Car Care Tips

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Maintenance June 4, 2015

Is It Time to Replace Your TPMS System?

You may already know that Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TMPS) were mandated by Congress in 2000 under the TREAD Act to warn drivers of underinflated tires. As a result, all vehicles manufactured since 2007 have been equipped with some kind of TPMS system and many higher-end vehicles came equipped with TPMS as early as 1996.

In general, the tire industry has adapted to the service of sensors and reputable shops will generally have no problem ensuring that they are reset following a tire installation. However, what consumers need to know is that a small, non-rechargeable battery that cannot be serviced or replaced powers every tire sensor. The estimated lifespan of these batteries differs by manufacturer, but the industry consensus is that at 5 -7 years or 70,000 miles, the sensors will begin to fail, illuminating the TPMS warning light on the dashboard of the vehicle. This light is more than a nuisance – beyond the very real safety hazard of driving with underinflated tires, in Virginia the illuminated TPMS light is an automatic inspection failure.

This is about to be a huge problem for millions of consumers. First, the sensors are expensive, with each unit costing as much as $100 and most vehicles requiring five units (for the four main wheels and one spare). Additionally, because the sensors are mounted inside the wheel, installation requires the dismounting, remounting and rebalancing of all five tires. If this service is being done during an ordinary tire replacement, mounting the new sensors is inexpensive (averaging $10 additional per wheel). The problem arises when the consumer replaces the tires without replacing the still operating (but aging) sensor.

The Tire Pressure Monitoring System ensures safe driving, improves fuel economy and increases tire life by proactively alerting the driver to an underinflated tire. Replacing the unit before it has failed is money well spent!

All 13 of our Virginia Tire and Auto locations have state-of-the-art equipment and employees with Tire Industry Association (TIA) and Tire Pressure Monitoring Service (TMPS) training. To learn more, please click HERE.

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