A Guide to Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (Part 2)
(Don't forget, we proudly offer TPMS service, and you can schedule an appointment by clicking here)
Direct Monitoring Systems
Direct TPMS use individual sensors/transmitters inside every tire and sometimes full size spare to transmit data to the control module. These sensors read temperature and internal pressure of the tire. The data received at the central control module is then scrutinized and if there are any issues with any of the tires the information is sent to the vehicle’s information system. The data is usually sent wirelessly as radio signal.
Because direct monitoring systems use sensors, they usually generate very accurate information and can alert you almost immediately if pressure in any of the tires falls below the recommended level. These types of TPMS can also detect gradual air loss over time. Some direct TPMS have dashboard displays that allow the driver to check tire pressures easily from the driver’s seat.
While there are some aftermarket systems where the sensor is mounted outside the tires, most original manufacturers mount sensors inside the tires. Now this is where this type of system becomes slightly expensive. Each new senor has a battery life of about a decade. In most cases the battery is usually not serviceable and if there is a malfunction the entire sensor must be changed. Additionally the sensor itself is subject to damage so is the sensor stem, when the vehicle gets into an accident or the tire hits a curb. And every time the sensor is replaced, it generally has to be reprogrammed into the car’s control module so that it can recognized.