TPMS or tyre pressure monitoring system is a mechanism that uses sensors mounted on the valve stem or the wheel to measure and relay information regarding tyre pressure, either on the dashboard of the vehicle or a connected device that is fixed above the dashboard for easy reading.
When considering installing a TPMS you will want to talk to someone about the different types of TPM systems available, there are two, and the pros and cons of both, in addition to understanding the benefits you stand to gain by installing a TPMS for your vehicle.
The two types of TPMS available are;
A direct monitoring system has sensors installed on each tyre or each valve stem designed to gauge the pressure of each tyre. This information is directed to either the dashboard of the vehicle or an external monitor that is installed on the windscreen above the steering wheel where the driver can easily view the reading and/or indicators.
An indirect monitoring system is quite different to a direct system. The key difference is that the system works with the wheel speed sensors attached to the vehicle’s existing Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS). Low pressure in one or more tyres results in those wheels turning at a different wheel speed than the rest of the adequately inflated tyres. This is picked up and communicated to the driver via the TPMS monitor either within the dashboard or on an external device that’s placed in front of the steering wheel.
The US and EU implemented laws that made it mandatory for vehicles to be fitted with TPMS as far back as 2007 in the US and 2012 in the EU. Australia however, is yet to make the TPMS mandatory for vehicles. There is a lot of research to demonstrate the advantages of using a TPMS which include the optimal performance of the vehicle, the safety of the user and other road users and the environment.
Better for the Environment
Driving with manufacturer-specified tyre pressure is good for the environment because maintaining the optimal tyre pressure prescribed by the car manufacturer improves fuel efficiency, and in turn, reduces the emission of CO2.
Better for the Vehicle
Tyre pressure that is less than or more than what is prescribed by the manufacturer not only shortens the lifespan of the tyres but impacts the driving experience and wear and tear of the vehicle negatively. Under-inflated tyres wear out a vehicle’s tyres faster than tyres inflated to the prescribed level. It is estimated that a tyre which is for example 30% under-inflated will wear a tyre 45% faster.
Better for the Driver
An under-inflated tyre can cause the tyre to blow out, especially when driving at high speed on expressways, thus potentially endangering the life of the driver, the passengers and the lives of other road users. Optimal tyre pressure also improves vehicle handling providing the driver with a better driving experience.