What is TPMS?
Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is a safety feature that is common in modern cars. It is designed to alert drivers when the tyre pressure falls below a certain level, which can be dangerous for a number of reasons.
TPMS consists of sensors that are installed inside each tyre. When you fill tyres with air using the air valves, the TPMS sensors are most likely attached to them inside the rim. These sensors measure the pressure of the tyre and send the data to a control unit in the vehicle, the ECU. The ECU then processes this information and displays it on the dashboard or in the instrument panel. If a tyre pressure falls below a certain level, the control unit will trigger an alert, usually in the form of a punctured tyre warning light on the dashboard.
There are two main types of TPMS: direct and indirect. Direct TPMS uses sensors that are mounted inside the tyre itself, while indirect TPMS uses the vehicle’s ABS (anti-lock braking system) to measure the rotational speed of each tyre. This information is then used to calculate the tyre pressure.
What are the benefits?
One of the main benefits of TPMS is that it can help to prevent tyre blowouts, which can be extremely dangerous. If a tyre is underinflated, the sidewalls of the tyre will flex more than they should, which can lead to overheating and eventually a blowout. TPMS can alert the driver to the problem before it becomes serious, allowing them to safely pull over and fix the problem.
In addition to preventing tyre blowouts, TPMS can also help to improve fuel efficiency and extend the life of your tyres. Properly inflated tyres will wear more evenly, which can help to extend their lifespan. In addition, underinflated tyres will cause the vehicle to use more fuel, as they create more resistance against the road.
Despite the benefits of TPMS, there are a few things that can lead to damage or malfunction. For example, if the sensors are not properly installed or calibrated, they may not work correctly. In addition, sensors can be damaged by road debris or by running over potholes or other rough terrain. You should also be careful when having tyres changesd or alloys refurbished as during these times it is possible to sustain damage to the sensors.
If your TPMS is not functioning correctly, there are a few steps you can take to fix the problem. The first thing you should do is check the tyre pressure to make sure that it is within the recommended range. If the tyre pressure is fine, you may need to check the sensors to see if they are working properly. Usually you will notice the punctured tyre (usually yellow/amber) symbol on the dashboard without a low pressure warning.
If the sensors are not working, you will need to replace them. This can usually be done at a tyre shop or a dealership. You can actually buy individual TPMS sensors yourself but it is important to use sensors that are compatible with your vehicle, as using the wrong type of sensor can cause problems. Many garages or Tyre shops will have electronic portable diagnostic tool that they can use to check the sensor in each tyre (without the need to remove the tyre). In some cases the TPMS warning light may just need resetting using an OBD, for example after a tyre change.
In summary, TPMS is a valuable safety feature that can help to prevent tyre blowouts and improve fuel efficiency. While it is generally reliable, it is important to periodically check the tyre pressure and sensors to ensure that they are working properly. If you do need to replace the sensors, be sure to use ones that are compatible with your vehicle.