How Do Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems Work

Tire pressure is one of the most overlooked aspects of car maintenance. Hence, the introduction of tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS).

TPMS is one of the best innovations in the automotive industry. Modern vehicles are being fitted with this technology to prevent tire pressure-related road problems.

But what is TPMS, and how does it work? Read on below and know more about this potentially life-saving invention.

What is TPMS and how does it work?

The tire pressure monitoring system was first used in 1977 on the Porsche 911. However, it was only in 2007 when this technology became a standard for all new cars.

TPMS may sound like new technology, but it’s actually the horseshoe-looking symbol on the dashboard. It has an exclamation point in the middle to signify a tire pressure warning.

Overall, there are two types of TPMS: direct and indirect. Direct TPMS uses radio signals, while indirect TPMS is wired into the vehicle’s electronics.

Moreover, the tire pressure monitoring system relies on a set of specialized sensors. This is the same thing with other driver assistance features on your car.

While it’s called a tire pressure monitoring system, this technology doesn’t really measure pressure per se. Instead, it checks the tires’ rotation.

Why is this so, you ask? When a tire is properly inflated, it will have an ideal roll speed to which the sensors are programmed.

If the sensors notice any imbalance from the programmed roll speed, it will trigger the warning light on your dashboard. This is a sign that you need to check your tires and seek necessary repairs.

Over the years, car manufacturers have been developing TPMS technology. For example, some car models now have sensors to measure both temperature and roll speed.

Also, a partnership between Bridgestone and Microsoft led to a new tech that can send tire damage alerts in real-time. While we’re yet to see its commercial rollout, the technology is extremely promising.

Can TPMS fail?

TPMS are programmed to be reliable and long-lasting. However, it doesn’t mean that the technology is infallible.

You still need to get this part of your car calibrated and checked regularly. Like any car part, your TPMS also needs proper maintenance to work seamlessly.

Take note that the tire pressure sensors are also subjected to road-related damage. For example, the sensors can sustain damages if you hit a pothole or figure in a collision.

Moreover, direct TPMS is equipped with radio signal technology. Therefore, if there are strong interferences, the warning light may malfunction. In this case, an indirect TPMS would be a more reliable option.

If you notice incorrect warnings on your TPMS, you should get the sensors checked right away. This way, you can avoid accidents on the road.


Proper tire pressure is crucial for safe driving. This is why TPMS became a standard among modern cars. Still, this system isn’t infallible, so it must be maintained like other parts of your vehicle.

You also have the option to upgrade your car’s TPMS kit. Feel free to talk to your trusted technician about the best option for your vehicle.