Tire Pressure Monitor Systems

Recently, there's been a push for consumers to better understand their vehicles both for safety and efficiency. We now have oil life monitors, tire rotation reminders, monitors that will tell us if we have a light bulb out and since the mandate was introduced in 2007 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Tire Pressure Monitor Systems (TPMS).

TPMS monitors the vehicle's tires' inflation pressures. There are two types of systems, a direct TPMS and indirect TPMS. A direct TPMS uses a serialized sensor inside the wheel, often attached to the valve stem which sends a radio frequency to an on-board computer. An indirect system uses the vehicle's anti-lock brake system (ABS) to monitor the tire pressure. For more information regarding the differences between the two systems, read "Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (Direct vs Indirect)."

Most vehicles with a direct TPMS sensor require a synchronization of the sensors to the vehicle each time a new TPMS system is introduced or changed. With the TPMS sensors we offer, the vehicle manufacturer dealership most likely will need to synchronize the sensors to the vehicle, unless a local installer has the tool to perform the task. It's best to check with the installer or dealership prior to purchase to understand the cost and ability of this procedure. 

A brief list of popular vehicle manufacturers that require this synchronization for most of their vehicle offerings: 

  • Honda
  • Acura
  • Toyota
  • Subaru
  • Ford
  • Chevy
  • Hyundai
  • Cadillac
  • Lexus     
  • Mitsubishi
  • Nissan
  • Scion

To be sure whether a vehicle requires a synchronization, be sure to check "View Important TPMS Information" for the wheel you wish to purchase on our website. The notification to visit a dealership for synchronization will also be given upon check-out. If the vehicle does not require a dealership TPMS synchronization, your owner's manual will include the instructions for the synchronization procedure. 

Disabling the system does pose some risks. The way the NHTSA mandate is worded indicates that a service facility can not knowingly disable a TPMS system. Additionally, some states now mandate a vehicle owner can not disable the TPMS system. Some vehicles also use this tire pressure data for electronic stability systems (ESA). Of course, not having the sensor will induce a light to be on your vehicle display system. 

While we applaud the use of data systems, there is needed improvement within the standards. We also feel there's a need for a manual check of tire pressure. Also, be sure to take a look at our TPMS synchronization tools to see if one is available for your application.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015 by fred

How low are my tires when the TPMS light comes on?
Wednesday, January 21, 2015 by AJ

Hello Fred,
The pressure difference to trigger your TPMS light is dependent on the vehicle. The driver of a passenger car that calls for 35 psi may not be warned about tire pressure loss until it drops to 26 psi depending on the type of monitoring system used. Please reference the link above for ""Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (Direct vs Indirect)" for more details regarding this concern.

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