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The Motorists' Guide
  • Guide To Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems

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    Steve Q

    Steve takes a look at another modern safety innovation the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). 

    File:TPMS front side.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

    What is the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System? 

    The TPMS includes 4 individual sensors mounted inside the wheel which constantly monitor the air pressure within each tyre of the vehicle. If there is a loss of air pressure in any of the wheels, the driver will be alerted by a warning on the dashboard that this loss of air pressure has been detected. Dependent on manufacture or age of vehicle some vehicles can tell you on the dash which tyre and PSI its on. This also depends on the type of system fitted to your vehicle and there are currently two types. 

    Indirect monitoring

    This system works by having the sensors monitor the diameter of each wheel to determine if one of them is under inflated. If they recognise a change they will alert the driver who then will have to check each tyres pressures to determine which wheel is affected (unless obvious), then inflate the tyres and reset the system. 

    Direct monitoring. 

    On this system each wheel has a sensor on each tyre valve which monitors the tyre pressures in real time allowing the driver to check them even when driving. Once this system detects a tyre with a low pressure it will alert the drive to which tyre is affected and what pressure it is currently on. This allows the driver to only focus in reflating the affected tyre. 

    File:2013 Volkswagen Golf Variant (10186280046).jpg - Wikimedia Commons

    Where is the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System located?

    One sensor is situated on the inside of each wheel. To determine the correct tyre pressures for your vehicle there will be a sticker similar to the one below on the B pillar, or on the inside of the fuel filler cap which will tell you what the pressures should be for your vehicle. It can also be found in your owners handbook. 

    File:Tire and Loading Information.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

    Does it go wrong? 

    Yes, If there is a fault with the sensors a message will appear on the dash to alert the driver and they can go wrong in various ways: 

    1. Through age/wear and tear
    2. The sensors batteries going flat which again can be due to age. 
    3. Accidently getting broken during tyre changes. 

    This is the symbol that will appear on the dash. 

    File:TPMS warning icon.svg - Wikimedia Commons

    Is it easy to replace? 

    Thankfully the sensors are easy and often cheap to replace. Obviously the sensors don't replace the need to check your tyres pressures manually but act rather as a drive aid.

    File:U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Dustin Roberts, a 379th Air Expeditionary  Wing Public Affairs broadcaster, checks his tires at Al Udeid Air Base,  Qatar, Jan. 10, 2014 140110-Z-QD538-010.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

    I hope you've found this guide useful Please leave a comment to let us know your opinions. 


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