TPMS: HOW DID IT BECOME OBLIGATORY?

The Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) has become one of the most sought and major safety-related technologies and components in recent car design. Presently, most of the cars, regardless of the variant, have a TPMS monitoring system fixed. The purpose of the TPMS is for safety has deeply rooted in the current automobile system. The reason for the compulsory implementation of the TPMS too can be associated with tire safety. The TREAD Act, a bill successfully legislated in 2000 by the United States, had been the foundation for the start of TPMS. The TREAD Act was promulgated in the year 2000 due to Firestone and Ford Tire Controversy.

The Firestone and Ford Tire Controversy is the incident where they are an out-of-the-ordinary high failure of Firestone ATX and ATX 2 tire installed in the Ford Explorer and other 4 * 4 vehicles. This abnormal failure of the tire had caused tremendous accidents that had caused over 800 injuries and 271 deaths. These incidents had been a  colossal loss in terms of business and reputation. Both companies’ executives had been resigned or fired as fallout from these incidents. Bridgestone, the owner of Firestone tire and Ford Motor Company, had been forced to recalls 14.4 million tires in the United States and the international market. Both Ford and Firestone sides blamed each other for the disgrace. The culmination of these had bought the 100-year relationship between Firestone and Ford to an end.

To ensure that this type of incident does not happen again, the TREAD Act was established. The TREAD, the acronym for the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation have 3 major components. The vehicle manufacturers must lodge a report to the relevant transportation authorities when they recall a vehicle due to safety concerns. An “Early Warning” requirement needs to be adhered to where the vehicle manufacturers must provide related information about their products. The vehicle manufacturer will incur criminal liability with these acts if any violations are found in their reports.

The “Early Warning” requirements in the TREAD act led to the creation of  TPMS in every vehicle in the modern-day.  The introduction of the run-flat tire where the automobile drivers will never likely notice the tire running flat can also be attributed to the emergence of the TPMS, although the base for the TPMS is still the TREAD acts.  

Unfortunately, the deaths, high number of injuries, damaging reputations had led to the creation of TPMS. Now the TPMS has been introduced, they 2 types of TPMS in each car. One is the indirect TPMS, and the other is the direct TPMS. Both are created to monitor the tire pressure; however, the implementation and execution are different.

The indirect TPMS does not have any physical pressure sensor but uses a complex software algorithm to monitor the tire’s pressure based on wheel speed, accelerometer, driving style, etc. The drawback of indirect TPMS is that it cannot provide an actual value of tire pressure since they are not physical pressure sensors in these type of TPMS and the benefits of these types of TPMS are user-friendly and easy to install in the vehicle.

The next type is the direct TPMS which had more edge than the indirect TPMS. The vehicle with the direct  TPMS has a battery-powered sensor fixed inside the tire rim. The supremacy of direct TPMS is that since they are a physical sensor in the tire rim. These sensors will enable precise information about the tire pressure, which can help automobile lovers to take the necessary action when they find the tire is low in the air pressure. The drawback of the direct TPMS is that if there are any failures with the sensor, the tire needs to be dismounted before any replacement can be made, which is less user-friendly than the indirect TPMS.

The direct TPMS will transfer the data from the sensor to the vehicle onboard computer or special display device, usually on the aftermarket TPMS. Automobile lovers can also install an aftermarket TPMS it is not available in their vehicle. The aftermarket TPMS is important as the preceding vehicle does not have TPMS installed; hence the automobile can buy an aftermarket TPMS which sometimes can provide more information if compared to the OEM, such as remote monitoring options.

The TPMS has become a most sought safety technology as it also has many conveniences and comfort. With the TPMS, automobile lovers will quickly detect their tire is low air pressure via the TPMS warning. These can contribute to reduced fuels consumption as driving a tire that is low on air pressure can increase fuel consumption, and most crucial of all, contribute to the safe drive. The automobile driver does not need to refer to the car doors and the owner’s manual on the required tire pressure PSI as the TPMS does provide the required information via the display system.

What started as an incident due to abnormality of tire failure that led to the abrupt termination of Ford and Firestone had become the base for creating TPMS. These tire safety had become most sought and added another safety layer for the modern-day vehicle. The TPMS is available on the modern-day vehicle extensively. Aftermarket, as a user of the earlier vehicle that does not have a TPMS, they also had been able to reap the benefits of the TPMS. Although these technologies had been behind time for the older vehicle, with the availabilities of the aftermarket TPMS, they can also have a safer drive and the ability to detect any flat or low-pressure tire quickly.

As mentioned, the tire is the only part that contacts the road in any vehicle. Hence, any technologies that can detect abnormalities in the tire while driving and during idle will add another layer of safety mechanism for the driver and contribute to safer drivers. The TPMS has been an addition of the safety layer technologies that enable detecting any tire flaw rapidly. It is technologies that have been most popular in the current vehicle.

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