INFO CENTER Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

What is TPMS?

TPMS is an automated system that monitors the air pressure in a vehicle's tires. When air pressure in one or more tires drops 25 percent or more below the correct pressure, a warning indicator alerts the driver. TPMS typically delivers these alerts to the driver through one of two types of warning lights on the dashboard.

Type of TPMS Indicator Symbol

1. The first uses the official TPMS symbol, which is a cross-section of a tire with an exclamation mark in the center.

Type of TPMS Indicator Symbol

2. The second is a top-view graphic image of a car that indicates which tires are low.

Location of TPMS Sensor
Parts of TPMS Sensor
Metal or Rubber?

There are two different types of rebuild kits available, one with rubber valve stems and one with metal valve stems. To determine which Rebuild Kit is correct for your vehicle, you'll need to look at the valve stem that's currently installed. If it's rubber, you'll need the rubber valve stem rebuild kit. If it's metal, you'll need the metal one.

Metal Valve

Metal Valve

Rubber Valve

Maintenance and Replacement

Over time, TPMS components can degrade, affecting sensor operation. In order for the system to operate at peak performance, parts may need to be replaced.

Batteries and TPMS

The battery in the tire pressure sensors are non-replaceable and have a service life of approximately 7-10 years or 150,000 miles.

Tire Sealant

The use of a tire sealant may clog the tire pressure sensor. If it is rendered inoperative, the sensor may need to be replaced.

Additional Sensors Available

We have additional sensors that can be put on alternate tires if needed. Avoid installation and labor issues by having an extra set of sensors for use.

Stand-Alone Kits

If a vehicle does not have an original-equipment system, one can be installed. This stand-alone TPMS kit includes a dash-mounted display and wheel-mounted transmitters that fit most wheel applications. For ordering information, please call us at 800.589.6789.

Air Pressure Maintenance

While TPMS systems offer increased safety to drivers through low pressure warnings, they are not meant to be a substitute for proper tire pressure maintenance. Both the NHTSA and the AAM urge drivers to check their tire pressure at least once a month and always prior to a long trip. Be sure to read our article on the importance of correct air pressure as well for even more in-depth information.

Sources: NHTSA, AAM, Intelligent Tire Conference

How TPMS Works

Tire pressure is monitored through one of two methods: direct or indirect. Direct TPMS monitors the actual air pressure inside each tire via a sensor mounted within the tire. Indirect TPMS measures tire pressure by monitoring the speed and rotation of each individual wheel. When a significant variation in speed and rotation is detected in one or more wheels when compared with the others, it is often an indication of underinflation. This information is then transmitted to the vehicle's on-board computer, and the driver is alerted.