5 Benefits of Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems

March 27, 2012

An onboard tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is a more reliable way to head off blowouts than checking pressure manually every few weeks.

Checking Tire Pressure

Some of the newest vehicles on the road today use tire pressure monitoring systems to make sure that all four tires are properly inflated. This can be a very valuable feature in a car or truck for several reasons.

  • Road safety. Under-inflated tires can be dangerous. They can cause strange, erratic drive patterns at high speeds. A tire pressure monitoring system keeps an eye on tire inflation continually, for maximum safety in everyday driving situations.
  • Increased MPG. Proper tire inflation also leads to maximum miles per gallon for a vehicle. Driving with under-inflated tires can burn a lot more gasoline on any given trip. Good tire pressure maintenance will lead to cost savings and lower fuel consumption.
  • No more manual tire pressure readings. Before tire pressure monitoring systems, drivers had to always monitor their tire pressure with manual gauges. That meant kneeling down to each tire, taking off the valve stem cap, and inserting the tire pressure gauge. With new tech tire pressure monitoring systems, this is no longer necessary.
  • Increased vehicle value. A tire pressure monitoring system can add value to the vehicle, as a feature that saves on costs.
  • Better insurance rates. Because a tire pressure monitoring system helps with safety, it may lead to lower insurance premiums for your vehicle.

Setting a Tire Pressure Monitoring System

There are two types of tire pressure monitoring systems; the first measures the air pressure directly with a tire inner tube sensor that is placed inside of the tire. The second measures the pressure indirectly by using other facets of the vehicle's performance to determine when the air pressure is too low. In either case, the system will inform you of when the total pressure has dropped to an abnormally low level.

Tools and Materials

  • Hydraulic jack and jack stands
  • A tire pressure monitoring system kit
  • A screwdriver
  • Tire cleaning supplies
  • A tire balance machine

Prepare the Vehicle
Begin by mounting the vehicle up on the jack stands so that you'll have room to remove the tires. Remove the tires and bleed all of the air from them, and then remove the air valves from each of the four wheels.

Install the Sensors
Each of the different sensor components will be assigned to a particular wheel. In order to get an accurate reading of your tire pressure from the monitoring system, it's important that you match up the wheels and the tire sensors appropriately. When you've determined which sensor goes where, attach the sensors using the adhesive in the installation kit. Use the screws that come with the kit to further attach and strengthen the sensor connection.

Adjust the Sensors
Move the sensors slightly so that they each fit securely and flush against the wall of the inside of the tire. By placing each sensor adjacent to the tire inner tube, you'll ensure that it gets a good reading and prevent any damage to the sensor. Clean out the tire to prevent any other damage.

Balance and Replace the Tires
Use your tire balance to test each tire once again to be sure that it is ready for the road, then replace each tire in its appropriate position on the wheels of the car.

Activate the Monitoring System
The monitoring system can likely be activated through the dash. This is often done using the cigarette lighter. Make sure the system is on and getting an accurate reading and then lower the vehicle from the jacks and continue to drive as normal.