How Does a Tire Pressure Monitoring System work?

A Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is an electronic device that keeps track of the pressure within the vehicle’s tires. It issues a warning to the driver whenever it detects a fall in air pressure within a tire. This warning is issued via a warning light, a pictographic display or a report.

A Tire Pressure Monitoring System, abbreviated as TPMS, is an electronic device that issues a warning to the driver of the vehicle when it finds an issue with the pressure maintained within the vehicle’s tires.

A TPMS detects whenever the pressure inside the vehicle’s tires falls. It then notifies this unsafe driving condition to the user through reports, displays or warning lights.

It is a very useful device as it can help in preventing any road accidents as it can provide an ey notification of under-inflated tires.

It can also help in increasing the life of tires by keeping track of tire use and tire wear.

By the TREAD act of 2000, it was made mandatory for all vehicles to be equipped with TPMS.

TPMS is an absolutely necessary device to be used in RVs or Recreational Vehicles.

RVs are vehicles designed for use as living quarters. The RV lifestyle involves huge amounts of travel, and as its consequence, huge amounts of wearing and tearing of its tires.

TPMS provides a great way to keep track of the RV’s tires and repair them when necessary to avoid unnecessary accidents.

How does TPMS work?

TPMS systems work by continuously monitoring the air pressure within all the tires of the vehicle. When the air pressure drops and makes the tire 25 percent more under-inflated than usual, an alert is sent to the driver. TPMS systems may be classified into direct and indirect systems based on the way they monitor tire pressure.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System

TPMS can be categorized into indirect and direct systems.

Direct TPMS

The direct TPMS is basically a network connecting a number of sensors mounted within all of the tires of the vehicle.

These sensors are either directly mounted on the steel band of the car tires or attached to a valve. They run on batteries and the network between them is wireless.

The sensors are responsible for sending a distress-call of sorts to the car’s engine control unit (ECU) when any of the tires is 25 percent under-inflated than usual.

The sensor detects any pressure drop within any of the tires of the vehicle and passes this information to the ECU. The ECU processes and analyses the data.

An alert is issued to the user by switching the indicator light on the vehicle’s dashboard on.

The sensors continuously work independently of the state of the vehicle.

When the vehicle is moving, it sends continuous signals to the ECU. These signals can be reported whenever the user desires to view the status of tires.

When the vehicle is in rest, the tire status is checked and updated hourly by the TPMS. The sensors can also be used to get temperature readings from the tires.

The batteries of the sensors last for about a decade, giving a long life to this kind of TPMS. Also, direct TPMS provide tire pressure status and/or warnings in real time.

A clear disadvantage of direct TPMS is that they are very expensive. Whenever its batteries are drained or a tire is replaced, a new sensor or system must be installed. Great care must be taken to avoid damaging the TPMS due to wheel rotation.

Indirect TPMS

An indirect TPMS is so called because it does not directly keep tabs upon the air pressure in the tires. It rather works with the antilock braking system (ABS) of the car.

The ABS is used by the TPMS to approximate tire pressure.

There are a set of ABS wheel speed sensors which help the TPMS in this. The system is made aware of the average speed of rotation of the wheels and the diameter of the wheel prior to use.

During travel, the TPMS continuously compares the present diameter of the tire to that of the tire during normal conditions.

When any discrepancy is spotted by the sensor (decreasing diameter due to lowering tire pressure) it immediately alerts the ECU. If this pressure means that the tire is 25 percent more under-inflated than usual, a warning is issued to the driver.

Also, the TPMS adjusts the wheel speed, more likely lowering it, thereby not making the wheel rotate at dangerous speeds with a low pressure within itself.

Indirect TPMS is less expensive than direct TPMS. Also, it is not battery operated nor does it require a new connection each time a wheel is replaced.

However, indirect TPMS is not a very reliable system. It can only approximate pressure drops by the wheel speed, which is not a very accurate method. It also notifies the user after some time passes after the pressure drop detection.

Benefits of TPMS use in RVs

The main benefits of using TPMS in an RV is that the system provides an early warning of any issues in the tire pressure. This can go a long way in ensuring good vehicle maintenance and preventing any road accidents.

The main benefit TPMS offers is that it can prevent road accidents and fatalities by notifying the user when the tire pressure drops down to a dangerous level or when a tire blowout occurs.

This is very advantageous in RVs, as the most part of the RV lifestyle is spent on roads.

An early warning can go a long way in cutting risks and repairing the vehicle before getting stuck in remote areas.

Another added benefit is the providing of wheel temperatures to the user, which may prove to be useful in some crucial vehicle assessments and repairs.

TPMS systems use long-lasting batteries and a wireless connection between all the sensors, which makes it a neat, reliable system to use.

How to use TPMS in RVs?

TPMS systems can be used in an RV by first mounting the sensors at specified locations in the RV. After this, the TPMS display has to be attached to the RV and then programmed to display the report, pictograms, etc. of the tire status.

RVs can use both direct and indirect TPMS systems.

After installation of these systems, an appropriate software can be programmed which can then be used to generate reports and view tire pressure in real time.

In a TPMS, the sensors can be either directly mounted on the steel band of the car tires or screwed on to a valve stem on the rims of the wheels.

Most TPMS come with a special wrench that can be used for mounting the sensors. The sensors are numbered and have to be mounted according to the locations in the RV specified to them.

Some TPMS also come with a display which makes it easier for the user to view the tire status. This display has to be mounted on the dashboard of the RV with tape/ Velcro.

The TPMS display can then be programmed according to the user’s preference and now the TPMS is ready for use in an RV.

Here is a quick video on TPMS installation in an RV –

Summary

A Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is an electronic device that keeps track of the pressure within the vehicle’s tires.

It issues a warning to the driver whenever it detects a fall in air pressure within a tire. This warning is issued via a warning light, a pictographic display or a report.

The main benefits of using TPMS in an RV is that the system provides an early warning of any issues in the tire pressure. This can go a long way in ensuring good vehicle maintenance and preventing any road accidents.

ReviewsWorthy Team

Our team consists of enthusiastic and passionate people from different fields and experience. Some are geeks and spend most of their time among gadgets while others love nature and are always on the move! We spend 10s of hours researching and writing on each topic. The articles are then quality checked by our editors. View our "About us" section for more details about process and team.

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