How does tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) work in my vehicle and what does it do? Do I need any special tools to work on tires that are equipped with TPMS?

tpmsHow does tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) work in my vehicle and what does it do?テつ Do I need any special tools to work on tires that are equipped with TPMS?

In order to understand how the tire pressure monitoring system in your vehicle works, we must first understand what this system does, and the two different types of tire pressure monitoring systems there are.

The first type of tire pressure monitoring system is the direct style.テつ This style places a sensor inside of the tire usually on the rim, sometimes located inside the valve stem.テつ This sensor then directly reads the tire pressure inside of the tire.テつ There are a few downsides to this style, the first being that it makes changing tires on your rims difficult.テつ The other downside is when the battery in that sensor dies you will need to remove the tire from the rim sometimes to replace the battery, or sensor.

The second type of tire pressure monitoring system is an indirect style.テつ The indirect style of tire pressure monitoring works by reading the number of revolutions that your tire is spinning at.テつ This sensor will know if your tire is rotating faster than it should be for the speed that you are going, and then assume that you have low air pressure.テつ The bad thing about this sensor is that it can be thrown off if you buy a different size tire for your vehicle.

Now that we understand what the two systems are, and a little bit on how they work, we will discuss some of the problems that can occur with these systems.

The first thing that can occur is that your battery can die in your sensor.テつ The battery in these sensors usually lasts 4-7 years.テつ This means that you will have to replace the battery, or sometimes even the entire sensor to maintain your TPMS.テつ The other downside is if your sensor is located inside your tire on your rim, you will have to remove the rim, tire from the rim, and then the sensor.テつ You will then have to either replace the battery in the sensor, or the entire sensor.テつ If you do not need to use your TPMS system, then you can just let the batteries die, and either ignore your light, or take it to a mechanic and have them disable the system.

The next thing that can go wrong is that your TPMS sensor can just simply wear out or be damaged.テつ This will cause you to have to replace your sensor or just ignore the light on your vehicle.テつ If your sensor needs to be replaced it may be costly due to the location and the cost of the sensor.テつ Again there is another solution if you do not want to pay to replace your sensor.テつ

All of the above items seem like a drawback when it comes to TPMS, but with the correct tools, maintaining your TPMS is fairly simple.テつ With winter approaching and the cold air causing changes in your tire pressures, it is likely that your vehicle if equipped with TPMS will have the light come on.テつ If this light does come on you simply will need to fill your tires up with air.テつ This is simple you will just need to look up the specification usually located on the door jam.テつ Then you will want to go to a gas station, or go to your house if you have an air compressor.テつ If you do not and would like to buy one this IMC6061V BelAire compressor is a great deal.テつ Once you have located a source of compressed air you will then need to get a tire pressure gauge.テつ This PLE17537 Tire Pressure Gauge is digital, which makes reading your gauge easy.テつ You will then use the compressed air, and your PLE17537 Tire Pressure Gauge to properly inflate your tires.テつ If your TPMS light does not go off, then we will have to move onto the next step.

The next step is you can take your vehicle to a mechanic and pay for them to fix it, or if you are in the automotive service industry and would like to use the tools you can do it yourself.テつ If you are in the automotive service industry then I would recommend buying one of these two diagnostic tools for the TPMS systems.テつ The first is the BTCWRT300 TPMS and the second tool is the OTC TPMS Master Kit.テつ Either one of the above tools will get the job done.テつ These tools allow you to properly diagnose the TPMS system by selecting the vehicle and then following the instructions.テつ They will help you to diagnose whether the sensor is bad, you have a low battery, or whether anything else is wrong.テつ These tools will also let you shut the system off completely in case the customer cannot afford a new sensor or battery.テつ These two tools are both great additions to help work on vehicles equipped with TPMS.

Now that you have your TPMS system working and you understand what your TPMS is you will know what to do when your TPMS light comes on.テつ This simple understanding of what TPMS is and how it works, can help save you a trip and the cost of taking your vehicle to a mechanic.テつ It will allow you to understand that this warning light can be as simple as properly inflating your tires.


Written by: Cody Mammenga an NDSCS Student

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