What is a TPMS System – A Scam or Lifesaver?

tpms sensor system

A Tire Pressure Monitoring System or short TPMS System saves lives and money. I, personally, have installed one system in our car and never regret my decision to do so. Since proper tire pressure helps to optimize tire performance, it also helps to save gasoline and enhances driving safety. In fact, a TPMS system is very important to prevent serious accidents.

As driving quality improves, the driver has more control and stability over the vehicle. Also, proper tire pressure determines the rubber compound structure. Is the rubber structure too weak, worn tires do happen much quicker.

What is a Tire Pressure Measuring System (TPMS) exactly?

A TPMS system will monitor the tire pressure of the car in real-time. A normal system consists of two parts: The tire sensors and the monitor. The sensors are either installed on the inside of the tire (indirect) or screwed onto the tire valve (direct).

During driving the car, the alarm-monitor connects automatically to all the wireless sensors and provides pressure and tire-heat data in real-time onto the monitor display. In case the pressure drops, the monitor right away alerts the driver to stop and check for potential tire damage.

Some Interesting Facts:

  • TPMS extend the life of tire treads by as much as 35 %
  • TPMS saves gasoline costs
  • Reduce downtime and roadside repairs
  • Over 15 million (4 million gallons) liters gasoline per day are being wasted due to low tire pressure
  • Yearly, 80.000 accidents are attributed to low tire pressure
  • Greater braking stability
  • Go Green: Reduce of rubber particulates

Disadvantages of a TPMS System

Upfront, a TPMS system is not cheap and can run at around 80-200$ for a good quality system. Of course, many people might find it excessive and get angry, but please consider that over the long run the potential savings are much bigger than the initial investment cost.

Advantages of a TPMS System

Saves Gasoline / Tire Costs

  • A tire pressure that is 5 psi lower as the norm increases the gasoline consumption by 0.5l/100km.
  • No more constant checking at the gas station every 3-4 weeks. Many gas stations, now charge money to fill up the air. This cost is saved as well
  • In case the tire is damaged, you can either stop and change to a spare tire or drive to the next tire center to get it repaired. Therefore, there is no need to change the entire tire and only the tire fixing cost incur.
  • Optimal air pressure increases the mileage compared to tires life because the rolling resistance and heating decrease dramatically. In other words, the tires do last much longer.

Enhances the Safety while Driving

car accident tire blown
  • In case a nail or sharp object hits the tire, the tire pressure system will alert in real-time of the pressure drop. Surely, it will prevent a full tire blowout causing a possible accident.
  • Also, the braking distance will be considerably reduced due to a better grip of the rubber on the road

TIP: If you do not know the precise tire pressure, take a look at your car manual or ask the car dealer. Every brand and tire size does have different manufacturer recommendations. 


Direct TPMS System

The direct system does need additional sensors being attached to the tire. Be it on the inside of the tire or outside on the tire valves. This system is very accurate and delivers not only the air pressure but also the temperature of the tires to the alarm-monitor inside the car.

The internal sensors can only be installed by a certified car mechanic. Obviously, this installation cost is in addition to the purchasing price of the TMPS system.

I do recommend the outside system for the tire valves. The first advantage is that no installation cost is required as everyone can do it in under 5 minutes. Secondly, it is very hassle-free to change the batteries once empty. Lastly, the replacement tpms sensor is much cheaper compared to the internal system.

Indirect TPMS System

The indirect TPMS System is typically cheaper since the tire pressure loss is noticed by the ABS or ESP internal car electronics. Therefore, it is not necessary to install any additional sensors as the system works with the wheel speed sensors. In case a pressure loss is happening the tire-speed will increase at the same time. The new ABS-technology catches this scenario and sends an alert to the driver’s cockpit.

The advantage of the system is that there are no additional costs, but one of the major disadvantages is that this system is very inaccurate in its measurement.


Without reservation, a tire pressure system should be a must for every car. Since 2014, Europe made is mandatory for new cars to have a tpms system. Although, the acquisition cost is not cheap, by far the benefits outweigh the money spend – Safety First. More money saving tips here

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