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The Truth about Tire Pressure (Tire Inflation)

Posted May 31, 2024 8:44 AM

Most light vehicles (under 10,000 pounds/4,500 kg) in North America sold from 2008 model year on have a feature that many people are confused about.  It's the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).  You may have some experience with it yourself if you own a newer vehicle.  Vehicles with TPMS have sensors in each tire that are supposed to warn the driver when tire pressure gets dangerously low.  That's important because tires that are significantly under-inflated can cause very serious accidents.

Unfortunately, many drivers think the TPMS does all the work keeping track of tire pressure. To them, as long as the warning light or gauge isn’t giving a warning, the tires must have the proper amount of air pressure in them.  That's not the case.

Tire pressure monitoring systems aren't all created equal.   Some give you a digital readout of the pressures in each individual tire.  But many simply have a warning light that looks like the cross section of a tire with an exclamation point in the middle.  If you don't know what it is, it's because it's not instantly recognizable as a tire.  In fact, one company that makes TPMS, Schrader Performance Sensors, surveyed drivers.  Their study showed that more than 40 percent of drivers didn't know that that warning light was. 

One out of 5 of the drivers who did know what the light was only looked at their tires after the light came on to see if they could see any that needed air; they never checked them with a tire gauge or had someone else do it.  Ten percent of them didn't do anything when the light came on.

In most vehicles with TPMS, the warning comes on only when the tires are more than 25% underinflated.  The American Automobile Association says that's under the pressure you need for safe vehicle operation.

The bottom line is once a month you should make sure your tires are inflated to the manufacturer's recommendations.  That means each tire should be measured with an accurate, external tire gauge.  To be confident you are getting a correct reading, take your vehicle to a reputable service facility where their equipment is calibrated and they know what they're doing.

Severely underinflated tires can contribute to an accident that kills or severely injures people.  The idea behind TPMS is well intended, but the system was never meant to replace regular inflation measurements and maintenance.  Periodically have your tires checked for proper inflation.

Protrans Automotive & Transmission Specialists
3420 Gato Ct.
Riverside, CA 92507
9513185223



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Protrans much cheaper than initial quote. Brought in my ford focus to replace Radiator. And a free ride home. Micheal, did not sell me for anything I didn't need, awesome n friendly guy. Definitely will return for future mechanic needs.
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, 06/19/2024

These folks are awesome!!! I brought my prized, restored classic Mustang in for a new starter and flywheel replacement, which at first was a bit of a challenge because it's difficult to find mechanics willing and, moreover, knowledgeable of these older cars. They did not hesitate to accept the challenge and went ahead and did the repair. Unfortunately, five months later, both the flywheel and starter failed just a mile from the shop. Since the car was still operational (after a push start), I brought it by and was immediately met with assurance that the entire job, parts and labor, were covered under their warranty for a year, and in my case, being a AAA member, for two years. The gal at the front counter (Luz), who is super nice, said they would get it in the shop right away and see what had happened. A couple of days later, I met with Michael (the owner), who calmly reassured me that they always stand behind their work and would get the repair done, no matter what. In the end, they identified a couple of possible issues that may have caused the failure, and to make sure that it didn't happen again, they put together a higher-quality setup with better parts, and now the car operates better than ever. I highly recommend calling them first!
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Bruce was amazing! Got my 2008 honda accord fixed up and on road in great time at very reasonable price. Thank you
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, 05/23/2024

The wonderful team at ProTrans helped me out IMMENSELY when I called with an emergency. I had a kitten under my hood that I could not get out! After towing my car there, they helped out immediately and removed the little furball so I could return him to his home. Thanks again to this amazing group. I?ll definitely be bringing my car here for future tune ups. Great guys & great service.
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, 05/09/2024

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