While ingenious and practical, an American living in Germany explained why this device probably would never catch on in the United States.
Browsing social media and I came across a video from an American living in Germany, who goes by @AmericanGuyInGermany conveniently, explaining how some German gas stations still have these nifty, handheld tire air pressure filling devices you take from an air docking station and use to fill up your car tires with.
As the video below shows, compared to the American equivalent of an air chuck attached to a hose reel, this device eliminates the frustration of dealing with a kinked air hose or having enough hose to reach a far away tire.
Just in case he removes his video, a copy is linked here.
“This is how you fill up the air in your tires in Germany.”
“You take this thing from its post over there and bring it over to your car. Plug this in there and then just press the button to add air.”
According to a German Wikipedia article, the authors refer to it as a “Mechanische Geräte zur Überprüfung des Reifendrucks” or a mechanical device for checking air pressure.
They are generally called air inflators, tire inflators, or air pressure testers, among other similar names.
Here’s a screenshot of one for sale from a German industrial supplier.
While the video is kind of self-explanatory, how it works is these portable, handheld machines are actually mini, compressed air reservoir with its own pressure gauge and air chuck attached to a hose long enough to reach any sized tire’s air valve.
The mini tanks are hung off a central refilling station (air docking station) where pressurized air from a larger air compressor is pumped from and fed to these portable tanks.
Since you don’t have to deal with long hoses, they are that much easier to use compared to American tire air pressure filling machines.
These German air pressure testers are also far less complicated compared to an American air pressure machine, which often has an electronic payment component and a smaller, on-demand internal air compressor that runs when given the signal to turn on.
The cons are you can’t charge customers for using it and, as the American in Germany explains, is portable, meaning anyone can walk off with it.
“Why am I showing you this?” the American guy in Germany says.
“Well, really, for one reason. Look at this thing here, actually this is transportable. I can take this and put it in my car. In America this would be a problem, it would be gone pretty quick. In Germany, it just stays put.”
Perhaps you, a wholesome reader and many in the comments, disagreed with this guy because you think people in your community wouldn’t stoop that low.
“Well, the gas stations usually have CCTV, so they could easily track the thieves down…,” @FuturePilotLeon commented.
“It does not make sense to take it home because it’s filling up where you put it back,” @ffmalex_ pointed out.
You, as well as I, have a feeling deep down that cameras and the lack of use at home would not prevent theft.
For one, there’s the scrap value of metal, a couple dollars that can be then used for whatever reason.
Then, there’s the World Wide Web of online sales, where someone can sell this device locally or to someone on eBay (or a similar site.)
These devices may be going the way of the dodo, anyway, as one commenter from Europe pointed out they’re being phased out for the devices we’re more familiar with.
“Unfortunately they are more and more becoming rare and are being changed into automatic pressure stations , non-removable,” @tollertyp
Compared to the air pressure machines I know, these look a lot more user-friendly and probably don’t break down as much, if ever.
It’s a shame they’re being phased out.
Hopefully they really never go away and maybe might find a resurgence in the United States despite the reasons I gave above.
Prove me wrong, America.
Do you think this could be a thing in the United States?
Let me know in the comments below.