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A tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is an electronic system designed to monitor the air pressure inside the pneumatic tires on various types of vehicles. TPMS report real-time tire-pressure information to the driver of the vehicle, either via a gauge, a pictogram display, or a simple low-pressure warning light. TPMS can be divided into two different types – direct (dTPMS) and indirect (iTPMS). TPMS are provided both at an OEM (factory) level as well as an aftermarket solution. The target of a TPMS is avoiding traffic accidents, poor fuel economy, and increased tire wear due to under-inflated tires through early recognition of a hazardous state of the tires.
Due to the influence tire pressure has on vehicle safety and efficiency, tire-pressure monitoring (TPM) was first adopted by the European market as an optional feature for luxury passenger vehicles in the 1980s. The first passenger vehicle to adopt TPM was the Porsche 959 in 1986, using a hollow spoke wheel system developed by PSK. In 1996 Renault used the Michelin PAX system for the Scenic and in 1999 the PSA Peugeot Citroën decided to adopt TPM as a standard feature on the Peugeot 607. The following year (2000), Renault launched the Laguna II, the first high volume mid-size passenger vehicle in the world to be equipped with TPM as a standard feature. In the United States, TPM was introduced by General Motors for the 1991 model year for the Corvette in conjunction with Goodyear run-flat tires. The system uses sensors in the wheels and a driver display which can show tire pressure at any wheel, plus warnings for both high and low pressure. It has been standard on Corvettes ever since.
The introduction of run-flat tires and emergency spare tires by several tire and vehicle manufacturers has motivated to make at least some basic TPMS mandatory when using run-flat tires. With run-flat tires, the driver will most likely not notice that a tire is running flat, hence the so-called "run-flat warning systems" were introduced. These are most often first generation, purely roll-radius based iTPMS, which ensure that run-flat tires are not used beyond their limitations, usually 80 km/h (49.7 mph) and 80 km (49.7 miles) driving distance. The iTPMS market has progressed as well. Indirect TPMS are able to detect under-inflation through combined use of roll radius and spectrum analysis and hence four-wheel monitoring has become feasible. With this breakthrough, meeting the legal requirements is possible also with iTPMS.
Benefits of TPMS
The dynamic behavior of a pneumatic tire is closely connected to its inflation pressure. Key factors like braking distance and lateral stability require the inflation pressures to be adjusted and kept as specified by the vehicle manufacturer. Extreme under-inflation can even lead to thermal and mechanical overload caused by overheating and subsequent, sudden destruction of the tire itself. Additionally, fuel efficiency and tire wear are severely affected by under-inflation. Tires do not only leak air if punctured, they also leak air naturally, and over a year, even a typical new, properly mounted tire can lose from 20 to 60 kPa (3 to 9 psi), roughly 10% or even more of its initial pressure.
The significant advantages of TPMS are summarized as follows:
·Fuel savings: According to the GITI, for every 10% of under-inflation on each tire on a vehicle, a 1% reduction in fuel economy will occur. In the United States alone, the Department of Transportation estimates that under inflated tires waste 2 billion US gallons (7,600,000 m3) of fuel each year.
·Extended tire life: Under inflated tires are the #1 cause of tire failure and contribute to tire disintegration, heat buildup, ply separation and sidewall/casing breakdowns. Further, a difference of 10 pounds per square inch (69 kPa; 0.69 bar) in pressure on a set of duals literally drags the lower pressured tire 2.5 metres per kilometre (13 feet per mile). Moreover, running a tire even briefly on inadequate pressure breaks down the casing and prevents the ability to retread. It is important to note that not all sudden tire failures are caused by under-inflation. Structural damages caused, for example, by hitting sharp curbs or potholes, can also lead to sudden tire failures, even a certain time after the damaging incident. These cannot be proactively detected by any TPMS.
·Decreased downtime and maintenance: Under-inflated tires lead to costly hours of downtime and maintenance.
·Improved safety: Under-inflated tires lead to tread separation and tire failure, resulting in 40,000 accidents, 33,000 injuries and over 650 deaths per year. Further, tires properly inflated add greater stability, handling and braking efficiencies and provide greater safety for the driver, the vehicle, the loads and others on the road.
·Environmental efficiency: Under-inflated tires, as estimated by the Department of Transportation, release over 26 billion kilograms (57.5 billion pounds) of unnecessary carbon-monoxide pollutants into the atmosphere each year in the United States alone.