If you have a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) in your car or truck, you probably know what it does. You may not know that there are a lot of different types of TPMS, though. Here’s what you need to know.
Different types of Tire Pressure Monitoring System
There are a few common types of TPMS that auto makers use in their cars and trucks. Knowing what type of system you have in your vehicle will help you understand some of the maintenance and common problems to make sure that this important part of your car or truck keeps working like it should.
Direct Tire Pressure Monitoring System
A direct tire pressure monitoring system measures the actual air pressure of your tires by using a sensor that mounts on or inside the rim. The sensors transmit their readings to a computer inside of your car or truck. These are the most accurate type of TPMS, but the sensors can be damaged when the tire is removed from or mounted on the rim.
Band Sensor Type Tire Pressure Monitoring System
This type of TPMS uses a band-shaped sensor that wraps around the rim and sits on the inside of the tire. These sensors are less likely to get damaged when mounting or dismounting tires on the rim. They are also fairly expensive to replace if they do get damaged or wear out.
Stem Sensor Type Tire Pressure Monitoring System
These systems have a sensor attached to the valve stem. They are cheaper to replace than band-type sensors. However, stem-sensor-type systems are easier to damage when mounting and dismounting tires. A common issue with early stem-type sensors is that the metal can or valve core in the stem would corrode, requiring replacement of the whole sensor.
Indirect Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Indirect TPMS systems scan different aspects of your vehicle’s tires to warn you when their air pressure is low. Different indirect systems measure different factors, such as the speed the wheel spins at, ride height, and more. This means that you don’t need a sensor unit mounted on each of your wheels. This system is less expensive to maintain, and not as prone to damage from impact and improper mounting. However, it is not as accurate as direct TPMS. Sometimes, you’ll need to reset them to account for changes in road conditions.
TPMS will catch low pressure problems for you, but there are rare cases where TPMS malfunctions or fails. Use a tire pressure gauge to check the pressure in your tires about once a month. This will help you maintain the correct air pressure in your tires even in the rare event that your TPMS fails. If you have any TPMS problems, our trained auto technicians can diagnose and fix them for you.