Under-inflated tires on a vehicle can result in lower tread life, higher fuel costs and poorer vehicle maneuverability. Worse still an underinflated tire increases pressure on the tires due to increased friction and heat. This can eventually lead to a blowout resulting in loss of control of the vehicle and a potential accident. Tire blowouts on trucks laden with heavy goods can be particularly dangerous and can result in serious injury and death.

Tire blowouts usually occur because the driver is unaware of an incorrectly inflated tire. The driver neglects the tire until it is too late and a blowout occurs. Thankfully since the advent of tire pressure monitoring systems this can be avoided. A tire pressure monitoring system or TPMS involves placing a car or truck tire pressure sensor inside the wheels of the vehicle. The sensor can measure the pressure of the tires in real-time as it is being driven and feed data to a monitor on the dashboard. The driver can then be alerted should the tire fall below the recommended value.

Since 2007 it has become mandatory for all new vehicles less than 10,000 pounds to have a tire pressure monitoring system already installed on both trucks and cars. While this should reduce blowouts problems have resulted when the device requires resetting. Resetting a tire pressure monitoring system becomes necessary whenever a tire needs servicing or the batteries within the sensor run out. Resetting the device is necessary so the TPMS can re-learn where all the sensors are positioned. This can be a particularly problem with trucks that have many tires. Many different tools and procedures are required for different TPMS devices and this has caused a lot of confusion amongst consumers.

Thankfully TPMS devices have become more sophisticated and user friendly. Some devices are called indirect tire pressure monitoring systems as they do not involve placing a sensor directly within a tire. These TPMS devices can detect changes in pressure using the speed sensors of ABS/ESC systems. While these systems are less accurate they do have some advantages. In that don’t require such complicated reset procedures. Also Car and truck tire pressure sensors have longer battery lives making removal of a sensor within a tire less of a problem.

Tire pressure systems have come a long way since measuring your tires using a tire pressure gauge was the norm. However tire pressure systems still have some way to go in becoming more user-friendly and less of a hassle when replacing tires.