Driving safety and comfort are directly related to the long-term condition of your tyres. If they're in poor condition, then it's only a matter of time before disaster strikes. Approximately 40 per cent of all incidents of unexpected tyre failure, for example, are caused by under inflated tyres.
To address this problem, Continental has developed a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) that works with wheel sensors and brake systems to alert the driver of low tyre pressure levels via a car dashboard warning light.
The TPMS continuously and reliably monitors the inflation pressure in real-time. In the event of pressure loss below a safe threshold, it immediately alerts the driver to take action. When used correctly, the TPMS can enhance driving safety by eliminating a frequent cause of accidents.
Sounds pretty impressive, right? Well, that's not all. Another benefit of this invaluable safety feature is that it reduces your car's fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
If a car's tyres are underinflated by only 0.3 bar, for example, the vehicle consumes 1.5 per cent more fuel – and produces a correspondingly higher amount of CO2 emissions.
There are many more advantages to a TPMS, including:
Let's take a closer look at the inner workings of a tyre pressure monitoring system. How does it work?
Readings are taken directly from the tyre. Battery powered sensors mounted on the rim and integrated into the valve measure the tyre pressure. This data is coded and transmitted in a high-frequency signal to a receiver. Dedicated software in the control device processes the information and displays it on the dashboard of the vehicle.
In effect, thanks to these dedicated sensors, the driver now has complete oversight of tyre pressure changes. And most importantly, they're warned before a critical situation arises.
TPMS software is so sophisticated that, after evaluating the collected data, it can calculate the rate of pressure leakage.
Additional software functions are standardised warnings when approaching specific limits, an ongoing comparison of tyre temperature, automatic tyre identification, and checks on spare tyres.
TPMS can even distinguish whether the vehicle is moving or standing still, and adjusts the frequency of the sensors accordingly.
When a vehicle is moving, for example, tyre pressure and tyre temperature are monitored every few seconds, and TPMS delivers the readings continuously.
If the vehicle is standing still, however, the TPMS takes measurements between longer intervals. The readings are only transmitted after a pressure change has been detected.
The European Commission has passed a law that requires integrated tyre pressure monitoring systems on all new cars manufactured since 2014.
Many vehicles already include TPMS as standard equipment. These systems can also make their data available to other vehicle systems, e.g. the braking system.
However, even if your vehicle does come equipped with a TPMS, it doesn't mean you should stop entirely conducting a manual tyre pressure check now and then. Continental recommends checking the tyre pressure once every two to four weeks as a routine precautionary measure.