FOBO Tire Bluetooth Smart TPMS review

{ 14 comments }

fobo_tire-box

My fun car has wide, low profile tires that I regularly have to check to make sure they have not lost air pressure. While not a massive burden, it does take time and effort that only seems to get worse the older my knees get. Anytime my car sits more than a few days, instead of guessing how much air is in my tires, I get out my pressure gauge to confirm that my wheels/tires are good to go. To alleviate this hassle, the engineers at FOBO have created a new Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) that uses Bluetooth 4.0 tech and individual tire sensors to actively monitor pressure and provide real-time temperature data to your smartphone where and when you need it. 

fobo_tire-presensor

Above is a picture of my wheel and tire preinstallation of the FOBO sensors. As you can see, my tires are very low profile that sometimes are difficult to tell visually if they are in need of additional pressure or not. I do admit, I am a bit AR about checking because last year I trashed a set of front tires due to low air pressure.

fobo_tire-contents

Package Contents:

  • 4 – Tire sensors (with CR2032 batteries included)
  • 1 – In-Car unit (with 2 AA size batteries included)
  • 6 – Lock bolts
  • 2 – Lock bolt wrenches

fobo_tire-OSs

The FOBO Tire began as an Indiegogo, crowd-funded effort that blew past its original goal of $28,000 on its way to $186,105. As I stated, the FOBO Tire (TPMS) uses Bluetooth 4.0 technology to interface with your Android or iOS smart-devices, providing real-time pressure and temperature data.

Specifications:

  • Operational pressure range: 0 to 350 kPa
  • Operational temperature range: -40 to 85°C
  • Tire sensor & In-Car unit battery life: up to 2 years (at 25°C rated temperature)
  • Water & Dust resistant: IP57
  • Tire sensor weight: 10g each
  • Certification: FCC, CE, BQB and RoHS
  • Sensor structural threshold: 350N ball pressure intensity test
  • Mechanical & Environmental Reliability Testing Standards: IEC 60068-2-2, IEC 60068-2-1, ISO 21750, IEC 60068-2-29, IEC 60068-2-5, IEC 60068-2-32, ISO 15184, ISO 2409
  • Compatible with Android 4.3 and above as well as iOS 7.1 and above

fobo_tire-screensetup

Installing the FOBO Tire system is quick and easy. FOBO says you can install the Tire system ‘in less than 5 minutes without the need for professional help’. Even with taking pictures for this review, installation took me less than 10 minutes. All you have to do is install the app, and follow the on-screen instructions to install the system.  The sensors screw onto your tire’s air inlet valve. As you install each sensor in a prescribed order, your smartphone app instructs you to mate each sensor with the app in turn. The system is designed to work even when your car’s ignition is switched off and provide data from up to 30 m (100 ft) away.

fobo_tire-controlunit

The FOBO Tire TPMS uses two AA batteries in the in-car unit and a CR2032 for each valve sensor. The batteries are expected to last roughly two years in normal temperatures. The in-car unit acts as a backup system, enabling you to monitor your tire data when you forget or do not have your smartphone.

fobo_tire-sensorwrench

Even with the locknuts, the tire-mounted devices would be pretty easy to steal/remove from a vehicle. However, each sensor is keyed to the owner’s individual FOBO account, making theft relatively pointless. Stolen FOBO tire sensors and in-car unit cannot be reused.

fobo_tire-error

The FOBO Tire app notifies you in the event any tire sensor is missing.

fobo_tire-sensorinstalled

The Tire system is waterproof and according to FOBO,  relatively durable. I have been driving with them for several weeks in the wet Seattle weather and they are doing fine and working well. The sensors are much larger than the standard valve stem cap (aka not small by any stretch) but not hideously so. The sensors do not weigh a lot (10g) and do not impact the balance of your tire and wheel.

Other than being a bit bulky compared to the typical valve cap, the Tire Bluetooth Smart Pressure Monitoring System is a brilliant idea that FOBO has executed well. The system is quick to install and easy to use. The smart-device app works extremely well at providing real-time pressure and temperature data even when the vehicle is in motion…saving you/me time, effort, and my old knees.

Source: The sample used in this review was provided by FOBO.  Please visit www.my-fobo.com for more information.

