TPMS: What is it?

Kontrolka-TPMSTire pressure is very important for maintaining your vehicle and reducing the chances of getting into an accident.

The right pressure gives you a better driving experience.

If you are driving a newer car model, then its most likely has a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).

A TPMS is a smart system that monitors tire pressure of tires in the truck.

It reports real-time information on the condition of tires through a gauge in the dashboard.

A yellow dashboard light or pictogram is the indicator that your car has the system installed.

TPMS comes in two forms: direct and indirect.

Legally all cars made from the year 2007 and used in the US must have a TPMS to alert drivers when tires are underinflated to help reduce the number of accidents caused due to wrong tire pressure.

Why Do Vehicles Have TPMS?

TPMS front side

Vehicles have this system to maintain the recommended pressure on the tires all the time.

The wrong pressure is a leading cause of incidents on the roads. If the air pressure is low, an indicator light comes on to warn you.

Tire traction and durability is dependent on maintaining the right pressure on the wheels.

When your wheels lack enough air, they wear out unevenly and lose their grip which could be dangerous on wet and snow-covered roads.

You will be using more fuel to keep your car balanced on the road with such tires.

To check if your truck or SUV has a tire pressure monitor, just start the car and look for a symbol on the dashboard that has an exclamation mark.

The yellow warning light can come in the form of a graph that lights up when the pressure is low.

Alternatively, you can consult the car’s manual which is an excellent guide to the systems found in the car.

If your vehicle was manufactured after September first in 2007, it should have TPMS.

While not all cars are equipped with this system, tire pressure should be checked every three to four months to make sure that your wheels are working properly.

Bonus: Autel MaixCOM MK808: Automotive TPMS Diagnostic Tool Review

How Does It Work?

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TPMS works in two different ways: direct and indirect TPMS

Direct TPMS (dTPMS)

This system works by the use of sensors found inside or fitted outside each tire that directly measures the pressure of every wheel.

The sensors send this information via a radio signal to the receiver in the car.

This data is then processed to signal whether the tires have a right pressure and the warning light comes on.

Some direct systems measure temperatures of the tires as well and identify underinflation on each tire by displaying the current state of the tires continually.

This real-time data is very critical as it keeps you informed on the condition of your wheels.

Maintenance of dTPMS is quite expensive.

Batteries need to be replaced every once in a while when they run out of charge.

In a system installed inside the wheel, when the battery runs out, the whole system has to be replaced. Some units use a wireless power which significantly increases their lifespan.

Sensors installed in the wheels last longer than those found on the outside which can quickly get damaged.

Direct TPMS can be bought as an aftermarket product for cars without the unit.

Benefits of dTPMS:

  • Gives accurate and reliable pressure readings
  • Longer lasting system
  • Its sturdier than the indirect method

Drawbacks of this system:

  • It’s more expensive
  • Needs to be set up by an experienced technician
  • If the battery runs out of charge, the whole system needs replacement

Indirect TPMS (iTPMS)

Indirect TPMS uses wheel speed sensors used by the anti-braking system.

These sensors measure the rate of rotations the wheels make and make a comparison according to these revolutions.

Based on the rotations each tire makes, the computer system determines if the tires are of the same size.

When a tire makes more rotations, that means its light and smaller in size indicating its underinflated.

The computer then sends an alert to the driver to take corrective measures.

The iTPMS doesn’t measure the tire pressure, it simply monitors how fast wheels rotate and make conclusions based on this information to send alerts when it detects something not working right.

Benefits of iTPMS:

  • This system is inexpensive compared with the direct mode Require less programming and maintenance.

The downside of the indirect system:

  • Data is not very accurate as it doesn’t measure pressure
  • It’s unreliable if your tires are worn
  • Readings depend on the size of tires in the car. If you size up or down, interpretations change

What Are the Benefits of TPMS?

Road safety

When the tires on your vehicle have the right pressure, it helps with safety issues.

You will be taking measures to ensure your safety as well as other motorists on the road. It’s important to keep pressure right at all times to reduce road accidents.

Better consumption of fuel

Driving with under-inflated tires burns more fuel so having the right pressure on the wheels will save more fuel and money.

Increase tire life

By maintaining the right tire pressure will significantly keep your tires in right conditions leading to longevity giving you value for your money.

Wheels with the correct load will provide a better driving experience as the car is more stable and drives smoothly.

What Should I Do If My Warning Indicator Comes On

The indicator light comes on to inform you that your tire pressure is low or high.

Weather will play a significant role when it comes to wheel pressure.

When the temperature drops or increases drastically. It can make the tires inflate or deflate.

Wait a day or two for the tires to adjust to this new temperature.

If the light is still on, then you should consider taking your pump our and adding or reducing pressure according to the readings you are getting.

That should set the system right.

In the indicator light doesn’t go away, then you should probably take your car for servicing.

Some issues you may encounter when the light comes on include

  • You will use more fuel
  • Your tires will wear out faster due to uneven tread wear
  • Your wheel handing ability will go down
  • Tires may blow out due to stress being put on them

Important Notes

Having a tire monitor system makes it easy to keep track of your tires right on your dashboard.

It gives the ability to proactive when it comes to maintenance thereby helping you use your tires for longer.

The system offers security and a better driving experience knowing your tires are protected.