Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems: All You Need To Know


A Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, or TPMS, is a sophisticated system fitted to modern cars. It constantly monitors the air pressure inside the tyres and uses real-time feedback to provide warnings when necessary. The benefits of keeping your tyre pressure at its optimum include reducing your running costs, slowing down wear and tear and reducing CO2 emissions. It’s important to keep on top of your tyre pressure. Otherwise, you could risk getting a flat tyre, or even being involved in an accident.

Tyre air pressure is the most important factor that will affect their performance. Over-inflated tyres can be more sensitive to impacts, accelerating the speed of general wear and tear, or even resulting in damage. Meanwhile, under-inflated tyres can guzzle more fuel and wear out more quickly.

What is a tyre pressure monitoring system?

The tyre pressure monitoring system is connected to your vehicle’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU) and uses sensors to automatically update you when the tyre pressure isn’t quite right. This alert will appear as a warning light on your dashboard. It measures the tyre pressure or any pressure imbalances. 

What should you do if the warning light shows?

You may wonder if it’s still safe to drive if the light shows. If the light shows mid-journey, you should take extra care and try to visit a car mechanic as soon as possible. You should check your manufacturer’s guidelines. These details can be found in your owner’s manual, inside the fuel filler flap or on the driver’s door sill.

How does the TPMS system work?

There are two types of system: direct and indirect. 

Direct systems use radio sensors inside each wheel to measure the tyre inflation pressures.

Indirect systems are linked to the vehicle’s ABS sensors. They measure and compare the rotational speeds of the tyres, which gives a good indicator of their pressure.

How reliable is it?

You may wonder if you can solely rely on the modern TPMS system. Or should you still do your manual checks?

It’s not recommended that you solely rely on the TPMS. You should still do your manual tyre pressure checks. It’s best practice to check your tyre pressure measurements against the recommended manufacturer settings. You can use a gauge to do this.

How important is the system?

Since 2015, an inoperative or faulty TPMS system will result in an MOT failure. So, if that’s anything to go by, it’s pretty important.

As of November 2014, all new passenger vehicles sold in the EU must be equipped with a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS). This means any new cars should have this system fitted. Or, if you’re buying a used car, if it dates from November 2014, then it should have the TPMS. 

You should get the system serviced every once in a while to ensure it remains working properly, and won’t cause you to fail an MOT inspection. 

Tyre pressure will always be checked if you are purchasing a new car, and it is advisable to ensure the tyre pressure is alright when buying a used car. JJ Premium Cars, a dealership selling used cars in Peterborough, do a 114 point check beforehand.