TPMS – Useful Knowledge about Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems
Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS)
Well-tried systems for more road safety. If a loss of air pressure is detected in one or more tyres of a car, a signal on the display inside the vehicle lights up and warns the driver.
Since November, 1st 2012
Since November, 1st 2012 all newly type approved passenger cars and caravans in the EU need to be equipped with a TPMS.
From November, 1st 2014
From November, 1st 2014 this EU regulation will apply to all newly registered vehicles, too.
However, the new law does not prescribe which system needs to be used.
So, both direct and indirect systems are allowed.
The only precondition for it is to meet the requirements of ECE-R64, which describes the functionality of such systems. It does not state, though, if OE sensors or after-market sensors are necessary.
Advantages of TPMS
More road safety
Less fuel consumption
Less CO2 emissions
Less tyre wear
TPMS – 2 Systems 1 Task
In case of an indirect system, ABS or traction sensors monitor the wheels and potential differences in rotation that would typically occur when there is a loss of tyre pressure.
In addition to that, the vibration of the wheels is measured, which can also be a signal of a drop in pressure.
Unfortunately, indirect systems can neither measure tyre pressure directly nor their temperature. Apart from that, detecting a pressure loss when the vehicle is not in motion is impossible, too.
Indirect TPMS are simpler and less expensive when changing tyres because the installation of sensors in the wheels is not necessary.
In comparison to indirect systems direct TPMS are more detailed when gathering data about tyre position, loss of pressure – even when the vehicle is not in motion – and monitoring tyre pressure in spare wheels.
Nevertheless, when changing tyres or during maintenance, such systems require much more work.
In vehicles belonging to class M1 (registered after November 2014 or even before) with a standard TPMS, summer as well as winter wheels need to be equipped with functional sensors.
In direct systems, a sensor in the wheel measures the air pressure of the tyre.
This information is transmitted via radio signals to a control unit in the vehicle.
In many cars the driver is then even able to check the individual tyre pressure of each wheel.
If there is a decrease in pressure, a warning signal appears automatically.
Direct systems are very precise as they monitor the pressure in every single wheel of the car.
When switching wheels and tyres all sensors need to be programmed anew if their IDs or the position of the wheel has changed in order to ensure failure-free communication between the sensors and the TPMS control unit.
Information and Suggestions
When switching wheels, wear and failure of sensors can be prevented by maintenance or renewal of valves and gaskets.
Vehicle Safety Test
If the TPM system of a vehicle is not fully functional or does not work at all, this is a safety issue and might be seen as a defect during any vehicle safety test.
In vehicles that are subject to the new TPMS regulation a direct or indirect TPM system was installed already during production, as otherwise type approval and registration would not be possible within the EU. If a vehicle is not equipped with a standard TPMS, retrofitting is not obligatory, though.
Direct systems require vehicle specific software, which is provided by different sensor manufacturers. Every sensor has its own ID. This ID needs to be recognized by the vehicle and can also be copied from sensors that have already been installed. Some vehicles are equipped with a control unit that is able to identify and assign sensors automatically. Communication between the sensors and the TPMS receiver must be failure-free.
Using TPM systems requires special knowledge and skills. This is why mounting wheels and tyres is a safety issue and should be done by experts only.
It is recommendable to check the battery level of the sensors every time you change your tyres. In our shop you have a warranty on all batteries of 2 years or a maximum of 50,000 km.
Direct or Indirect
If your vehicle is already equipped with a TPMS, it is necessary to find out if it is a direct or indirect system.
If it is an indirect TPMS, you can continue to buy and change your wheels as you did before. New wheels will have no effect on the TPMS.
The warning signal at the top of the page has three different states:
The signal does not light up: The system is fully functional.
The signal is blinking: System error, one or more sensors have not been recognized. In this case you should visit a service centre or garage immediately.
The signal lights up: The tyre pressure of one or more wheels is incorrect. In this case you should go to a service centre, too, in order to check all wheels and tyres as well as the TPMS. If you are not close to a garage or your service centre, we suggest contacting a roadside assistance service. Driving on might be dangerous.
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