What is TPMS: Tire Pressure Monitoring System Explained

Most of the new vehicle owners are not aware of every feature that their car has, and that sometimes becomes problematic because some features are installed in the car to let the owner know about their car’s condition. One of such features that are very important to know about is TPMS.

TPMS, which stands for Tire-pressure monitoring system, is an electronic system installed in vehicles to monitor the air pressure inside the tires.

Now, if you’re interested to learn more about this feature in detail, then you’ll need to stick to this article till the last.

What Is TPMS?

TPMS (Tire pressure monitoring system) is a feature installed in modern cars to let the driver know about the air pressure inside the tires. Low air pressure inside any of the tires causes asymmetry, which leads to unsafe driving.

The primary purpose behind installing this feature in the cars is to avoid the major accidents that used to occur because of the underinflated tires, and US Government passed an act which is Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation (TREAD), under which all the cars that are being sold since 2007, have this feature installed.

The TPMS light/indicator, which resembles a horseshoe, starts to glow on the car’s dashboard when any of the tires are underinflated or completely flat. It’s a warning signal sent by the TPMS sensor.

Why Do I Need A TPMS?

The TPMS system will let you know about your tires’ air pressure, and that way, you’ll be able to take action to fix it. If you don’t have a TPMS system installed in your vehicle and any of your tires have low pressure, then you won’t be able to get to know about it unless you have a habit of inspecting the tires regularly.

So if any of the tires have low pressure and you keep driving, then it’ll cause the other components of your car, such as suspension and wheels, to overload, which will lead them to wear out faster. It may also affect your engine’s performance and mileage.

So this is why you need a TPMS system installed in your car. Next, you’ll learn how does the TPMS work.

How Does TPMS Work?

There are two different types of TPMS used to install in the cars, and it’s essential to know how both of them work-

Direct TPMS

The direct TPMS consists of a sensor mounted on each wheel to measure the air pressure in the tire. When the air pressure in any of the tires drops 25% from the recommended tire pressure, the sensor transmits a message to the car’s computer system that causes the TPMS/low tire pressure light to glow.

The direct TPMS is very sensitive, and it gives you more accurate information about your tires pressure.

Indirect TPMS

The Indirect TPMS system doesn’t use any specific sensor to measure the tire pressure. It relies on the wheel speed sensor of the anti-lock brake system to detect the low tire pressure in a wheel.

When the air pressure is low in a tire, the size of that tire will be smaller than the other tires, which causes asymmetrical spinning of the wheels. Then the computer system interprets the tire that has low pressure and immediately warns the driver through the TPMS light.

The indirect TPMS system is not as sensitive as the direct TPMS system, and it also doesn’t give you accurate information.

It doesn’t matter a lot what kind of TPMS does your car has because the function of both the TPMS is the same, which is informing you about the tire with low pressure.

Even though these systems let you know about your tire’s condition, it’s still essential to inspect your tires at least once in 3 days because these systems inform you about the low tire pressure when it falls to 25% below the recommended tire pressure. So it would be even better if you can inspect and inflate it before it falls below the recommended tire pressure.

Sometimes, the TPMS warning light keeps glowing even after the tires are inflated. If you notice this problem, make sure to get to a mechanic and get this problem fixed because the TPMS sensor or valve might be malfunctioning and is no longer monitoring the tires.

What If I Don’t Have A TPMS In My Car?

If you don’t have a TPMS in your car, you can get it installed. The Direct TPMS installation will cost you around $120-$135, in which the labor cost is estimated between $50-55$ and TPMS parts are estimated between $70-$80. These labor costs might fluctuate depending upon the labor charge in your area.

If you want a TPMS system that you can install yourself, I recommend buying Tymate Tire Pressure Monitoring System that you can install in your car in minutes. As it doesn’t require much work in installation, you won’t need a mechanic to do it, and that will save your spend on labor costs.

It’s better to spend around $130 on getting the TPMS system installed in your car than spending larger amounts on repairing wheels, suspensions, and other components that have higher chances of wearing out due to low tire pressure.


TPMS prevents your car tires and other associated components from damaging because it keeps you updated with your tire’s pressure condition, which helps you fix your tires immediately if they start to deflate, preventing the tires and other components from overloading and wearing out. The tires are among the essential parts of a car, and they must work in optimum condition to keep you and your car safe while driving.

So this was all about the TPMS, and I hope you’ve found this article helpful.

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