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Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems


A tire pressure monitoring system can help you maintain proper inflation of your tires. The bulk of accidents resulting from tire failure have cited the under inflation of tires as the root of the problem. The obvious course of action is to be sure that your tires are well inflated by checking the tire pressure. It is recommended that you gauge your tire?s pressure every couple of weeks. It is difficult to gauge your tires just by visual appearance, and it is even more difficult to do so when you own low-profile tires with extra stiff sidewalls. But by the time you can visually see that they are low, you could already be as much as 15 psi under.

One way to alleviate this tedious yet necessary task is to have a tire pressure monitoring system. Should your tires fall below acceptable pressure, your TPMS will alert you with a warning that you should pull over somewhere and inflate your tires. The TPMS has sensors that are mounted in the drop center inside of the wheel, or on the end of the valve stem as an antenna. Sensors that are attached to the rim drop center are usually held in place by a long steel strap that wraps all the way around the circumference of the wheel. The sensors themselves are very accurate, usually with an error of 2 psi over or under.

First off, be sure that you take your car to a shop you trust. When the shop starts the process, they?ll do so by pulling down each of the stock tires individually at the area closest to the valve stem. They will not have to remove the entire tire; they only need the space to remove the sensor and the valve stem. With those things removed, they will insert a stock valve stem so you can continue to use your stock tires if needed. Then, using a fairly basic band and mounting system, each of the sensors are siliconed into custom-made brackets. Each one of the brackets will hold a sensor in place and has an accepting slot that will be used with the metal band. That band is then wrapped around the wheel and then tightened so that it is perpendicular to the valve system.

From there the tires are mounted, balanced, and inflated to the recommended specifications. The vehicles computer system is then reset to accept the new readings. This step requires the shop to have vehicle specific expertise, since different cars have different computer systems when dealing with a TPMS. The vehicle is then taken on a test drive to ensure that the readings are accurate and that no warning lights come on.

The TPMS is powered by a small lithium battery that will last anywhere from 5 to 10 years. But eventually it will need to be replaced.

Also, rotating your tires will change the location of your sensors, so be sure to reset the computer every time you rotate your tires. Consult your user's manual on how to perform such an action.

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