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How a Tire Pressure Monitoring System Works

As its name suggests, a tire pressure monitoring system is more than a single part. In fact, TPMS involves a valve and a sensor, and it's also important to know that not all TPMS systems are created equal.There are two kinds of TPMS technology–indirect and direct. Indirect TPMS approximates tire pressure indirectly by using data from the vehicle's antilock brake system (ABS). Direct TPMS provides a more accurate calculation of your tire pressure using data gathered directly from a sensor placed inside each tire.

In either case, if a tire is detected to be underinflated by 25% or more, an alert lights up on your dashboard. But with direct TPMS, drivers are alerted sooner and–if the car is equipped with the four-tire TPMS display–can even see readings for each tire. One of the largest downsides of an indirect TPMS system is that it cannot detect when all four tires are low in pressure, which can happen quite frequently if tire pressure is not checked on a regular basis.

To get a better understanding of how TPMS works and how it helps make driving safer, watch this video on TPMS technology.

To read more about the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the TREAD Act, visit http://www.nhtsa.gov