Tire Pressure Monitors – Transmitting LIVE “from a Car Tire Near You”

by | Jan 16, 2017 | Car Problems & Repairs

For the several years now, automobiles have been produced with tire pressure monitoring systems. These systems warn the driver whenever one of the tires has lost pressure — before it becomes a danger. This early warning system can save you from having a completely flat tire, and over the years, these systems have saved many lives and prevented a lot of inconvenience.

Most of the tire pressure systems (TPS’s) have four or five tiny pressure sensing electronics coupled with a radio frequency transmitter mounted inside the tire. They constantly send information to the automobile’s computer system. These electronic devices have to stand up to bumps, heat and rotation so they have to be very reliable. Inside each transmitter there is a tiny battery that lasts about 5 to 7 years or around 100,000 miles. This is quite a bit less than the life of the vehicle so there is a good chance that the sensors will have to be replaced. A good time to replace them is when the tires are changed. This cuts down on the labor cost because they can be installed fairly easily while the tire is off.

If your car was built after 2005 and you are having tires changed, we recommend that you ask for a price quote for replacing the sensors. Alternately, you can wait until your tire pressure sensors (TPS’s ) fail.  This will result in diagnostic charges and a larger labor charge to install one or more of the sensors. Each of these sensors can cost from $30 to $80 each.  TSP’s for some European automobile makes and models can cost significantly more.

If your tire pressure monitoring light comes on the first thing to do is to stop your vehicle in a safe place and check to see which tire is low. Use a tire pressure gauge to check each tire. If they all read close to what is recommended then you can continue to drive. In most cases, the recommended tire pressure is located on a label on the driver’s side door jam. If it is not there then check the vehicle handbook for the location. It is a good idea to be ready in advance in the event something like this occurs by knowing where your car’s tire pressure label is. You can also carry an tire pressure sensor gauge, particularly if your car is getting close to 100,000 miles.

Originally published in 2011, this article was updated in November, 2017. 


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About the Author

About Brian England

Brian England, the current president of BA Auto Care (formerly British American Auto Care), got his start with an auto apprenticeship in a small town in northwest of London. He came to the U.S. in 1972 to work for a Land Rover dealer in Rockville, MD. A few years later, he started British American Auto Care with his wife, Jennifer. Brian is a big believe in preventative maintenance, and his philosophy is to encourage and educate drivers on the benefits of a regular maintenance plan.