The tire pressure warning system started appearing on vehicles in early 2004. At first the system was a nifty little gimmick to help sell cars. It gave the salesman of the first vehicles to deploy a tire pressure monitoring system an edge over the competition selling similar vehicles.
The federal government decided that the system worked so well that it would make it mandatory on all vehicles manufactured for the 2007 model year and beyond. The tire pressure system is a fantastic idea. It addresses the long standing problem of under-inflated tires and the complacency of some motorists. I'm not going to knock it in this article.
But anyone who has one of these systems on their vehicle and has experienced a tire pressure warning light will tell you it is not always a simple matter to turn off the light.
Fixing the problem and resetting the warning light on some models is extremely complicated. Also some cars require special tools to diagnose and repair malfunctions.
Hopefully this tire inflation monitor will become more users friendly, so that the vehicle owner will be able to handle the reset of the warning light or make it reset automatically on all cars and light trucks.
Right now there is no standard and each vehicle manufacturers deploys its own uniquely designed monitor. This is making it complicated for vehicle owners, car mechanics and tire shops to handle the increasing number of problems associated with the tire pressure monitoring system.
Now that this low tire warning alert has been on the market for a
while vehicle owners are starting to replace their worn-out tires.
Consumers may not realize that the procedure is now more complicated and
extra care needs to be applied by the tire changers.
Mounted inside of their tires is a small radio transmitter. In most cases this is attached to the valve stem but there other kinds as well. This small sensor contains a long life lithium ion battery and sends data to a separate tire pressure monitoring system computer.
They say these batteries can last for up to ten years if not damaged. Mounting tires at your local tire repair shop used to be a simple rip and tear operation. Using hydraulic or air operated tire changing equipment.
You basically ripped the old tires off and squeezed the new tires on. But with the delicate plastic inflation sensor somewhere inside it's easy to break it with a hydraulic tire machine.
The tire repair shop the mechanic and the driver of the vehicle will not know that there is a problem until the vehicle starts to drive down the road and the tire pressure warning light comes on. If this happens to you go directly back to the shop and have them address the problem.
You do not want to let time pass as this might tempt the shop to claim they have nothing to do with it. If you wait a few days and go back, they can deny any responsibility for causing the tire warning light problem. It may not be convenient to go directly back to the automotive center but trust me it is important, calling is not good enough.
These valve stem mounted pressure sensors have a permanently installed lithium ion long life battery inside of them. This makes the thing expensive. The last time I checked on the average price it was around $90 per sensor. Domestic cars are less and German cars are more. If the tire place breaks all four they should be on the hook for about $400 worth of pressure sensor monitoring parts.
It is the shop's responsibility to recognize that the vehicle they are replacing tires on is equipped with this system some might even charge an extra fee. The auto repair mechanic or tire man must take special care and avoid breaking or damaging any parts on this delicate sensitive technology.
Also note that if you get a nail in your tire and the warning light is illuminated on your dash to notify you of low tire pressure after the tire is repaired and refilled further action may be required.
systems will automatically reset after identifying the proper pressure
in the tire. Other systems will require a procedure to be followed to
reset the light. Your owner's manual should describe the procedure and
is a good source of information on what type of inflation monitoring
system you have on your vehicle.
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