Many people believe it’s okay to drive on a tire that’s just “a little flat.” But did you know that a flat tire could be jeopardizing your car’s fuel economy, shortening your tire’s tread life and durability, and putting you and your family at risk?
Under-inflated tires are dangerous for a number of reasons. Essentially, low air pressure forces the tire’s rubber to stretch, which weakens bonds, and once the bonds are weakened they never return to their original strength. When your vehicle’s tires are properly inflated, they have better stability and greater handling and braking efficiencies.
In 2007, the United States Department of Transportation National Highway Safety Administration passed legislation requiring that a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) be included in all new vehicles to warn the driver when the tire pressure falls below a predetermined level. Currently, two types of tire pressure monitoring systems are in use: Direct and Indirect Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems.
In Direct Pressure Monitoring Systems, each wheel has either an internal or external sensor that monitors the tire’s pressure. These systems tend to be more accurate and can also indicate which specific tire has low pressure.
In Indirect Pressure Monitoring Systems, wheel speed sensors monitors the tires’ rotational speed and alerts the driver when one (or more) of the tires has low pressure. Indirect systems do not tell you which tire has low pressure, and it will not indicate if your tires are losing pressure simultaneously, which can happen in colder weather.
If your car was manufactured after 2007, it already has a Tire Pressure Monitoring System. If your car was manufactured prior to 2007, a Tire Pressure Monitoring System can be installed if desired. Have questions? Stop by your local Best-One Tire & Service location. They’re TPMS experts!
By Jim Channell, Best-One® Tire & Service Expert Panelist