What Does TPMS Mean?

chrysler-pacifica-hybrid-2021-24-front-row--instrument-panel--interior.jpg 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid | photo by Christian Lantry

TPMS stands for tire pressure monitoring system, a system required on all new cars in the U.S. since the 2008 model year and available on many vehicles before then. Using sensors in either the valve stem of a tire or mounted on the wheel or via software, the TPMS can determine real-time tire pressure and detect when a tire’s air pressure is a specific level below the manufacturer’s recommended levels and illuminate a warning light in the dashboard. More advanced systems can also provide real-time tire pressure readouts, typically in either the instrument panel or in a vehicle’s infotainment system.

Related: How Do I Find the Correct Tire Pressure for My Car?

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It’s recommended to service tire- or wheel-mounted TPMS units when changing tires to make sure the system is in good working order. Keeping the tires filled to the recommended tire pressure — check the sticker on the driver-side doorjamb or your owner’s manual to find the recommended pressure — has significant ride quality, fuel efficiency and safety benefits.

Weather may also affect your car’s TPMS system — colder temperatures can cause a drop in tire pressure, which may be enough to set off a warning light. While driving will warm up the tires and raise the pressure, which may cause the warning light to turn off, be sure to check for tire damage or leaks, as well.

It’s also still a good idea to have a manual tire pressure gauge and take readings of your tires’ pressure at least once a month.

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