While driving down the road, you must have seen the instrument panel suddenly displaying a yellow icon showing exclamation mark inside the tire. What does it mean exactly?
Over 42% motorists don’t know what TPMS actually is. When one or more of your tires are underinflated, the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS for short) starts blinking, and that’s exactly what it’s meant for. Almost every tire leaks a small amount of pressure over time, and the tire pressure also drops due to cold weather. Perhaps that’s the reason why it’s recommended to check your tire pressure every month for smooth and safe driving. To prevent the tire-related crashes, proper inflation is the key.
In that case, here’re a few useful things that you need to know about the tire pressure monitoring system. So let’s dive in;
Type of Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Mainly there are 2 major types of TPMS: direct & indirect.
Indirect TPMS wouldn’t cost you as much as direct TPMS does. Indirect TPMS doesn’t monitor air pressure, and it uses ABS – Antilock Braking System’s speed sensor to detect that one tire seems to rotate faster than others. Perhaps that’s the reason why Indirect TPMS is known to be quite inaccurate.
Direct TPMS is the perfect medium to measure the tire’s actual pressure. The Direct TPMS systems use gauge mounted to either wheel or tire’s valve. Gauge sends signals to car’s computer. Zooming in further, you’ll discover different ways of data being interpreted and displayed in the car. It entirely depends on whether the system is a low-line or high-line unit.
High-line Systems are equipped with sensors that are mounted in each of the wheel-wells that normally display individual pressure of each tire on the instrument cluster.
Low-line Systems are normally incorporated on less expensive cars and prompt the low-pressure warning light. And then it’ll be up to the driver to check exactly which tire is underinflated.
If you don’t have the TPMS install, it’s recommended to buy a quality tire pressure gauge. While purchasing, make sure the gauge has a tolerance of ±1%. Anything beyond 2% will set tire pressures too low/too high. Besides, make sure you treat a tire gauge like a high-end torque wrench. Dropping it from 4-feet would inevitably change the readings whether it’s digital or analog.
What To Do When TPMS Light Illuminates?
When you see the TPMS light illumination, it’s time to check the tire pressure. It’s possible that only one tire needs to be inflated but make sure you check all the tires. If you find that all tires are properly inflated and still the TPMS light is on, there might be some kind of malfunctioning with TPMS.
Apart from that, it could also mean that you’re currently using the spare Dunlop car tyres and the vehicle is unable to detect the sensors of the original wheel. As mentioned above, temperature drop may also affect the tire pressure, and the TPMS light comes on. So keep in mind these things as it’ll help you deal with TPMS correctly.