The importance of inflation has made automatic systems a feature in many new cars.
It can be disconcerting when pretty much any warning indicator lights up on the instrument panel of the dashboard of your car, but do you really know what it means when the tire pressure indicator comes on with an exclamation point inside it?
A recent study has indicated that nearly half (42 percent) of people don’t really know the answer.
A tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) in a car comes on when one or more of your tires has reached the point that it can be considered dangerously underinflated. Because of this, if the light does come on, it is very important for you to check your inflation as soon as you can so that you can properly correct the problem. The inflation of your tires is an exceptionally important part of the vehicle’s performance, but it is also vital to your ability to control your car while you travel down the road.
Tire pressure monitoring systems have become a standard on many vehicles made during and after 2008.
The reason is that it is dangerous to operate a vehicle with very underinflated tires as it reduces the ability of a driver to handle the car. It also increases wear to the tires, lengthens the amount of time and distance needed before it is possible to come to a full stop, increases fuel consumption and raises emissions from the vehicle.
When the under-inflation is great enough, it can actually heat the tires to the point that they will blow out. According to data from the U.S. government, there are about 11,000 crashes and about 200 deaths every year that result from issues relating to tires.
Every tire will leak a small amount of air over time. This means that after a month or two have passed, the tire pressure will start to drop. Moreover, as temperatures outside start to fall in the wintertime, the air in the tires that had expanded during hotter months will contract, reducing the level of inflation.
It is very important not to wait until a TPMS warning light comes on before inflation is checked. Instead, it is highly recommended that a good quality tire pressure gauge be used to check inflation at least one time per month.