If you own a vehicle built after 2007, it has a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). The tire pressure monitoring system indicator light on your dashboard shows when air pressure is low, and it is easily identifiable on most vehicles as a U-shaped flat tire tread and sidewall with an exclamation point inside.
The various tire pressure monitoring systems used by auto makers are designed to monitor the air pressure in a car's tires. Underinflated tires lead to vehicle instability, but more importantly there is a safety hazardtire underinflation often cause blowouts. Using the dashboard indicator light, tire pressure monitoring systems show you when your vehicle's tires are underinflated. These systems work using sensors within the tire or on the vehicle send information to one or several modules in the vehicle.
There are actually two types of tire pressure monitoring systems, direct tire pressure monitoring systems and indirect tire pressure monitoring systems.
DIRECT TIRE PRESSURE MONITORING SYSTEMS
Direct tire pressure monitoring systems use a sensor, or transmitter, in each wheel inside the tire's air chamber. Most Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) usually place the sensors on the valve stem of each tire.
Tire pressure monitoring system sensors warn drivers of underinflation when the air pressure falls below a certain level, caused by either rapid air loss following a puncture or gradual loss of air over time. Some direct tire pressure monitoring systems use dashboard indicator lights that can provide the ability to check current tire pressures from behind the wheel.
The sensors broadcast a radio signal to the vehicle's receivers and the information is then processed and triggers the dashboard indicator light when issues are discovered.
INDIRECT TIRE PRESSURE MONITORING SYSTEMS
Some Original Equipment Manufacturers developed indirect tire pressure monitoring systems to comply with legal guidelines set forth by Federal government agencies.
Indirect tire pressure monitoring systems work with the wheel speed sensors that are part of the vehicle's antilock braking system (ABS). These systems rely on information from the wheel speed sensors to interpret the size of the tire and its revolutions per mile a small tire rotates faster than a larger tire, and underinflated tires are smaller than properly inflated tires. If one tire is underinflated, its circumference changes enough to roll at a higher number of revolutions per mile than the other three tires.
Direct tire pressure monitoring systems are more accurate than indirect tire pressure monitoring systems. An indirect system does not inf
orm the driver of underinflation in individual tires. Also, they do not alert the driver during fall and winter months when temperatures are colder, causing all four tires to lose pressure at a similar rate. Additionally, indirect systems can generate false warnings, proving that it is important to check tire pressure at regular intervals.
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