Thursday, November 09, 2017

Review: ZUS Smart Tire Safety Monitor

Ever since I received the ZUS Smart Car Charger from Nonda, I have exclusively used that charger on my car to charge the dash cam and my phone. The GPS parking location feature is awesome and it just automatically logs my position and even monitors my battery without much user intervention. So when they came out with their ZUS Smart Tire Safety Monitor system, I decided to get it too.

 
Why is this needed?

You see, while most newer cars in the USA have pre-installed tire monitoring systems, the ones being sold in the Philippines still doesn't - even the current models.
I installed this on a 2016 Honda HRV before heading out on a long trip to see how well it fares.

In a USA Today article dated July 4, 2016, it notes that proper tire pressure can keep you out of car accidents

Keeping your tires inflated to the right pressure improves fuel economy and reduces the likelihood of breakdowns and even accidents.

Besides optimizing fuel efficiency, a properly pressure tire could make or break your car trip.

A tire 25% below its recommended pressure is three times as likely to be involved in a crash, while a tire 25% high is twice as likely as a properly inflated tire, according to data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency.

We all know what kind of roads we have here in the Philippines. We have all sorts of potholes, uneven humps, various road debris, and everything you can imagine that could damaged even the toughest tire brands. Making sure that your tires are properly taken cared of and has the consistent pressure it needs can spare you the unnecessary hassle when least expected.


What you get out of the box are four screw-in replacements for your valve caps, a main USB receiver shaped like a car, and a few nuts, and mini wrench, and other extras like the plastic cap, velcro sticker (for receiver mounting), and silicon band.

Package Includes:

  1. Sensor ×4
  2. Receiver  ×1 (Requires USB power)
  3. Anti-Theft lock ×4
  4. Installation kit


Installing the sensor and receiver

Installation is quick and easy. You will need to plug in the receiver first on any of your on-board USB ports. Pair your phone with the ZUS app and then proceed with the installation of the 4 sensors.

Be sure to read the labels on each tire sensors and place them accordingly. It’s better to use the provided anti-theft nut to make it harder for thieves to steal your sensors. You’ll just basically use the provided small wrench to rotate it counterclockwise for a snug fit. Don’t forget to store the specialized wrench into your glove compartment so you can unscrew it yourself when needed.

The receiver also has a USB pass through so you won’t lose a precious USB port on your car.

Receiver Specifications

  1. Size: 1.5×3.3 in / 38×85 mm
  2. Cable Length: 7.9 in / 20cm
  3. Audible and Visual Alerts: For air leaks, high/low pressure high temperature, low battery voltage, lost sensor signal

The sensors are all powered by a small CR1632. They say that at 3 hours of use a day, the battery could last for a year before needing to be replaced.

Sensor Specifications

  1. Size: 0.7×0.8 in / 21×18mm ;
  2. Pressure Reading Range: 0 - 130 psi / 0 - 9 bar
  3. Temp Reading Range: -20°C ~ 120°C  /  -4°F ~ 248°F
  4. Operating Temperature: -40°C ~ 125°C / -40°F ~ 257°F
  5. Water Resistance: IP67
  6. Anti-theft: Anti-theft Nut & Wrench
  7. Battery: Replaceable lithium battery CR1632


Using the App

Launch the ZUS app, or download it in the Google Play / iTunes.

Initial setup is needed like pairing the sensors and the receiver to your phone. Just follow the on-screen instructions and you're good to go. Video how-tos area also available so it's really dumbproof. Remember to install the sensors in the afternoon or after the car has cooled down, don't install the sensors on a recently used car.

Upon installing one sensor, I tested it right away and lo and behold, it's there. The UI neatly displays the car with all information on on tire PSI pressure and temperature. (Just to note that the app will have to calibrate itself initially so you'll need to start and run the car first to get a correct reading)

Travelling NLEX, SCTEX and TPLEX on the holiday, at fast speeds and with strong rains didn't cause any issue on the attached sensors. They provided real-time tire pressure's and will alert you if the app notices some fluctuations - meaning there might be a slow leak somewhere.

The ZUS app also provides useful mileage log and battery stats among others. I believe you can get this using the ZUS charger - even without the tire monitoring kit.

The only issue I have with this is the anti-theft nut. The way it's installed does not give me 100% confidence that it will hold up and really protect the sensors against a determined thief. I get that it's a tradeoff that is necessary so that when I need to pull it out myself, I would just need the specialized tool to do it. But still, I hope there is another way to really make it much secure into the valve. At a retail price of $120, I really recommend this tire monitoring kit among the other built-in methods. The app could only improve over time and so far it has provided me peace of mind without needed to constantly check my tire pressure every time.

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