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MotoMaster aluminum digital tire gauge

Available at: Canadian Tire

Price: $19.99

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Does everyone know to keep your tires inflated to the proper pressure? It seems like one of those iron-clad laws of car ownership passed down from father to son and mother to daughter, such as: "Don't skip an oil change," and "Don't let the tank run all the way dry."

Well, if you're not convinced, here's some of the things low tire pressure does: reduces gas mileage and increases wear on the tire treads.

Tire pressure too high? That reduces handling and braking (not enough tire makes contact with the road). Okay, I learned that second part from the instruction manual of the MotoMaster digital tire gauge I picked up for a test run.

I have a couple of the old-school tire gauges, the kind that are essentially just a stick that pops out with a tire pressure "ruler." However, the MotoMaster gauge had two drawbacks: it felt imprecise (is that a 34 or a 36?) and it's not easy to use in low light. The backlit screen on this digital gauge seems like a cool thing I will never use (even in the depths of darkest winter). But what is cool is that it has three modes to switch through: pounds per square inch, bars (a unit of pressure some tire and car manufacturers use in place of PSI) or kilopascals (some overseas companies use that measure).

If you have to do something as nerdy and responsible as check your tire pressure, at least you can have a nifty tool for it.

If you have questions about driving or car maintenance, please contact our experts at globedrive@globeandmail.com.

Follow us on Twitter @Globe_Drive.

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