Best TPMS Sensors

Correct tire pressure is one of the most important things when it comes to driving. Keeping your tires properly inflated will give you the best possible driving experience, and also the safest handling and braking. A drop in pressure might severely worsen the driving dynamics of your car. It’s the same with overinflated tires.

The thing is, people aren’t that responsible when it comes to checking tire pressure. It is generally recommended to check your tires at least weekly, especially when there is a change in the outside temperature. Even while driving, the tire pressure might drop or rise depending on the conditions. Keeping an eye on the tire pressure is essential for safe traveling – that’s why every car manufacturer today equips its vehicles with TPMS sensors.

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What are TPMS Sensors, and What do They Do?

While small pressure changes aren’t that dangerous, it is still essential for the driver to continually monitor the tire pressure. That’s where TMPS sensors (Tire Pressure Monitoring Sensors) come in handy. These small sensors are situated inside the tire and continuously monitor the pressure. When there is a drop of pressure, they will communicate that with the vehicle’s computer and notify the driver via a warning light on the dashboard.

Modern TPMS systems can show the driver the precise pressure in “psi” or “bar,” depending on the country (imperial or metric). That way, the driver will know right away if one of the tires is punctured and loses pressure. Without TPMS sensors, the driver might notice the drop in pressure too late, which can be dangerous when driving at higher velocities.

Whatever the TPMS system you have in your vehicle, it is essential that you take care of it. TPMS sensors aren’t expensive and can last for a really long time. However, you still need to make sure that they are always functional.

How TPMS Works

TPMS sensors measure the tire pressure and then send the signal to the car’s computer. To correctly measure the pressure, they are fitted inside the tire. Every modern TPMS sensor is attached to the circumference of the wheel at the valve stem. On modern vehicles, every wheel has its own TPMS sensor that sends its readouts to the computer.

However, there is no way to power these sensors from the vehicle’s electricity. That’s why each sensor has its own TPMS battery that gives the sensor power to read the pressure and send the data to the computer. TPMS batteries can’t be replaced without damaging the sensor. That’s why, each time the small cell runs out of power, you need to replace the whole sensor.

How Long do TPMS Sensors Last? (batteries life span)

Modern tires sensors are equipped with li-ion batteries that last longer than before. On average, the battery should last at least five years, sometimes even ten.

How Effective Are Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems?

To know why tire sensors are necessary, first, we need to take a short history lesson. The first pressure-monitoring sensors appeared on supercars, more precisely on the Porsche 959, and the 1991 Chevrolet Corvette.

In the Vette, for example, the sensors were put in place because it was equipped with run-flat tires. These tires have very stiff sidewalls, which make it hard for the driver to notice when there is a drop of pressure.

However, at that time, TPMS sensors weren’t seen as necessary on vehicles with regular tires. That’s until the Ford Explorer fiasco happened. To mitigate the rollover issues of the underdeveloped Explorer, Ford recommended a very low tire pressure of 26 psi instead of making changes to the vehicle’s suspension components.

The Explorer handled fine at this pressure, but the tires didn’t Firestone’s tires that were offered as OEM choice didn’t. Due to the lower pressure, the temperature of the tires quickly rose, especially at highway speeds. The result? The Firestone tires completely disintegrated while driving.

Other tires can also have the same issues if they aren’t inflated properly, especially at highway speeds. Tire sensors have shown to be very useful in mitigating these issues. The warning light in the instrument panel was enough to make the driver check the pressure of the tires.

Disadvantages of Under and Over Inflated Tires

There are disadvantages both to under and overinflated tires and almost no advantages. That’s why it is crucial to always inflate the tires at the pressure provided by the vehicle manufacturer.

Disadvantages of underinflated tires:

  • The tire will be softer and lose its shape. This will make the vehicle less responsive to drive, while also having an effect on the handling. When under-inflated, the tires will quickly succumb to the weight of the car in the corners, severely worsening stability.
  • Tread life will be significantly shortened, and the tires might get distorted quite quickly.
  • Underinflated tires have more rolling resistance, which will reduce the fuel economy of your car.

Disadvantages of overinflated tires:

  • Overinflated tires are very stiff, which makes them have less contact with the road. The result is a more responsive drive, but less grip, traction, and stopping power. These issues are even worse on wet pavement.
  • The tires can be easily damaged when driving over potholes, pebbles, or other debris on the road.

Are TPMS Sensors Required by Law?

To prevent catastrophic failures with tires, such as those on the Ford Explorer and its Firestone tires, the U.S. Congress passed a mandate under which every new vehicle sold from 2007 that weighs less than 10,000 pounds must have TPMS sensors.

How Difficult is it To Replace a TPMS Sensor?

Replacing the TPMS sensor isn’t very difficult, but you will need special tools to replace remove the tire from the wheel. Then, you need to remove the sensor, install the new one, put the tire back on the wheel, and balance it. That’s why we recommend replacing the Tire Pressure Monitoring Sensors at a tire repair technician.

How to Choose TPMS That Will Fit any Aftermarket Wheels?

The TPMS sensors that you have in your will work with any aftermarket wheels. However, you will need to first remove the sensors from the old wheels and install them on the new rims. To mitigate this, we recommend purchasing new TPMS sensors for aftermarket wheels. You can find these sensors at every tire shop available for every type of car, wheels, and tires.

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