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What is TPMS and how does it work?

Kwik Fit | Tuesday 11th March 2014 1:15pm

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Tyre pressure is one of the often forgotten elements of vehicle maintenance but is essential to ensure continuous safe driving. Thankfully, an increasing number of vehicles now come with ‘TPMS’ which helps to reduce driving risk.

What is TPMS? Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (shortened to TPMS) are fitted to modern vehicles to monitor tyre pressures and report low pressures or tyre pressure imbalances on a vehicle. TPMS sensors in the vehicle show a warning light when there is a drop in pressure of between 6-7PSI. This is now a legal requirement although some manufacturers set their warning lights to come on when sensors detect much smaller decreases for additional peace of mind.

Although it is only now becoming a standard feature in the manufacturing of motor vehicles, TPMS is in no way a new technology. In fact you'd have to go way back to 1977 to find its origins with the Porsche 911 being the first car to go on sale with a TPMS in 1983. Renault later adopted the safety system in 1992 for the Renault Laguna and Megane Scenic and between 2005 and 2007 TPMS was introduced in the US automotive industry as standard for all new cars.

TPMS became more widely recognised in the UK and Europe when EU legislation laws were passed in 2009 stating that from November 2012 all new models of cars must have TPMS as standard. In 2012 the TPMS fault warning light was added to the DVSA (formerly VOSA) MOT test

So why is the monitoring of tyre pressure important? 1,200 people are killed on Britain’s roads annually because of incorrect tyre pressures. It is estimated that another 5,000 deaths per annum can be attributed to incorrect tyre pressure, but these numbers can’t be proved.

The impact on the environment is another reason why the correct tyre pressure is important – a difference of four to five pounds per square inch (PSI) equates to an increase in CO2 emissions of 6% and means that motorists are using an additional 2 billion litres of fuel annually, costing consumers some £2.4bn annually.

At Kwik Fit we believe in preventative maintenance. We replace the valve every time a tyre is removed from its rim. As the TPMS sensor is just a more complex form of valve, we can service all the various components of the sensor thus ensuring TPMS valve integrity.

If your vehicle doesn’t have a TPMS, don’t worry you can use our Tyre Pressure Search tool to find out your vehicle’s optimum tyre pressure.

Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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