At Protyre, we are dedicated to providing exceptional customer service. It is one of our guiding principles. Our tyre professionals, mechanics and qualified fitters have between them unrivalled expertise and we are very pleased to be able to offer our customers a number of completely free services to help with the maintenance of car safety and performance. As part of this suite of services, we offer all our customers a free TPMS check.
What is TPMS?
Advances in automotive technology have been enormous in recent years with analogue systems replaced by smart, versatile digital alternatives. The onboard computer, or engine control unit (ECU) in the average car can process vast amounts of information which means a whole range of automated safety checks are built in. One very common and extremely useful example of this automation is the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, or TPMS.
A TPMS system is a simple, hands-free means of keeping an eye on your car's tyre pressure. TPMS uses wheel sensors to monitor the exact pressure in each tyre and send this data to the ECU. If it detects any discrepancy or conflict in any of your tyres with the settings programmed in by the manufacturer, it will issue an automatic dashboard warning.
TPMS has been a feature of automotive design for the best part of 30 years and all new models from 2012 and cars newly registered from 2014 have been required to incorporate TPMS as standard. Furthermore, TPMS is covered by the MOT test for all cars registered since January 2012. As this is one more chance to fail the test, it's important to make sure your system is fully functioning.
What could go wrong with TPMS?
In our experience, the most common problems arise in three areas. Firstly, the sensors themselves have a limited lifespan because, as the units must be completely sealed, their batteries cannot be replaced. Battery life can vary from roughly four to eight years and you will get little or no warning when the sensors are about to fail. Protyre uses state of the art equipment to assess the condition of the sensors.
Sensors are generally mounted on the valve stem you use to inflate the tyre. Whether these are made from rubber, aluminium or a combination of the two, they are susceptible to corrosion because they are exposed to all extremes of weather. The valve stem can be a common cause of failure and should be replaced when weaknesses are discovered.
Similarly, metal valve caps are often not compatible with TPMS valve stems and can be very hard to remove cleanly. If they cause damage to the stem which is connected to the sensor, then the whole unit needs to be replaced.
As you can see, while TPMS is an excellent tool for monitoring tyre health, it comes with its own maintenance issues. At Protyre we take tyre health extremely seriously and have the expertise to know how to fix any problems with these systems. At the same time, we remain alert to the fact that a functioning TPMS can help us determine when a tyre needs to be replaced and when it does, Protyre carries an extensive stock of tyres by manufacturers including Pirelli, Falken and Bridgestone, with same-day fitting available across much of the range.