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Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS): A close look

Here's where you can find out all about the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS)
In this article, you’ll learn all about the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS)

Basically, the purpose of TPMS is to consistently check the pressure in all tires and ensure that none is either under-inflated or overinflated.

But what is it and why a car need it?

Check it out.

What is (TPMS)?

TPMS is short for Tire Pressure Monitoring System. It follows that a TPMS light is a dashboard indicator that tells you when there’s a problem with the air pressure in one or more of your car’s tires. You’ve probably seen the light; it takes a horseshoe shape that has an exclamation sign in the center.

When a tire is underinflated (tire pressure is low), more of its surface area touches the road. As a result, friction between the tire and the road increases, which in turn accelerates the rate at which the tire wears out. The increased friction is responsible for such issues as tread separation, blowouts and ultimately premature wear.

On the other hand, an overinflated tire has lower traction with the road. Consequently, its inner treads, particularly at the center, wear out prematurely. The rate of wear increases significantly when you’re driving on a rough road or through potholes.

Besides tires wearing out prematurely, improper inflation makes vehicle handling harder. It also affects the fuel efficiency of the engine. The car will use more fuel for less mileage than when the tires are properly inflated.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Types of TPMS

There are two types of TPMS. These are direct and indirect.

The Direct TPMS

Direct TPMS has special sensors within the tires that are pressure sensitive. They monitor the exact pressure in the tires. Also, these type of sensors goes a little further by providing readings of the tire temperature.

All the data according to the situation of the tires are collected and transmitted to the dashboard. This is where the indicating lights will inform you of the situation of the tires.

Each sensor in each tire has a unique number to enable the driver to know exactly which tire has a problem.

However, replacing this type of TPMS might be complicated due to its complex system. I highly experienced technician with the knowledge of this type of system would be required to handle such a highly complex system.

The Indirect TPMS

The indirect TPMS depends on the sensors on the wheel speed that are used by the anti-lock brake system. These sensors compare the speed of the vehicle to the revolution of each wheel by using a computer system which is on-board.

The computer can interpret all size of the vehicle’s tires by the rate of their revolution. When the wheel spins faster than normal, then the computer reports the tire to be under-inflated. A message is then delivered to the driver by an indicating light.

The indirect TPMS does not then measure the tire pressure but it measures the tire revolution.

Bonus: The Honest Review of the Best TPMS Tools

Benefits of TPMS


Tires that are under-inflated can cause danger while driving on them. The TPMS will always warn you when there is low pressure on the tire. Once you realize this, change your tire immediately and in the next tire maintenance shop, let it be checked and repaired.

Being conscious and attentive to the systems, you will always be assured of safety on the road.

Fuel Saving

A lot of fuel than normal can be used when driving on the under-inflated tire. An under-inflated tire does not have stability. It can make the vehicle to drag at a low speed using a high gear and thereby consuming more fuel. Proper tire pressure will save you on fuel consumption.

A lot of fuel than normal can be used when driving on the under-inflated tire.


Before TPMS, drivers had to stop at fuel stations to measure their tires pressures. Bending on each tire and all the processes of checking pressure, was really time consuming and tiresome.

With TPMS, you only have to stop when you notice under-inflated tire and that you need to change it. Otherwise, it is smooth driving without tire hustles.


With TPMS, the insurance companies are sure that chances of accidents are low. As we said, many accidents are caused by a tire problem. In this case, the insurance will allocate you better and low insurance policy that if you did not have a TPMS.

Vehicle Value

Most of the new vehicles come with TPMS already installed by the car dealers. With this system, the dealers are able to sell the vehicles a little higher than the normal price. The reason is TPMS. TPMS Maintenance Issues Passive Regeneration.

Maintenance of Tire pressure monitoring system is very important. It is very important to be assured that your system is in good working condition. Whenever you are changing your tire, precaution should be taken so that you do not interfere with the tire pressure monitoring system.

If for some reason it was accidentally hit by the pry bar, it is always advisable to have it checked and maintained.

At all time when driving, the driver is cautioned to keep an eye on the blinking light of the sensor. This is because every blink is a message.

The Bottom Line

Without TPMS in your tire, then it means you really do not care about your life. The government should at least put strict measures on having all vehicles installed with TPMS. By so doing, then accidents on our roads would definitely reduce.

Read more: How To Rotate Tires Properly

Tim MillerFounderOBD Advisor

I’m Tim Miller from Denver, Colorado. I’m the founder of obdadvisor.com, an automotive blog about "Auto Diagnostic Tools and Repair Guides". My fan page is facebook.com/autozikcom. I've been working as an automotive mechanic and blogger for over 10 years writing articles to share my experiences and expertise.

Web: https://www.obdadvisor.comEmail: [email protected]
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