 

Product Information

Price:$179
Manufacturer:FOBO
Pros:
  • Real-time tire pressure and temperature data
  • Wireless connectivity to Bluetooth 4.0 enabled smart-devices
  • Quick and easy installation
  • Easy to use Android/iOS app
Cons:
  • A bit expensive
  • Bulky
Posted in: Bluetooth Gear, Car Gear, Reviews
{ 14 comments… add one }
  • m December 10, 2014, 11:24 am

    how do you add air (remove dongle or pass through)?
    on in-car receiver, what’s the display show?

  • Fred December 10, 2014, 11:58 am

    You add air to the in-car receiver and it transfers air through bluetooth to the tires !

    The sensor just replaces the tire’s valve cap, you have to remove it to add air.

  • Andy Simmons December 10, 2014, 5:00 pm

    I’d be interested to know how this affects your tires’ ability to hold pressure over time. In order for these caps to measure the tire pressure, they have to be depressing the Schrader valve in the valve stem. This means that the job of retaining air has been passed from the Schrader valve to the FOBO cap. I don’t know about you, but I trust a tried-and-true valve design to hold air better than a threaded cap.

    • Dave Rees December 11, 2014, 10:12 am

      @Andy I have not seen any impact/leaking due to the sensors. But it could be an issue with the valve being open and the only thing holding the air in is the sensor being screwed onto the stem.

      • Andreas Bruhwiler January 22, 2015, 3:07 pm

        @Andy
        I received two sets of sensors last week and mounted them on two cars.
        Soon after I noticed that one (of eight) tire was losing pressure and I check the sensor. Indeed, it was leaking but not really the sensor but me. I was too cautious to not over tightening the sensors and this one was not sitting tight enough. I went over all the sensors to tighten them a little more but still with ‘normal’ force. Now all is well.

        • Andy Simmons January 23, 2015, 9:53 am

          See, that’s what concerns me. all it would take is for someone to walk by and give one of these things a slight turn, and you could find yourself with a flat tire. I guess it’s not a big deal in most cases since the system should report that to you anyway, but if your car is sitting for several hours (like in a parking lot during a work day) with a slow leak, it could be a problem. Maybe these should come with one of those mini air compressors that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter, just in case.

          • Andreas Bruhwiler January 23, 2015, 8:15 pm

            Andy, the sensors come with a nut to counter screw and it takes a special tool (included) to tight or to release the nut and the sensor.

  • Betty Widerski December 11, 2014, 8:42 am

    Have you gone through a car wash with them? I gave up on the valve stem visual analog pressure indicators (the buttons that show red or green) after losing several in the car wash.

    • Dave Rees December 11, 2014, 10:20 am

      @Betty I hand wash that car. So far, I have washed it twice since installing the FOBO pressure sensors with no ill effect. Not sure how well they’d survive a carwash.

  • Dave Rees December 11, 2014, 10:02 am

    @m yes, the sensors must be removed to add air.

  • Larry G February 13, 2015, 11:21 am

    My Car has its own tpms, unfortunately it doesnt tell you which tire is low on pressure. How will this affect my cars built in tpms sensors.

    • CJ February 18, 2015, 10:27 am

      I actually contacted FOBO about this yesterday and their reply was:

      “FOBO Tire works independently of your OEM TPMS. They won’t affect each other.”

      I suspected that would be the case, but I wanted some confirmation from FOBO.

  • Brian March 11, 2015, 9:51 pm

    I read about these in AutoWeek Mag. Read the write up and thought sounds decent , since the article had this listed at $90.00 Now I click on here and see it priced at $179.00 ??? Think I’ll stick with my $12.00 tire gauge…

  • Carlo May 4, 2016, 6:14 pm

    I recently lost the connection on two of the tires so thought of replacing the batteries in the tire units as well as the in-car unit. On the app screen I thought pressing ‘Logout’ would allow me to do so and start again. After replacing the batteries in the in-car unit I attempted to reconnect it to my Iphone. Now I don’t see my car on the homescreen and when pressing ‘+’ I get a WARNING messege saying this in car unit already owned by another user. Installation process stopped. AE1032000000lUy. Presuming its a stolen unit.

    Whats going on?
    Surely Logging out shouldn’t cause this error
    Any help gladly appreciated

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