Tyre pressure monitoring systems – which check your wheels as you drive and warn if any are under- or over-inflated – will become standard kit on every new car soon.
The European Union has decided for safety reasons that within three years all new cars should have them. While this gadget does nothing that an owner couldn’t , successive research studies show that the vast majority of owners rarely if ever check their tyres themselves.
As a result it is believed that four of five cars in the UK runs on under- or over-inflated rubber, some dangerously so. Tyre press monitoring systems (TPMS) are fitted as standard on some upmarket models and offered as cost-extra options on others. But where owners can choose to include them, few do. Schrader electronics, which makes TMPS, believes fitting the systems will add about £82 to the price of a car, although this could reduce once economies of scale kick in.
TPMS uses sensors in the tyre valves to send info to the car’s computer. If the pressures are too low or high, it sends a warning via the car’s instrument panel. What it cannot do is correct the pressure: the owner still has to do this by hand.
The introduction of TPMS is the latest piece of safely related equipment to find its way on to Europe’s cars by law. Electronic Stability Control (ESC), which detects and reduces skids, will be compulsory on all cars by 2014, while anti-lock brakes have been fitted as standard since 2007.