal point. Compare that with a standard foot pump, which can be a touch fiddly to read. Viewed from slightly different angles, the reading on a conventional foot pump can look slightly different. From one angle, the needle appears to rest on 30, from another 28; from yet a third angle, 32. Whenever I used one of those, I was never certain that the reading was absolutely accurate. I knew that the tyres were roughly the right pressure, but it was difficult to be more precise. With this Tesco digital gauge, you can make sure they are inflated to exactly the right level.
One thing that is a little bit of a nuisance is that when the gauge is in the tyre, it's can be difficult to read the screen due to the angle of the gadget and you sometimes have to remove it to check the reading. However, you have to leave the gauge connected for around 5-10 seconds to make sure you have an accurate reading... and you can't always tell when that point has been reached, so it's a bit of guesswork. I've sometimes experienced minor frustration when I've not quite left it in long enough and have found it giving either no reading at all, or a completely ludicrous one (such as 2) just because it has not had enough time to calculate it. This means you have to repeat the whole process again from scratch. Given that all this takes less than a minute, though, it's not that much of an issue.
Of course, it is only an alternative way of measuring your tyre pressure, so if your tyres are deflated, you still need to drive to a garage to pump them up, or dive back into the garage/boot to find your foot pump. If no action is needed, though, this is a much simpler and quicker way of checking.
Another nice feature is the auto-switch off. You can turn it off yourself by pressing and holding the blue button for about five seconds, but it will automatically turn itself off after a minute if you forget so you don't need to worry about forgetting and running the battery down.
Costing just £4 from Tesco, this is a real bargain. It's simple to use, easy to store and cheap. What more do you need? Sure, it's not going to last forever. Presumably, sooner or later the battery will go flat and once that happens the whole thing is useless because the gauge is made of a single piece of moulded plastic and you can't change the battery. Still, given the price, you won't really worry too much about then and when it does eventually die, you'll be quite happy to go out and buy another.
© Copyright SWSt 2012