Flats, blow outs, skids and longer stopping distances can all be the result of Bulverde folks driving around on under-inflated tires. Now, it’s hard to tell when a radial tire is under-inflated but your service technician at Cordova Auto Centers can help you. The tire may not look low until it gets below 20 pounds – which is significantly under-inflated.
Your newer family car or light truck might be equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). This technology has been used by TX race car drivers for years. They are able to head off problems from under inflation by closely monitoring tire pressure on the track.
Obviously, TMPS systems don’t come free for Bulverde car buyers. U.S. government studies have estimated the net costs of the TPMS system itself, maintaining the system, replacement of worn or broken parts and tire repair cost increases. The costs are partially offset for Bulverde drivers by savings in fuel and tire wear. There’s also a saving in property damage and travel delay. The net cost is estimated to be between $27 and $100.
The government predicts fewer fatal accidents. They estimate that is will cost between three and nine million dollars for every life saved. This new safety equipment will help Bulverde motorists avoid the most common vehicle failure, and possibly a catastrophic accident.
All new cars and light trucks in San Antonio TX since 2008 have come equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system, or ‘TPMS’. The TPMS system detects when a tire becomes under-inflated and lights up a warning light on the dash.
So what’s the big deal? Well, under-inflated tires can be a real safety concern for everyone in TX. First of all, they don’t handle properly and that can lead to an accident. Second, under-inflated tires can overheat and cause the tire to come apart, which can also lead to an accident.
Government regulations requiring TPMS systems aim to reduce accidents in TX and save lives: A very worthy goal. There are also positive environmental effects because under-inflated tires are fuel wasters – you lose 1 percent of your fuel economy for every 3 pounds of pressure below ideal. So proper tire inflation can save you a tank of gas a year. And your tires last longer so you won’t have to replace them as often.
There are two kinds of TPMS systems. So-calleddirect systems have a battery powered sensor in each wheel that measures tire pressure. The sensor sends a signal to a receiver that illuminates the warning light if pressure is low on a tire.
Indirect systems use a computer program to detect under-inflation by measuring wheel rotation speeds and other data.
You’ll have to replace TPMS parts as they wear out. Obviously, the batteries in the sensors will run out someday. Road salt and grime can damage sensors too. The system needs to be reset when you rotate or change your tires.
Because the TPMS system is so important to your safety, you should make the necessary repairs when needed. And remember, TPMS is no substitute for regularly checking your tire pressure– at least once a month.