Why should you monitor tyre pressure?
By looking at the below Youtube example, you may wonder what happened?
Actually, it was very simple. A 4WD was towing a camper trailer on the way from Birdsville (QLD), and at one moment the rear tyre blew out causing the whole rig to roll. The driver did not even have a chance to react. The couple from the car survived but had to be taken to the hospital by Royal Flying Doctors.
Skip to 20:30 to see what happened.
How to avoid situations like this? How do you know if something is going wrong with your tyres? Read on and learn how to monitor tyre pressure and save your rig and sometimes even your life.
How to control tyre pressure while driving?
A solution to avoid accidents like this is to constantly monitor your tyre pressure while driving by installing a TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System).
Some modern cars have TPMS installed already, but most older models don’t have it by default. At present, car manufacturers in Australia don’t have any regulations about TPMS.
The majority of drivers don’t monitor tyre pressure as very often they don’t know a system like this exists. We did not know it either and if we did we would have installed it for our trip around Australia.
What is tyre pressure monitoring system?
Tyre Pressure Monitoring System constantly monitors your tyres while driving your car. It is an electronic system that is checking the pressure inside the tyres. If tyre pressure drops below or rises above the set range the system will instantly send an alert.
Depending on the system, the current readings are displayed on the LCD screen that you attach to your windscreen, or by lighting the low-pressure indicator on your dashboard (usually a horseshoe symbol with an exclamation mark).
TPMS main function is to warn you of a tyre puncture or air leak. It is not a substitute for regular tyre maintenance or keeping the right tyre pressure.
Why having the TPMS is important?
- Increase your road safety – get alerted instatnly if something goes wrong and avoid car accident
- Increase longevity of tyres – by keeping an eye on tyres you make sure to have them inflated to a desired level all the time, thus increasing the tyre longevity
- Improve fuel efficiency – cars consume more fuel with underinflated tyres – you can quickly be alerted from your system if they are not inflated to the desired surface level
- Better car value – expecially valuable when selling the car – potential owners will see that you have taken a good care about your tyres
- Better insurance rates – some car insurance companies may give a better discount if you have TPMS installed on your vehicle.
How does tyre pressure monitoring system work?
There are different types of TPMS and they work a little bit different. We have indirect and direct systems where direct systems are split into internal and external.
They use the car’s built-in anti-lock braking system’s wheel sensors. Underinflated tyres have to move faster to keep up and sensors detect this movement and send an alert.
The indirect system cannot tell you which tyre is underinflated and they require regular calibration. Usually, they also have less accurate readings than direct systems.
Direct TPMS are much better as they monitor pressure and temperature. Usually, the sensors are mounted on the valves or inside the wheel. Direct TPMS have an accurate reading within 1 PSI and they will send a signal wirelessly to the display.
Internal TPMS is installed inside the wheel well or mounted to the tyre valve stem. The system has to be installed by a tyre specialist as you probably don’t have the required tools.
The main benefits of the internal TPMS are:
- it is installed insided the tyre thus cannot be damaged or knocked off
- it give better accuracy reading then external system
- cannot be stolen as it is installed inside
- you can inflate the tyre easily
External TPMS have sensors installed outside of the tyre. It is very easy to install it as it is just a matter to screw the sensors to the tyre valves.
The main benefits of the external TPMS are:
- less expensive
- easy to install
There are many TPMS on the market that suits light or heavy vehicles. Some have a fancy display and some are very simple but reliable. The TPMS we own looks like in the image below. It displays up to 6 readings (tyre pressure and temperature) – considering you tow a trailer or caravan.
Browse Outback Equipment or Caravan RV Camping for the best model that suits your vehicle.
What else can I do to avoid a tyre blowout?
Monitoring tyre pressure is an important thing but it cannot replace regular tyre maintenance. Tyres wear out and they don’t last forever. Every dirt road or 4WD rocky track give more wear to tyres. Also, simple things like going over kerbs or speed bumps degrade your tyres further.
Always check the tyres and replace them if needed.
The last thing is to keep the right tyre pressure for the right surface. Depending on if you drive on a dirt road, an off-road track, beach or mud the pressure of tyres should be lowered to the desired level.
Lowering tyre pressure will give you better traction, less wear and punctures, better driving comfort, and better fuel economy.
Reasons why to monitor tyre pressure – summary
I hope this article helped you to find out all the important information about monitoring tyre pressure while driving.
These days we can use systems that can increase our safety. Having a tyre blowout while driving is very unpleasant and can be a deadly thing but if we can step ahead and get some alerts. Why not? Stopping a car immediately can save your rig or maybe even life. Buying an external TPMS and installing it can be done but following a few simple steps.
What do you do a thing about TPMS? Have you got internal or external TPMS? Did you prevent a tyre blowout in the past? What was your story?
Please share your story below.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
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4WD Equipment Checklist
Tire Repair Kit – to fix the tire by yourself when you don’t have access to the tire shop (we use Oztrail)
UHF Radio – for communication with your mates and in emergency
Full Recovery Kit (with Dampener Blanket) – must-have if you are going on real off-road
High Lift Jack – useful if you do serious 4WD tracks
Shovel – useful if you get bogged, also good for campfire cooking
Fuel funnel with water filter – additional protection when fueling up in dodgy places