What Is a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and Are They Worth it?

The current consensus on tyre pressure monitoring systems is that they are well worth the money spent. Even though in Australia TPMS are not yet mandatory for passenger vehicles, in the US and EU they have been made mandatory for quite some years now – since 2007 and 2012 respectively. Passenger cars manufactured in and sold in the US and EU have factory-fitted TPM systems as it is required by law for those countries. For vehicles that do not come with a factory-fitted TPMS, an external TPMS device can be retrofitted to do the job.

Simply put, a tyre pressure monitoring system consists of a set of sensors mounted on the tyres of the vehicle to allow a reading of the tyre pressure of each tyre. The reading is displayed on a monitor to allow the driver to make timely decisions about the health of the tyres and in turn, the vehicle.

Although TPMS systems are not a new phenomenon in the vehicle market across the world, many do not fully appreciate the advantages of having a TPMS installed.

Let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of installing a TPMS if the vehicle does not have a factory-fitted version.

Tyre Longevity

Whether a tyre is under-inflated or over-inflated has a direct impact on the wear and tear of the tyre. For example, it is said that tyres which are 30% under-inflated will wear up to 45% faster. Therefore, maintaining the recommended tyre pressure translates to maintenance cost savings.

Extended Use

A TPMS can be used not only for your passenger vehicle’s four tyres but also easily extended to be fitted to the tyres of your boat trailer or caravan. On a long road trip, getting to know something is amiss with one or more of your tyres can not only save your trip but also avert a possible accident.

Road Safety

Driving with low-pressure tyres can have serious consequences if not checked early. If you have ever experienced a tyre blowout you know what I am talking about. At high speeds, it can cause you to lose control of the vehicle. With a TPMS, you are given a warning signal when one or more of your tyres are running on low pressure.

Environment Friendly

Having your tyres maintained at the optimal pressure level has a positive impact on the environment by reducing the amount of CO2 released. When there is an imbalance in tyre pressure, the vehicle’s fuel efficiency drops causing greater emissions of CO2.

Some of the key disadvantages of installing a TPMS revolve around cost and inconvenience.

Cost of a TPMS

Traditional tyre pressure gauges cost less than a TPMS and may be a deterrent to some extent.

False Alarm

Because a TPMS is electronic, there are occasions when the system can give a false reading due to a malfunction causing unnecessary inconvenience and costs associated with a service. 

Unreliable Readings

The TPMS can throw inaccurate readings because of several reasons. For example, unevenly worn tyres can give inaccurate readings.