That tyre pressure warning light

That tyre pressure warning light

Penda Honeyghan

Monday, February 24, 2020

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THE features on newer model cars make life much easier for motorists, granted they heed the warnings their vehicles give. One feature that is rarely talked about is the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, commonly shortened TPMS. Auto mechanic Roshane Holness says this is very important to understand because it not only helps to enhance the longevity of your tyres, but it also reduces the chances of what he describes as unsafe driving conditions.

“The purpose of the TPMS is to indicate to the driver of the vehicle that he/she has either one or more tyres that is underinflated (has significantly less air than recommended by the vehicle's manufacturer) or that's overinflated (has more air than is required). In both instances the wheel-mounted sensor or the ABS system, which the system uses to detect tyre pressure, will transmit a message to the dashboard and the TPMS symbol will illuminate,” Holness told All Woman.

This yellow symbol has reduced the need to go through the tedious process which many motorists either skip or forget, of getting out of their vehicles and getting down on their knees to manually check and judge the air pressure in the tyres with their hands or with the aid of a tyre gauge.

But don't be too quick to throw out your tyre gauge, though. Holness said the TPMS system is not a replacement for it, and having one of these systems does not mean that you should forego your usual tyre pressure maintenance.

“The TPMS is usually reliable, even though sometimes the warning lights come on a while after the tyre pressure has reached unsafe levels. When it comes on your next step is to manually the check the tyre pressure with the gauge, then top up on air as directed by the vehicle's manufacturer,” Holness explained.

You should also carry out your regular tyre pressure checks at least once monthly, just in case the TPMS system is out of order and as such is unable to accurately transmit tyre pressure information.

When your TPMS lights are faulty or out of order, Holness says the lights will also illuminate. However, there is a difference with the lighting of the symbol.

“So, as explained before, the symbol illuminates when the air pressure in a tyre is low. In this case the light stays on. However, if the TPMS system sensor requires batteries, the symbol will likely flash, either at first and then turn steady, or remain flashing,” Holness said.

He said that the lifespan of these sensor batteries usually last between five and seven years and if this is the problem, the general recommendation is to replace the TPMS for each tyre since they all have the same lifespan. This, he says, will keep you from making several trips to the mechanic.

Outside of the comfort of knowing the TPMS system is functional and therefore can monitor tyre pressure and prevent tyre blowouts, there are other perks of having this system including:

•A properly inflated tyre;

•The ability to more effectively carry out certain tasks such carrying load;

•Reduction of tread movement;

•Reduction of rolling resistance;

•Increase in water dispersion, which reduces the possibility of hydroplaning;

•Reducing the chances of tyre tread wear;

•Increasing fuel efficiency;

•Increasing traction on the road.

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