With today's cars, old gadgets such as tire gauges are becoming obsolete thanks to modern technology. Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems or TPMS for short, are one of the latest advancements in the automotive industry that allow you to monitor your tire's pressure in real time, without the need to use conventional pressure gauges. Maintaining your car's TPMS is quite easy, and most of the time, the only part that you'll need to replace during maintenance would be the TPMS sensor. Go through our handy guide and learn what you'll need to look for in an aftermarket TPMS sensor.
How it Works
There are two types of pressure monitoring systems: direct and indirect.
A direct TPMS can measure the actual pressure from within the tires, using a pressure sensor with a built-in transmitter. The vehicle's dashboard would then have a receiver that monitors the tire's pressure in real time.
On the other hand, an indirect TPMS monitors tire pressure in conjunction with the vehicle's antilock braking system's wheel speed sensors. The system's computer compares the rotation of the tires to one another, and will alert the driver if one is rotating at a different speed. Since it is an indirect system, it may provide false alerts and is considered to be less precise compared to a direct TPMS.
Both systems perform in real time and information is usually placed on the vehicle's dashboard. Once you begin to notice that your sensors aren't working properly, then you'll need to replace them ASAP. To rule out any other malfunctioning components, you'll have to use a scan tool to properly diagnose your vehicle and determine if the TPMS sensor is at fault.
Getting the Right Sensor for your TPMS
TPMS sensors come in a wide variety of types and models, so it's important that you choose a replacement that is compatible with your car's TPMS. Never swap an indirect sensor for a direct one, or vice-versa, since they are made for two entirely different systems. We strongly advise you to check your car's manual and see what kind of TPMS you have installed. You may also check the brand of your vehicle's TPMS and get a suitable replacement sensor directly from the brand's catalog of parts.
You don't have to spend a lot on TPMS sensors, unless you have an advanced system that uses a high-end one. Standard sensors can go as low as $50 but can go up to as high as $200, depending on the component's features and manufacturer. You can't go wrong by getting a brand name sensor, especially if it's made by the same company who designed your TPMS in the first place.