Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
In order to assist you in monitoring the pressure in your tyres, all new cars are now equipped with a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) which notifies you of any pressure issues.
To discover how your TPMS works and how you need to look after it, take a look at our animated video.
TPMS Warning Lights
The air pressure within your tyres is the most important factor in determining how well they perform. Pressure affects the tyre’s speed capability, load carrying capacity, handling response, wear rate and overall safety. What’s more, under-inflated tyres will cause your car to use more fuel and emit more CO2 emissions. It’s therefore critical for your safety and comfort that your tyres are properly inflated in line with the vehicle manufacturers’ recommendations. Tyre pressures should be manually checked when they are cold at least once a month or before a long journey. However, in order to assist you in monitoring the pressure in your tyres, all new cars are now equipped with a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) which notifies you of any pressure issues. To discover how your TPMS works and how you need to look after it, take a look at our animation below or click on one of the links on the left. Download our free Tyre Pressure leaflet (840 KB).
To ensure your TPMS system continues to operate properly and reduce the likelihood of an MOT failure, it may be necessary to have the system serviced occasionally.
TPMS sensors are designed to last for many years and miles, however, after a certain period, the sensor’s internal battery will run out meaning a replacement is needed. In addition, sensors can become faulty or fail completely as a result of weather damage, corrosion or accidental damage caused when changing tyres. To ensure the sensor remains in good condition, many manufacturers recommend replacement of the valve cap and core components every time a tyre is changed. When replacement TPMS sensors are fitted to your vehicle, your tyre fitter may need to programme the new component to the car using specialist diagnostic equipment. If your TPMS sensor does develop a fault, under no circumstances should this be removed and replaced with a ‘standard’ non-TPMS type valve. Removing the sensor will not only reduce your safety on the road, it will also result in your car failing its MOT.
Since November 2014, all new passenger vehicles sold in the EU must be equipped with a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS).
TPMS has been fitted to cars for many years but recently the mandatory fitment and maintenance of such systems has come into force. The process began with the introduction of legislation on 1 November 2012, whereby all new models of cars sold in the EU had to have a TPMS fitted. This was broadened out in November 2014 to include every new passenger vehicle being required to have a TPMS before being sold. In the UK on 1 January 2015, legislation came into force stating that for these vehicles, an inoperative or faulty TPMS sensor would result in an MOT failure.
Such is the importance of correct tyre inflation on passenger vehicles, TPMS is regarded as an important safety feature.
TPMS is a system fitted to a vehicle which constantly monitors the pressures or pressure imbalance in the tyres and provides a warning to the driver if these fall below a certain threshold. However, TPMS should not be seen as a replacement for regular manual tyre safety checks. Two types of TPMS systems are fitted on cars today:
- Direct systems use radio sensors mounted inside of each wheel to measure the tyre inflation pressures – they ‘directly’ measure the pressure within each tyre and send the data to a control unit
- Indirect systems utilise the vehicle’s existing ABS sensors to measure and compare the rotational speeds of the tyres and vibrations to ‘indirectly’ calculate the pressure within the tyres.
Both types of system work with the vehicle’s main Electronic Control Unit (ECU) to alert the driver via dashboard warning lights to any pressure loss or variance issues.
If the TPMS warning light on your dashboard illuminates, this should not be ignored as there may be a problem with the pressure in one or more of your tyres.
If you see a TPMS warning while driving, find a safe place to stop your vehicle where you can manually check your tyre pressures against the vehicle manufacturers’ recommended settings. These details can be found in your vehicle handbook, inside the fuel filler flap or on a placard located on the driver’s door sill.
If you are unable to check your pressures yourself, either call for roadside assistance or locate your nearest tyre professional who will be able to help you. You can find the location of your nearest TyreSafe member by visiting our member dealer locator.