Tire Pressure Monitoring System Buying Guide
Tire pressure is important for the safety and fuel efficiency of your vehicle. Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems, or TPMS, are becoming common in Canadian vehicles -- a great benefit for drivers who don't check their tire pressure as often as they should. This guide will help you understand why tire pressure is important, look at the different TPMS types available and discuss TPMS maintenance.
Why Tire Pressure is Important
Your tire's contact with the road and traction is directly related to its air pressure. Proper tire inflation gives your car optimal handling, reduces tire tread wear, and increases fuel economy. But many vehicles have improperly inflated tires, with under-inflation being the most common problem. 70% of passenger cars and light trucks have at least one under-inflated tire.* This can cause problems:
- Under-inflation increases rolling resistance and places additional stress on tire rubber, reducing fuel economy and increasing the risk for tire damage or even a blowout.
- Under-inflated tires cause about 250,000 accidents a year, and 75% of roadside flats are caused by a slow leak or under-inflation.
- A tire may lose up to half of its inflation before you can visibly see the difference, and 35% of drivers admit they never take the time to check tire pressure. *
A Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is an electronic system for monitoring your vehicle's tire pressure. Most cars manufactured after 2007 already have TPMS installed. Before changing your tires, check with your service advisor to confirm if your car has TPMS installed.
There are two types of pressure monitoring systems: direct and indirect.
Direct TPMS measures the actual pressure from within the tires, using a pressure sensor with a transmitter. An in-car receiver monitors the pressure, and notifies the driver if the pressure in any tire drops below a set level.
Indirect TPMS monitors tire pressure by using the vehicle's antilock braking system's wheel speed sensors. The system compares the rotation of the tires to one another, and will alert the system if one tire rotates at a different speed than the others. Because the system is indirect, it may trigger more false alerts.
TPM sensors may require replacement/maintenance for these reasons:
- The sensor has been damaged and is no longer reading the psi properly.
- The battery on the sensor has died. Typically, batteries for TPMS sensors last 5 – 7 years. If the battery is dead the entire sensor must be replaced.
Whether you are looking for a second set or for replacement sensors for your TPMS, Canadian Tire offers an economical solution.
* Study by Rubber Association of Canada.
If you are putting on your winter wheels and tires, the existing sensors will stay inside the tire when removed. Moving sensors from one tire to another requires additional time/labour. In addition, driving around without your sensors is dangerous and your warning light will stay on permanently.