Can you rely on your Tyre Pressure Monitoring System?

Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) found in modern cars cannot always be relied on to display accurate readings, according to vehicle diagnostic experts OBDeleven. This revelation is particularly concerning given that motorists uncovered over 50,000 issues with their vehicles’ TPMS in just a three-month period last year, using OBDeleven’s compact diagnostic tool.

The importance of this issue is underscored by alarming statistics from the Department for Transport (DfT). These statistics indicate that a significant 25 percent of road accidents, where a vehicle fault was a contributing factor, were caused by poorly maintained or defective tyres.

A TPMS, now a mandatory feature in all new cars, consists of small electric sensors attached to each wheel. These sensors monitor tyre pressure and communicate the data back to the car. If the pressure in one or more tyres changes, the system triggers a yellow warning light on the dashboard to alert the driver.

However, OBDeleven warns that TPMS can often fail, particularly as the batteries in the wheel-mounted sensors deplete. In such scenarios, drivers might remain unaware of incorrect tyre inflation unless they manually check their tyres.

The Highway Code advises drivers to check their tyre pressure weekly. This recommendation becomes even more crucial in winter months when tyre pressure is more likely to decrease due to colder temperatures.

Juozapas Preikša, a vehicle diagnostic specialist at OBDeleven, emphasizes the importance of not solely relying on TPMS. “While the widespread adoption of TPMS in modern cars has been a positive safety development, they should not completely replace traditional tyre pressure checks recommended by the Highway Code,” Preikša says. He suggests that drivers should also use a diagnostic tool to identify when their monitoring system might be faulty, thus ensuring their tyres are safe.

Echoing OBDeleven’s stance, Karl Naylor, commercial director at Yokohama Tyres, stresses the importance of regular tyre checks. “As the critical connection between your vehicle and the road, maintaining optimal tyre conditions is paramount not only for peak performance, precise handling, and effective braking, but also for adherence to legal standards,” says Naylor. Yokohama Tyres fully supports OBDeleven’s urging for drivers to perform appropriate tyre checks, reinforcing the collective responsibility for road safety and vehicle maintenance.

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