The Role of Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) in Canada

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Maintaining proper tire pressure is an essential aspect of safe and fuel-efficient driving. But with the demands of everyday life, it’s easy to overlook this crucial aspect of vehicle maintenance.  Fortunately, modern technology has introduced a valuable tool to assist drivers: Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS). 

TPMS are electronic systems designed to continuously monitor the air pressure in each tire of a vehicle.  They have become increasingly common in recent years, and in Canada, they are mandatory for all light vehicles manufactured after 2014. By understanding how TPMS functions and its role within your overall tire service routine, you can ensure optimal safety and performance for your vehicle.

 How Does TPMS Work?

There are two main types of TPMS systems: direct and indirect.

Direct TPMS

This system utilizes individual pressure sensors mounted on the valve stem of each tire.  These sensors measure the air pressure inside the tire and transmit the data wirelessly to a central receiver unit within the vehicle. The receiver unit then displays the pressure readings for each tire on the dashboard.  Direct TPMS can also monitor tire temperature in some vehicles.

Indirect TPMS  

This system relies on the vehicle’s Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) sensors to monitor wheel speed.  When a tire is underinflated, its diameter is slightly smaller, causing it to rotate at a different speed than the other tires. The ABS system detects this difference in rotational speed and sends a signal to the instrument cluster, triggering a low-pressure warning light. 

Direct TPMS offers more precise pressure readings for each tire, while indirect TPMS is a simpler and less expensive system.  However, indirect TPMS cannot detect slow leaks or identify which tire is underinflated.

Benefits of TPMS

Here’s why TPMS is an essential component of your vehicle’s safety systems:

  •  Improved Safety: Underinflated tires can significantly impact vehicle handling.  They can contribute to increased stopping distances, reduced steering responsiveness, and even tire blowouts at high speeds. TPMS provides a timely warning of low tire pressure, allowing drivers to address the issue before it becomes a safety hazard.
  • Enhanced Fuel Efficiency:  Underinflated tires create more rolling resistance, which means your engine has to work harder to maintain speed.  This translates to lower fuel efficiency. TPMS helps drivers maintain optimal tire pressure, maximizing fuel economy.
  • Extended Tire Life:  Uneven wear and tear are common consequences of improper tire pressure.  TPMS allows for early detection of pressure imbalances, preventing premature tire wear and extending their lifespan.  This translates to cost savings on tire replacements in the long run.
  • Reduced Environmental Impact:  Proper tire pressure contributes to lower fuel consumption, which translates to fewer greenhouse gas emissions.  By promoting optimal tire pressure, TPMS plays a role in environmentally conscious driving.

Integrating TPMS with Your Tire Service Routine

While TPMS is a valuable tool, it’s important to remember that it’s not a substitute for regular tire service practices. Here’s how TPMS integrates with your overall tire care routine: For comprehensive tire maintenance and professional repair services, visit 

  •  Regular Tire Checks: Even with TPMS, it’s still important to perform visual inspections of your tires regularly. Look for signs of uneven wear, cracks, bulges, or foreign objects lodged in the tread.  These issues may not be detected by the TPMS system.
  • Maintaining Proper Pressure:  The TPMS light is a warning indicator, not a pressure gauge.  Once you receive a low-pressure alert, it’s crucial to check the pressure of all four tires using a reliable tire pressure gauge and inflate them to the recommended level as specified in your owner’s manual. 
  •  System Maintenance: TPMS sensors have a limited lifespan, typically lasting around 7-10 years.  If your TPMS light illuminates and doesn’t reset after inflating the tires, it may indicate a faulty sensor.  Schedule a tire service appointment to have the system inspected and any malfunctioning sensors replaced.
  •  Winter Tires: It’s important to note that TPMS sensors are typically mounted within the tire itself.  When switching between summer and winter tires, ensure that the TPMS sensors are properly transferred to the appropriate set of wheels.  Some vehicles may require TPMS reprogramming during tire service appointments to ensure the system recognizes the sensors on the newly mounted tires.

By combining regular tire service practices with the benefits of TPMS, Canadian drivers can ensure their vehicles operate at peak performance and safety on

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