What is TPMS?

Filed in Blog by on September 2, 2016 0 Comments

TPMS - Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems

A Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, or TPMS for short, is essentially an electronic monitoring system that checks the air pressure of the tyres on a vehicle. The all-important data is then communicating in one way or another to the driver. Depending on the system and the model of car, this could be by way of a warning light, a pictorial display or a gauge.

What are the benefits of TPMS?

Well, there are two clear (and very important) benefits. The first is one of safety. Under-inflated and malfunctioning tyres can be a contributory factor in many accidents. Early recognition of problems via TPMS will help you to avoid accidents. The second benefit is one of efficiency. Correct pressure on tyres reduces the rolling resistance which increase the overall fuel efficiency of a vehicle. So, all in all, these are two very good reasons to have TPMS.

What are the different types of TPMS?

There are two main types to be found: Direct TPMS and Indirect TPMS.

Direct TPMS employs sensors that are attached to the tyre valve inside each tyre on the vehicle. These sensors then monitor the individual pressure of each tyre and the data is communicated wirelessly to the vehicle's computer system. The data is displayed on the dashboard for the driver to see and if the pressure levels dip below the pre-sets, warning lights will come on to alert the driver that there is a problem.

Indirect TPMS works differently. Here data is used from either the wheel-speed sensors on a vehicle or the ABS to identify and tyre pressure loss. If the differences between tyres goes out of the pre-set tolerance, the monitoring system will display this to the driver.

What TPMS legislation is there?

Since November 2012, all new vehicles have been required by EU law to have TPMS installed. The system can be either direct or indirect. Currently it only needs to apply to the actual road wheels and not any spares.

For all cars manufactured since January 2012, TPMS has also brought implications for MOTs. TPMS testing is now a feature of an annual MOT. Up until January 2015, a faulty TPMS would have only resulted in an advisory point being included on the MOT certificate. However, since January 2015, a defective TPMS has resulted in a failed MOT.

What are the implications of TPMS for buying alloys?

Basically, if your car has indirect TPMS or is not factory-fitted with TPMS, there are no issues at all and nothing to worry about.

However, if your car already has direct TPMS, you have a choice. One option is to re-use the existing sensors on the vehicle. Another option is to buy a new set of sensors. These are widely available for all vehicles.

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