• Jun 18th 2007 at 10:28AM
  • 11
In September, all new cars sold in the U.S. will be required to have tire pressure monitoring systems. But for all those cars built without them, owners must rely either on their trusty gauge, or one of the new valve-stem monitors. If you've been wondering how well these things work, Consumer Reports has an answer for you.
They bought a set of Air Alert Valve Caps for $25 and put 'em to the test. These caps indicate a four pound drop in pressure by lighting up an LED, a pretty good idea.

You can read for yourself all the pros and cons, but the overall verdict was that they worked, but CR was concerned about durability and accuracy due to temperature-related fluctuations in tire pressure.

[Source: Consumer Reports]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      A dealer was selling these as 'tire insurance' on new sales for ....... $600. I called their bluff, telling them those thing are $10 Autozone parts.

      They conceded it was scammy but that was all the profit the salesguy would get. I still balked but they'd already taken $7k off the thing.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Most (not the car junkie type) people wash thier car more often that check thier own tire pressure.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Hmmm, you drive an ultra-complex and sophisticated $30, 40, 50,000 machine - yet its just too much to check the tire pressure every so often?

      At least commercial pilots are not this lazy, or we would all be dead.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I've been using similar ones (for wifey) for over a year or two now. They are better than guessing.
      • 8 Years Ago
      i also read that they were working on some type of remore you can keep in your car that will comunicate to these things so you can see if a tire looses pressure as you are driving.

      the whole package is supposed to be less than $100 and to me this would be worth deleting that option of the car list which usually add close to $1k
        Steven Spencer
        • 8 Years Ago
        My 2006 C6 Corvette comes with all the tire pressures on a heads up inside my vehicle and also alarms at 24#'s pressure. I think this is a great idea especially for people whom don't check as often. It is a positive safety check and should be an option on all vehicles.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Quoted from the Consumer Reports article:

      "-The caps are relatively small, just about 1” x ½” in size, so they should be fairly discreet, and they only weigh about 0.35 oz. each.
      -We didn’t experience any tire imbalance, but it’s probably a good idea to have the tires rebalanced to compensate for the weight of the valve cap. Mr. Lundqvist says a more miniaturized version of the cap is in the works. "

      Did Consumer Reports really just suggest you have to get your tired rebalanced because you put on a valve cap weighing 1/45th of a pound? (16oz/.35) That's absolutely ridiculous.
        • 8 Years Ago
        What do you expect from the toaster testers? The concept of an automobile is as foreign to them as the truth is to Bill Clinton.
        • 8 Years Ago
        Yeah, I have faith in these gizmos about as much as I do Bush being President—zero.
        • 8 Years Ago
        At 60 mph, those 0.35 oz will act more like 5 pounds. Even toaster testers seem to have their bright moments occasionally.
        • 8 Years Ago
        well, we ballance wheels with 5gram accuracy (give or take 2.5g)

        And even a small disballance like 10 g (0.35 oz) can cause slight vibrations, and parts to wear out faster.

        So yes, i would recomend rebalancing.
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