Tire Pressure Monitoring System Can Saves Lives
Most people ignore their tires, yet tires are undoubtedly a critical safety component on a vehicle. Where the rubber meets the road affects traction, handling, steering, stability and braking. Because of this, a sudden tire failure can have serious consequences, especially if it occurs when operating at high speeds.
What is the effect of under inflation?
An estimated 23,000 accidents and 535 fatal accidents annually involve blowouts or flat tires. Maintaining proper tire air pressure is not only a major safety concern but can also affect the handling and performance of your vehicle.
Why is it more expensive and time consuming to have tires serviced rather than rotated?
Technicians use special diagnostic tools to test and recalibrate sensors any time a tire is moved from one location on the vehicle to another. A sensor must be tested to make sure it is functioning correctly and also must be reprogrammed whenever tires are moved from one position to another during rotation. OEMs recommend a sensor service kit be installed every time a tire is serviced. These kits include replacement parts to properly service the sensor. Sensors are powered by a battery that usually has a life of 6 to 8 years. The sensor has to be replaced when the battery fails because the batteries are not replaceable.
Tire Inflation Pressure Monitor Systems (TPMS) are being used on more and more new vehicles. Low tires are potentially dangerous, especially if a vehicle is heavily loaded and traveling at highway speeds during hot weather. A low tire under these conditions is a blowout waiting to happen. The inflation pressure of the tires should be checked regularly, but many motorist do not check their tires. That is why Tire Pressure Monitor Systems are coming into use.
Tires are designed to operate within a certain pressure range. The recommended inflation pressure can usually be found in the vehicle owner’s manual and on a decal that may be located in the glove box or door jam. The recommended inflation pressure is designed to give the best combination of ride comfort, load carrying capacity and rolling resistance.
Increasing the tire inflation pressure reduces rolling resistance (which helps fuel economy). It also increases the load carrying capacity of the tire. But it also increases ride harshness. The maximum inflation pressure (which can be found on the sidewall of the tire) should never be exceeded because too much pressure may overstress the tire and increase the risk of tire failure.
Decreasing the inflation pressure improves ride quality by making the tire softer. Under certain circumstances this may help improve traction a bit. But lowering the pressure also reduces the tire’s ability to carry weight and increases rolling resistance (which hurts fuel economy). A low tire also wears faster. Why? Because increased rolling resistance and flexing in the tread scrubs away the tread. As the kilometers add up, so does the wear and eventually the tread is down to the wear bars. Once the wear bars are flush with the surface of the tread, the tire needs to be replaced.