What is a Tire Pressure Monitoring System?
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In 2000, Congress passed the Transportation Recall Enhancement Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act to make tires safer for the motoring public. There are four components to the act – Tire Testing and Safety Standards, Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems, a new Tire Labeling System, and an Early Warning Reporting System.
What is TPMS?
The TREAD Act made it mandatory for automobile manufacturers to include dashboard low-tire-pressure were first required in 10% of new vehicles in 2004, increasing to 100% of new vehicles by 2007.
The gradual loss of air, often as the result of poor maintenance or control of tire pressure is the primary cause of tire blowouts – and the cause of many traffic accidents and fatalities. TPMS was specifically developed to deal with this problem.
By continuously taking extremely accurate measurements, monitoring tire inflation pressure, and informing the driver when under inflation is detected, TPMS dramatically improves driving safety. It also reduces automobile accidents and fatalities, maintains your car's performance level, increases fuel efficiency, and extends tread life.
How Does TPMS Work?
Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) include four pressure and temperature sensors, one affixed to each wheel.
As you can see in the graphic to the right, a TPMS sensor (shown in red) is connected to the valve stem on each wheel of your vehicle.
Each sensor constantly monitors the current tire inflation based on both temperature and wheel speed, and transmits this information to the vehicles onboard computer.
If the inflation pressure falls below a safe level, TPMS alerts the driver by means of a signal lamp on the dashboard instrument panel.
Unlike other warning lights you may have seen on your dashboard in the past, the TPMS warning lamp should not be ignored and cannot be disabled until the tire pressure has been corrected.