What Is a Tyre Pressure Monitor System?

A tyre pressure monitor system or a TPMS as it is commonly called is an electronic device that records tyre pressure and records changes over time to provide the driver or owner of the vehicle with important information which can be used to make certain decisions about the health of the vehicle.

Although tyre pressure monitor system (TPMS) is a legal requirement in the US and EU it is not mandatory for vehicles in Australia yet. Because of the benefits, a TPMS can provide to the safety of the passengers and longevity of the vehicle, vehicle owners are increasingly motivated to have their vehicles equipped with a TPMS.

A TPMSs function is to alert the driver to a drop in pressure below that of the recommended percentage prescribed by the tyre manufacturer.   

The overarching advantage of fixing a TPMS is that it can alert the driver to low pressure in any one of the vehicle’s tyres or if one is going flat so that quick remedial action can be sought by the driver and even possibly avert a disaster such as an accident. A TPMS is therefore particularly useful for your boat or caravan trailer.

Currently, there are two types of TPMS used; direct TPMS and indirect TPMS. A Direct TPMS uses a device with a sensor that is mounted to each tyre to measure the pressure of each tyre individually. The sensors in a direct TPMS can also provide a reading of the temperature of each tyre, this however may be dependent on the brand of TPMS used.

An indirect TPMS on the other hand works with the vehicle’s wheel speed sensors that the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) uses. If the pressure is low in one tyre, then that tyre will roll at a different speed than the other tyres. This difference is picked up and relayed to the TPMS monitor/receiver to indicate to the driver that something is amiss. Therefore, an indirect TPMS doesn’t provide a gauge of the tyre pressure but calculates the speed at which the tyre(s) are revolving to provide information to the driver.

There are multiple reasons for choosing to fit a vehicle with a TPMS. Let’s look at three of them.

1.    Tyre Life

The longevity of a vehicle’s tyres can be greatly enhanced by using a TPMS. Both under-inflated and over-inflated tyres can impact the life of the tyres by as much as 30% and 10% respectively. Fitting a TPMS can therefore accrue savings in vehicle maintenance.

2.    Reduced Risks

Driving a vehicle with an under-inflated tyre can adversely impact the driving experience and even lead to the tyre bursting and/or an accident due to the reduction in vehicle handling capacity.   

3.    Fuel Efficiency

Did you know that a mere 9% decrease in tyre pressure contributes to almost a 5% increase in fuel consumption? The correlation between tyre pressure and fuel economy is well researched and is a good reason to have tyres inflated and maintained to manufacturer specifications.

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