Here at Ausdroid we get to play with a lot of cool toys but they rarely more than just that. Sometimes a product comes along that has possible life-saving features. It is widely known that poorly inflated tyres leads to less grip on the road but how often do you check your tyres? For me it was very rarely, if ever. The consequences of having less grip on the road do not need to be expanded upon.
Another consequence of having poorly inflated tyres is an increased fuel usage. Even though I drive souped up V8 it doesn’t mean I don’t care about how much petrol I expend. I care about my fuel usage like anyone else – the only difference is that I try to keep it below 20L/100km rather than the 10 that most people do (I blame constant city driving).
Nonda, the company that brought us the ZUS Smart Car Charger, has expanded their smart car lineup with the ZUS Smart Tire Safety Monitor (STSM). When I got a chance to try them out I was excited. I had just spend a fortune getting the good folk at Bob Jane Box Hill to put some new tyres on my baby and wanted to look after them as best I could.
What do I get?
In the box of the ZUS Smart Tire Safety Monitor is the USB-powered monitor and the Bluetooth sensors that are attached to the ends of the tyre valves and connect to the monitor and your phone via Bluetooth. There is also a wrench and some nuts included to lock the sensors in place to stop them being stolen.
How does it work?
Nonda’s German sensors that are placed on the tyre valves are able to detect not just the tyre pressure but temperature as well. Using algorithms they can be used to determine slow leaks in tyres to help eliminate the dangers of driving with underinflated tyres. The AccurateTemp algorithm analyses the sensor data and alerts the driver to any safety issues. This all helps the driver to avoid any issues before they may occur.
The sensors send their data to the monitor via radiofrequency transmitter. The sensors have a one year battery life based on an average of 3 hours of driving per day and have an IP67 rating so yes you can take them out in the rain. The app on the phone then connects to this monitor via Bluetooth to display the data in an easily accessible and readable manner. The app shows each individual tyre pressure and temperature. Tapping on the tyre takes you to the readings for that tyre; you can view the Accurate Temperature Trend as well as the trend in pressure for that tyre.
Why is it a good idea?
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA) in the US, 25 percent of cars on the road have at least one under-inflated tyre. Their National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has stated that cars with this under-inflated tyre are 300% more likely to be involved in an accident.
For this reason in the States it is mandatory that ALL vehicles manufactured must have some sort of Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). Unfortunately most manufacturers include the very basics when it comes to TPMS, not including early leak detection, not including temperature and not including individual tyre pressure settings.
The US Department of Energy estimates that 3.56 million gallons of gas (yes, petrol) are wasted every day due to improperly inflated tyres. For every 1 PSI drop in all four tyres the mileage is lowered by 0.3%. This may not seem like much but over a year or two is adds up – and that is only for a single PSI increment drop (using US figures Nonda say you can save 11 cents per gallon with proper tyre inflation).
How DID it work for me?
Setting up the STSM was a piece of cake. It was a simple matter of plugging in the central monitor to the USB connection of my car. Then the button on the bottom of the sensor was pressed to put the monitor into pairing mode. Using the Zonda/ZUS app on my phone I was then able to pair the monitor to my phone.
Once the phone is paired I was easily able to unscrew the tyre valve sensors on the valves and secure them using the lock nuts and the included spanner. From here I could set the ideal pressure for each tyre as well as the temperature and pressure units I preferred to use (degrees Celsius and PSI thanks). You can also set the threshold for when you are alerted to changes in tyre pressure and/or temperature. Right off the bat I was able to see each tyre pressure and temperature without any hassles at all.
The sensors will probably best be removed before you take the car in for a service (if they check tyre pressure) and obviously when you get tyres changed, but re-installing them is just as simple as described above.
4 weeks later
After using the STSM for the past few weeks I was able to easily follow the pressure in each tyre. It did drop a bit but not much. I took the car back to Bob Jane where they checked it out giving it a standard service. Once again my tyres are close to the ideal pressure. The advantage of these sensors is that they measure down to the tenth of a PSI. Sensors and tyre monitors at your local servo are not usually that accurate, especially when you consider how often they are dropped and thrown around.
There is not much really to review on this product. It performs what it aims to, and accurately — I checked the pressure readings it gave compared with that at Bob Jane and the differences between the two was minimal. It did occasionally have a couple of issues reconnecting to my phone but going into Bluetooth settings and manually connecting fixed any connection issues I came across.
There are two main things to test on this review device – the functionality and whether it is going to last. After four weeks, the sensors are still on each wheel, despite leaving my car on the mean streets of Mont Albert overnights.
Do I recommend this product?
Having this tyre pressure monitoring system has given me a certain piece of mind that I am doing all I can to maintain the grip of my car on the road. After all I always buy the top quality tyres for my car to help keep me and my passengers safe. What is more important in life than the health and safety of you and your loved ones. The savings in fuel is just a bonus as is the dyno reading I hope to get with properly inflated tyres!
The Zus Smart Tire Safety Monitor will be available from Harvey Norman, VideoPro and Bing Lee at the end of September for $199 with more retailers set to be announced in the coming weeks. It’s not a cheap tyre pressure fix but it’s one that allows you to easily check and use to monitor any slow leaks etc.