Some new and emerging technology costs thousands of dollars to install in a car, and can be more distracting than helpful. And then there are brilliant strokes of simple genius.

The Nissan Tire Pressure Alert & Refill System is just such a technology. It is so simple that we even hesitate to call it "tech." Perhaps that's the beauty of it.

We have seen tire pressure monitors on our dashboards for a few years now since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mandated it. But Nissan engineers and product planners took the mandate to new intelligent heights.

The system not only tells the driver which tire is low--fantastic, since we hated guessing--but it contains a system that is truly clever in that it mimics "technology" of decades ago. Get out of the car to fill the low tire, and the only way you have to measure the tire pressure with today's coin-operated air pumps is to stop, take a reading, fill some more, take a reading, etc. Argh! But the Nissan Refill System not only flashes the lights as the driver fills the tire, letting you know that the air is going in, but blows the car horn when the optimal air pressure is reached. Eureka!

If the system sounds familiar, it should. Before service stations did away with free-for-service hand-crank air pumps, the procedure was thus: the driver cranked the pump to the correct air pressure, and as the air filled up the tire, the pump sent out an audible "DING!" when the set air pressure was reached.

Nissan's throwback approach is truly the kind of new technology that puts a smile on the car owner's face. And for only a few dollars per car. The system is delivered by way of a few simple sensors. "I am personally aware of two rival car automaker chiefs, including one luxury car company, who shook their heads and told me that they were astonished no one had thought of it before," says AOL Autos Editor-in-Chief David Kiley.

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