Review: Zus Smart Tire Safety Monitor

Back in June, I became aware of a IndieGoGo campaign to bring a new tire pressure monitoring system to market. The company behind it was Nonda and I had previously reviewed a their Super Duty USB-A to Lightning Cable as well as the ZUS USB Charger And Car Finder. So I took a chance on funding the campaign on the first day with the promise that it would ship in August along with a free USB cable. Long story short, it took until October to arrive. But at least I got it and I now get the chance to review the ZUS Smart Tire Safety Monitor.

Now, before I get to the review, here’s why this product is different from most tire pressure monitoring systems. Most tire pressure monitoring systems, including ones that come as standard equipment on cars only tell you when a tire is significantly down on air pressure. They have no way of telling you that you might have a slow leak which can allow you to address a potential tire issue much earlier. That’s important because a tire that is down on air pressure can become a safety hazard as tires in that state can blow out besides the fact that they will deflate over time. The ZUS Smart Tire Safety Monitor addresses this by monitoring tire pressure in real time as well as from an historical perspective to let you know if you have a tire related issue long before you’re stuck on the side of the road because you didn’t address it in time. Or worse. It also takes temperature into account as well to add to it’s ability to do its job accurately. All of this is driven by the ZUS app that is available for iOS and Android. One plus about using this app is that the one app will be used to drive Nonda’s growing connected car platform. Thus I can run the ZUS USB Car Charger And Car Finder and the Smart Tire Safety Monitor from the same app. And when other devices appear from the company, they’ll be supported in the same app.

Besides the above, there’s one additional reason why I wanted one of these. I don’t have a tire pressure monitoring system in my 2016 Hyundai Tucson. That’s because unlike the United States, there is no legal requirement in Canada to have such systems in cars. Thus I’ve wanted a system like this on that vehicle for peace of mind reasons.

Here’s what you get in the box:

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You get four tire pressure sensors that replace the valve caps on your car and they read the pressure in real time. On the right is the receiver which has Bluetooth connectivity so that it can communicate with the sensors and with your phone. Inside the Installation Kit, you get this:

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You get five bolts (one is a spare) to lock the sensors in place so that they don’t get stolen along with a wrench to tighten said bolts. You also get Velcro to secure the receiver in place in your car. There’s also a replacement cap for the sensor along with a gasket to ensure that water stays out of the sensor.

I used the Velcro to mount the receiver in an out of the way spot in my car in the center console:

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You’ll notice the green lights. There are four of them on the receiver that indicate that the tire is fine. If a tire has an issue, they’ll not only change color but the receiver will sound an audible alert. That way you don’t have to rely on the ZUS app to let you know what the status is of your tires while you’re driving. You’ll also note the three white lights on the receiver which indicates that it is connected via Bluetooth. Finally, you’ll notice the USB port which allows you to charge your device. Thus you’re not giving anything up by using the Smart Tire Safety Monitor.

Now the sensors (which water and dust resistant and are IP67 rated by the way) come pre-labeled and the entire system is pre-configured at the factory. Thus setup is insanely easy:

  1. Get the ZUS app on your phone.
  2. Turn on your car.
  3. Plug the receiver into a USB port.
  4. Open the ZUS app, click add a device and follow the instructions to pair the receiver to the phone. Then make sure you keep the app open to enter the correct tire pressure for your car into the app.
  5. Remove the stock valve covers from the valve stems on the tires.
  6. Install the locking nuts on the valve stem and then the sensors. All the sensors are labeled as to which wheel they go on, so you need to pay attention to that. You have to screw the sensors in tight enough so that you can hear the sound of air coming out of the tire and then hearing it stop.
  7. Done. Declare victory and have a beer.

The company promises that this will take ten minutes and it took me about that long to get all of the above done. In case you’re wondering what the sensor looks like on the wheel, here’s a picture:

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It really doesn’t attract any attention in my case. Though I can see that a different rim design might have it sticking out, which in turn might attract some attention. Thus, your mileage may vary on this front. The sensors have a lithium battery that is user replaceable, and is rated to last a year.

Next up was to set the tire pressure. For the Hyundai Tucson that I drive, the cold tire pressure is 35 PSI. Now cold tire pressure is defined as the vehicle having been parked for three hours or more, or if the vehicle has been driven less than a mile (1.6 km) at a moderate speed. Now, when you fill your tires at a gas station, the air that you pump into them might be “hot”. Also the pressure reading that you get first thing in the morning when the air temperature is cooler may increase in the middle of the day when it is warmer or if you’ve driven a fair bit. Thus, what I do is I usually set my tire pressure to 37 PSI (or 2 PSI over what is recommended) which means that when the temperature drops, it should drop to 35 PSI. So, using a tire gauge that I trust, I did that and then I went out for a short drive. This is what the Tire Safety Monitor saw:

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That’s pretty accurate. You can drill down on any tire to see the history of temperature and pressure changes:

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You can also drill down further to see the “AccurateTemp” trend which keeps track of temperature changes to the tire. High temperatures could mean that the tire is about to fail:

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I did have one oddity with the receiver. My original plan was plug it into the only USB port that the Tucson has and then plug my phone into the USB port. That turned out to be a problem as doing that caused all sorts or weird issues with the car’s infotainment system where it would randomly do things such as switch audio sources. Thus I ended up plugging it into the ZUS USB Car Charger And Car Finder to make that problem go away. Other than that, I had no issues during my testing.

The ZUS Smart Tire Safety Monitor will be generally available in October and goes for $129 USD and has a 12 month warranty. I would get this if your car doesn’t come with tire pressure monitoring, or you want tire pressure monitoring that is far more accurate and useful than what came with your car. Whatever your use case is, it’s easy to install and works well.

 

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One Response to “Review: Zus Smart Tire Safety Monitor”

  1. […] The Zus Smart Tire Safety Monitor is different from most tire pressure monitoring systems. Most tire pressure monitoring systems, including ones that come as standard equipment on cars only tell you when a tire is significantly down on air pressure. They have no way of telling you via your smart phone that you might have a slow leak which can allow you to address a potential tire issue much earlier. Read my review here. MSRP $129.  […]

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