Tire maintenance & safety

Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems Help You Keep the Wheels on the Road

These are all important warnings to receive to help prevent damage to your vehicle and to keep you safe- and then there are your tires. It’s not unusual while on the road to see other cars with one or more tires that look low on tire pressure. You may be driving one of those cars. Wouldn’t you want to be warned?

Of course, you would. Thanks to your car’s Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), you can receive immediate feedback on your tire’s inflation level. Since too little tire pressure can lead to tire failure, this is a major safety concern. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every year in road accidents, about 533 fatalities are caused by tire defects. Adding TPMS to every vehicle could avoid 120 of the 533 yearly victims and spare as many as 8,400 injuries every year.

Not only does a TPMS help improve your car’s safety, but it also has a positive impact on your car’s performance and fuel economy. Far too many drivers are running on tires with too little air pressure. It has been estimated that about one out of every four vehicles on the road is running on under-inflated tires, which means that one out of every four drivers is needlessly sacrificing their vehicle’s fuel economy and handling and reducing their tire’s durability and tread life.

Given these safety concerns and the attention fuel economy is receiving these days it’s not surprising that tire pressure maintenance is an important issue throughout the automotive industry and caused the U.S. government to pass legislation mandating tire pressure monitoring systems. As of September 2007, all vehicles under 10,000 lbs. Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) must have a TPMS.

The NHTSA provides vehicle manufacturers and tire retailers several options that comply with the law and the most popular is a direct tire pressure monitoring system. Direct TPMS uses pressure sensors located in each wheel. Each sensor measures the real-time pressure in its respective tire, warning you when the air pressure in that tire drops at least 25% below the recommended cold tire inflation pressure. Once this happens you will see (in most vehicles), a low-pressure warning light on your dashboard and/or electronic display. However, you can’t assume that simply adding air to the tire(s) is the end of the issue.

It’s always a good idea, when your TPMS warning light comes on, to bring your vehicle into a repair facility that knows how to conduct a thorough diagnosis of the problem, properly fix it and have the sensor reset or replaced.

Unfortunately, like most everything on your car or truck, TPMS sensors are fragile and can require service or replacement as your vehicle ages or when you buy a new set of tires. Each sensor is made up of a number of parts, including seals and valve cores, and it’s vital to have an expert examine your TPMS sensors to keep them operating safely, and thereby extending the life of the sensor.

Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Certified technicians are trained to diagnose and service any problem with your TPMS and can inspect your sensors and recommend if they need to be replaced or serviced. Plus, most tire centers offers a full line of affordable replacement sensors and parts for all vehicle makes and models.

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