Back to all

The Truth about Tire Pressure (Tire Inflation)

May 28, 2023

Most light vehicles (under 10,000 pounds/4,500 kg) in North America sold from 2008 model year on have a feature that many people are confused about.  It's the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).  You may have some experience with it yourself if you own a newer vehicle.  Vehicles with TPMS have sensors in each tire that are supposed to warn the driver when tire pressure gets dangerously low.  That's important because tires that are significantly under-inflated can cause very serious accidents.

Unfortunately, many drivers think the TPMS does all the work keeping track of tire pressure. To them, as long as the warning light or gauge isn’t giving a warning, the tires must have the proper amount of air pressure in them.  That's not the case.

Tire pressure monitoring systems aren't all created equal.   Some give you a digital readout of the pressures in each individual tire.  But many simply have a warning light that looks like the cross section of a tire with an exclamation point in the middle.  If you don't know what it is, it's because it's not instantly recognizable as a tire.  In fact, one company that makes TPMS, Schrader Performance Sensors, surveyed drivers.  Their study showed that more than 40 percent of drivers didn't know that that warning light was. 

One out of 5 of the drivers who did know what the light was only looked at their tires after the light came on to see if they could see any that needed air; they never checked them with a tire gauge or had someone else do it.  Ten percent of them didn't do anything when the light came on.

In most vehicles with TPMS, the warning comes on only when the tires are more than 25% underinflated.  The American Automobile Association says that's under the pressure you need for safe vehicle operation.

The bottom line is once a month you should make sure your tires are inflated to the manufacturer's recommendations.  That means each tire should be measured with an accurate, external tire gauge.  To be confident you are getting a correct reading, take your vehicle to a reputable service facility where their equipment is calibrated and they know what they're doing.

Severely underinflated tires can contribute to an accident that kills or severely injures people.  The idea behind TPMS is well intended, but the system was never meant to replace regular inflation measurements and maintenance.  Periodically have your tires checked for proper inflation.

Tuffy North Clermont
1315 E. Highway 50
Clermont, Florida 34711
(352) 241-9466
https://www.tuffynorthclermont.com/

Need Service?

Request an Appointment

More articles from Tuffy North Clermont Hwy 50

Bad Vibes

July 21, 2024

Your vehicle has a way of letting you know when something's wrong. Consider a vibrating steering wheel. It certainly didn't do that when it was new, so that shake is trying to tell you something. There are a few things that can cause your steering wheel to vibrate as you drive down the road. One... More

Maintaining Your Diesel in Clermont

July 14, 2024

Diesel engines have been used extensively in Europe and Asia for many years. They haven't been as common in the Clermont area because of the high sulfur content in our diesel fuel. But the government is now mandating lower sulfur content and, as a result, we are going to see more Clermont diesel... More

Snake in the Engine (Serpentine Belt)

July 7, 2024

There's a belt that snakes through your engine. It's even named for a snake, the serpentine belt. It'll bite you when it breaks, possibly leaving you stranded. So, it's good to know a little about this snake-like belt. In early engines, there were lots of belts. They were used to convert the r... More