Ireland's Publication for the refinishing & associated Industries

Diagnostic tools uncover thousands of TPMS issues

Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) found in modern cars cannot always be relied on to display accurate readings, with motorists being advised to use a diagnostic tool (where possible) to seek extra security in knowing their tyres are safe.

According to vehicle diagnostic expert, OBDeleven, motorists in the UK using at-home diagnostic tools have discovered more than 50,000 issues with their vehicle’s TPMS over the last number of months. It claims that a vehicle’s TPMS can often fail, and batteries in the wheel-mounted sensors can run out, meaning that in such cases, drivers will be unaware that their tyres are not inflated to appropriate levels – unless they take the initiative to physically check them.

Speaking to on the issue here in Ireland, a tyre industry spokesperson said: “TPMS is always bubbling just below the surface for a few reasons. Not only the sensors but also the kit to solve TPMS issues in a tyre centres, garages, and in a main dealer.

“Early sensors fitted to wheel/tyre assemblies are more than 10 years old so the chance of batteries running out is possible. A common reason for failure of the sensor can be due to it being accidentally ripped-out when punctures are being repaired or tyres replaced.”

When asked if they think TPMS sensor failure is leaving motorists unaware that their tyres are under-inflated, our source said: “If drivers don’t pay attention to a bulb warning on the dashboard, then why would they for a tyre alert?”

They added that, when it comes to the available equipment to test and refit sensors, the tyre industry “has been slow to deliver a resolution from the suppliers, but some are now settling on solutions, which can read a very wide range of sensors, replace them and recode”.

It should also be remembered that the Road Safety Authority (RSA) estimates that defective tyres could be a contributory factor in as many as 14 road deaths in Ireland each year.

Having a properly functioning TPMS for your tyres – your only contact points with the road – can only be a great safety feature. Maximising a driver’s awareness and confidence in the benefits of TPMS will serve all road users. The tyre and auto industries have an obligation to get it right!