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Steven M. Lee, PC

Q:
How does tire pressure monitoring keep me safe?

A:

While most drivers know that you can’t drive on a flat tire, many are not aware of the danger of driving on underinflated tires. To let drivers know when their tires are low, many cars now offer a tire pressure monitoring system. However, according to a survey conducted by the University of Iowa Public Policy Center's Transportation and Vehicle Safety program, 45.3 percent of drivers who have this technology on their cars report not knowing how the system works. To take advantage of the added safety this technology provides, it is important to be familiar with what it does and how it does it.

Tire Pressure Monitoring

What It Is

Required by law in all cars produced since 2007, this feature monitors your tires’ pressures and warns you if the tire pressure is low on any one of the tires. Poorly-inflated tires are prone to blow-outs and could affect your ability to control the car. They also cost you money in undue wear on the tires and poor gas mileage.

How It Works

Cars equipped with indirect tire sensors measure wheel spin and can only tell you when the pressure is low. Direct sensors are wireless devices in each tire that report the tire’s pressure reading to your dashboard, so you know when they are underinflated or overinflated.

Tips for Using It

Tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) are designed to let you know when there is a problem. It is then up to you to take care of the problem by manually checking the pressure of each tire and either releasing or adding air. A few things to remember include:

  • When your signal light goes on, you do not need to pull over immediately. It is usually fine to wait until you can safely stop or pull into a gas station.
  • Don’t become too dependent on the system. Take the time to manually check your tire pressure before and after long trips.

Potential Problems

TPMS are designed to warn drivers when a tire’s pressure has lost at least 25 percent of its inflation pressure compared to other tires on the vehicle. Some critics say that this is too much pressure loss for a first warning. They also worry that drivers will become too dependent on the system and won’t take accurate readings on a regular basis.

Considering that there are an estimated 11,000 crashes and 200 deaths due to tire problems each year, it is well worth your time to manually check your tire’s pressure at the start of each season and always heed your TPMS warning light.

When to Get Help

To learn more about additional car safety features, visit the My Car Does What? website. Whether you have used your car’s safety features correctly or not, if you have been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you could be entitled to compensation. Call Steve Lee at 800-232-3711 to get help.

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