What Does A TPMS Mean?

TPMS stands for Tyre Pressure Monitoring System and it is a standard feature on all new cars since 2014. The TPMS is built in to automatically and continuously measure the tyre pressure of your car tyres. When there is a loss of tyre pressure, the system will indicate to the driver through a warning light on the display.

The TPMS aims to increase driver safety and reduce accidents as incorrect tyre pressure has been known to increase the braking distance. At the same time, it can negatively affect the cornering ability which also heats up the tyres. Tread on tyres with the correct pressure will last longer, reduce roll resistance and increase water dispersion.

The Importance Of A TPMS

The main objective of fitting TPMS is to give drivers an early warning system in the event that something goes wrong. Each tyre is fitted with a sensor that sends data to the Engine Control Unit (ECU). It will then alert the driver through a visual or audible warning if there is a variation in tyre pressure or temperature. It also alerts drivers of a damaged sensor valve or when the sensor valve battery has expired.

Having a TPMS fitted improves overall safety as it checks your tyre pressure every few seconds while on the move. Thanks to the continuous monitoring, the chances of a tyre blowout or any accident relating to incorrect tyre pressure is greatly reduced. The TPMS also saves you money in the long-term as correctly inflated tyres last much longer and improve fuel efficiency.

Tyre Pressure Checks And Fault Detection

While the TPMS technology is impressive and time-saving, you should still conduct regular, manual tyre pressure checks. Often things aren’t as they seem and it’s in your best interest to know what to look out for. It may not be common but problems do arise with technology. As such, a faulty TPMS will result in an automatic MOT failure on cars registered after 1 January 2012.

Sometimes when the tyre pressure is close to the level that triggers an alert, fluctuating ambient temperatures may cause your TPMS warning light to come on. Often when the tyre pressure drops overnight, the light goes off when the pressure increases during the day either from rising temperatures or heat generated from driving. If it persists, use a pressure gauge to check all your tyres and inflate any tyre that is low.

Regular Tyre Inspections

Pressure checks should be done at least once a month or before you embark on a long journey. Remember to perform them when the tyres are cold using an accurate and reliable tyre pressure gauge.

When conducting your manual tyre pressure check, spend some time checking the overall condition of your tyres. This means ensuring that the tread is not excessively or unevenly worn and whether there is any debris. Anything from nails and screws to sharp stones or glass could lead to a puncture or blowout.

If you have any doubts about your tyres, visit Elite Garages for a FREE Tyre Check. Our professional and friendly tyre experts will perform thorough checks to identify any potential problems or threats to your safety.

Related Article: ‘What Are The Real Dangers Of Driving On Worn Tyres?

TPMS And Passing Your MOT

As of 1 January 2015, any car displaying a faulty TPMS during an MOT will result in immediate failure. To help drivers understand more about the safety features, TyreSafe produced a simple video.

If you drive a car or a motor home, you need to know the following:

  • Since the 1st November 2012, all new cars and motor homes sold in the EU must have a TPMS
  • From 1 November 2014, all cars and motor homes in the EU must have a TPMS at the initial registration

With a direct TPMS, the sensor must always be checked during a normal tyre service. Vehicles subject to TPMS obligations must fit all tyres with tyre pressure monitoring sensors. If a new tyre is fitted, a sensor compatible with the TPMS must also be installed.

Indirect Versus Direct Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems

Indirect TPMS is when the car uses existing sensors of the ESP/ABS. It identifies the tyre pressure through the tyre speed and then sends the data to the ECU. When there is pressure loss, the system will display a warning to the driver. However, it does not show the exact pressure loss and temperature measurement. It also doesn’t measure any data when the vehicle is standing still. Compared to direct TPMS, there is no extra effort or cost when changing tyres as they do not have individual sensors.

Direct TPMS

Direct tyre pressure monitoring systems keep track of tyre pressure and temperature with the help of sensors in each tyre. They send the data to a central receiver where it processes the information and displays it on the dash for the driver. It is very precise with additional functions including:

  • tyre position detection
  • measuring pressure loss when stationary
  • monitors the spare wheel

Servicing Your Tyre Pressure Monitoring System

While TPMS sensors are designed to last for a long time, the sensor’s internal battery will run out eventually and that would require replacing. These sensors can become faulty or fail completely due to weather damage, corrosion or accidental damage when changing tyres.

To ensure everything remains in good working order, experts recommend replacing the valve cap and core components whenever a tyre is changed. When the tyre fitment centre replaces a TPMS sensor, they may need to re-programme the new component using specialist diagnostic equipment.

If your TPMS sensor develops a fault, never replace it with a ‘standard non-TPMS type valve’. Doing so will put your safety on the road at risk and a failed MOT.

Why Choose Elite Garages?

Tyre safety checks at Elite Garages are done quickly and efficiently to help get you back on the road safely. It only takes a few minutes as our experts check the tread, pressure and overall condition. If you suspect misaligned wheels or notice any tyre damage, visit the nearest Elite branch.

Put your trust in Elite Garages as we provide dealership quality services offering exceptional value for money without any hidden costs or small print. We also offer vehicle safety checks where we inspect your brakes, battery, exhausts, oil level and shock absorbers,  just what you need to keep you and your family safe for every journey or going away on holiday.