What is TPMS? You might wonder what is my car’s TPMS system? A TPMS is an electronic system located inside your tire that actually monitors the air pressure in your tires. Our Sundance Automotive technicians in Lakewood can make sure your tires are inflated correctly because having the correct tire pressure is important for braking, gripping the road, and the longevity of your tires.
If your tires are incorrectly inflated, the TPMS will send an alert with a warning light on your car’s dashboard. If there is a steady warning light, you need to get your tire pressure checked, but if the warning light is flashing, it means your TPMS may not be working right.
According to a Popular Mechanics article, a Department of Transportation study from 2001 reports that 60 to 80 percent of cars on the road are driving with tires that are under-inflated by as much as 10 percent. It also reports that 20 to 50 percent of cars have tires that may be under-inflated by as much as 20 percent. But here’s what you want to consider, your TPMS warning light will only go on when your tire pressure is less than 25 percent. And that may be too late. When it gets to that level, it will reduce your car’s fuel economy, not be able to grip the road (particularly in wet conditions), and the tires may run hotter. So even if your car has TPMS, you should bring it to our auto technicians to make sure the tires are inflated correctly.
The Popular Mechanics article also explains how your vehicle may have either a direct-reading or an indirect TPMS. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two.
An indirect TPMS system uses software and readouts given by the car’s wheel-speed sensors from the vehicle’s antilock brake system. If all of the tires are inflated properly, they will rotate the same number of revolutions. However, if one tire rotates more, then the sensor knows it has a shorter rolling radius because of low tire pressure. This system is cheaper because it just has a display on the dash and some extra code in the operating system.
This can be a concern if your tires are unevenly worn, or if you replace only two tires instead of all four tires. You can try to reset the system to allow for wear when all the tire pressures are correct. TPMS warning lights can be triggered after a normal tire rotation, or if you’re replacing tires of a different size from the previous ones.
The TPMS senders are generally attached to the valve stem or the wheel’s drop center. The metal stem of the sender is usually made of aluminum which can strip the threads if its over tightened. So, bring your vehicle into our trained auto technicians so the senders don’t get damaged from tire mounting machines.
This type of TPMS comes from a more expensive technology that is used to monitor tire pressure, however, it is usually more effective.
These battery-powered sensors are mounted inside the tire and communicate with the TPMS through small antennas in each wheel well. They receive a tire pressure reading and transfer the message to the in-car display. The individual senders have a unique serial number that transmits it to the vehicle so it reads the right tires. Some vehicles even have a sender on the spare tire.
You should resynchronize the TPMS if you rotate the tires or you get a flat. You will need a special tool to communicate with the vehicle and the senders. That’s another reason why it’s important to let us do it for you.
Want to know about maintaining proper tire pressure and driving safely? Bring your car in and our Sundance Automotive technicians in Lakewood can answer your questions about what is my car’s TPMS system more fully and examine your tires to make sure they are inflated correctly. It’s an important safety check that shouldn’t be forgotten.