DANGER: TPMS should not replace basic checks
Michelin are warning fleets not to become complacent with tyre pressures following the introduction of Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS).
The electronic safety device, which became mandatory on all newly-homologated cars in November 2012, alerts drivers when tyre pressures fall below a certain level – typically 20% under-inflated.
Michelin say they welcome the new European legislation concerning the device, which has been introduced to help improve road safety and emissions.
However, Dave Crinson, Head of Fleet at Michelin, said drivers must be aware that TPMS is not an alternative to regular tyre checks.
“TPMS is an excellent development for the motoring industry and the fact it is now a compulsory feature of all new cars is an extremely positive step,” he said.
“Any technology that helps reduce the number of motorists who drive on under-inflated tyres, and therefore reduces the number of accidents on the road, should be embraced by the industry.
“However, although TPMS is an excellent tool, there is the possibility it could encourage drivers to act only when the alarm is raised and not to carry out basic checks regularly, which are so important.
“TPMS will only detect a reduction in tyre pressure so it’s essential that drivers continue to regularly check tread depths and look for any damage, including penetrating objects such as nails and screws.
“We all have warning lights to show when our vehicle’s oil is low or to indicate there is a problem with the engine, but we still regularly check oil levels and have our vehicle serviced – it’s the same with tyre pressures and TPMS.”
Michelin advise that tyre pressures should be checked at least monthly and before long journeys.
However, results from their regular Fill Up With Air events indicate a high number of drivers are neglecting their tyres.
Tests on 3,722 vehicles in 2012 revealed 30% of drivers had tyre pressures classed as ‘dangerous’ – between eight and 14psi under-inflated.
Even more worryingly, 9% of pressures were classed as ‘very dangerous’, as they were more than 14psi below their vehicle’s recommended level.
Only 28% of vehicles tested were found to have the correct pressures as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
Although TPMS has been available since the 1980s, new regulations state that all newly-homologated cars need TPMS as standard fitment.
In November 2014, TPMS will be required on all newly-manufactured cars.