How Overdue is Your Tire Pressure Check?

A recent Swedish study by TNS Sifo on tire pressure has shown that people who check tire pressure as often as advised by the car manual are a small minority. A majority still tolerate increased fuel consumption, CO2 emission and tire wear, plus degraded vehicle handling instead of spending a few minutes getting their fingers a little dirty now and then. How does one persuade drivers to maintain tire pressure levels? Authorities are convinced, and the study confirms it, that the only way is to make tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) mandatory. This was implemented first in the US, and recently in the EU; TPMS will become mandatory for new vehicle models from next month. Countries like Korea and Russia have joined in, with China determined to follow soon. But adding features to vehicles adds cost which has to be covered. With the vehicle industry facing another crisis, car manufacturers are reluctant to make their products any more expensive. Vehicle owners have a crystal-clear opinion on this according to the study: neither purchase nor maintenance cost will be accepted. The way forward is to find low-cost, maintenance-free solutions which simply work in everyday life.

There are two types of system on the market: one with sensors which directly measure the pressure (dTPMS) and one purely software-based, like TPI by NIRA, without additional sensors (indirect, or iTPMS). They are much cheaper, but do they work?

TÜV SÜD has tested TPI by NIRA twice, along with a competitor’s product. The results make clear that iTPMS not only fulfill the legal requirements but have reached a degree of maturity and performance not considered possible beforehand.

TPMS are effective – but there are drawbacks. If warning thresholds are too strict, drivers hesitate to take immediate action. The TNS Sifo study found that warnings at 20% pressure loss, the current EU limit and the strictest worldwide, are regarded as too early by every fourth driver. At 15% pressure loss, more than half of drivers would perceive the warning as too early and ignore it the next time.

A tire pressure warning is always bad news and making drivers pay for it neither makes it more popular nor effective.

Jörg Sturmhoebel, CMO, NIRA Dynamics AB, Teknikringen 6, 583 30 Linköping, Sweden, Tel.: +46(0)733580103, Fax : +46(0)13-32-98-29, jorg.sturmhoebel@niradynamics.se

Tire Pressure Warning Telltale
Tire pressure check in detail
Tire pressure check

Related Links

NIRA Dynamics

TÜV SÜD test about the ECE-R64 compliance of TPI by NIRA in an Audi A4

TÜV SÜD test about iTPMS – summary

TÜV SÜD test about iTPMS – results table

TNS Sifo Tire Pressure Consumer Study – result presentation

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