TPMS - Tire Pressure Monitoring System

TPMS is an automated system that monitors the air pressure in a vehicle's tires. When air pressure in one or more tires drops 25 percent or more below the correct pressure, a warning indicator alerts the driver. TPMS typically delivers these alerts to the driver through one of two types of warning lights on the dashboard.

1. The first uses the official TPMS symbol, which is a cross-section of a tire with an exclamation mark in the center.

2. The second is a top-view graphic image of a car that indicates which tires are low.

TPMS Location
Parts of TPMS Sensor
TPMS Parts
Metal or Rubber?

There are two different types of rebuild kits available, one with rubber valve stems and one with metal valve stems. To determine which Rebuild Kit is correct for your vehicle, you'll need to look at the valve stem that's currently installed. If it's rubber, you'll need the rubber valve stem rebuild kit. If it's metal, you'll need the metal one.

TPMS Metal Valve and Rubber Valve
Maintenance and Replacement

Over time, TPMS components can degrade, affecting sensor operation. In order for the system to operate at peak performance, parts may need to be replaced.

Batteries and TPMS

The battery in the tire pressure sensors are non-replaceable and have a service life of approximately 7-10 years or 150,000 miles.

Tire Sealant

The use of a tire sealant may clog the tire pressure sensor. If it is rendered inoperative, the sensor may need to be replaced.

Additional Sensors Available

We have additional sensors that can be put on alternate tires if needed. Avoid installation and labor issues by having an extra set of sensors for use.

Stand-Alone Kits

If a vehicle does not have an original-equipment system, one can be installed. This stand-alone TPMS kit includes a dash-mounted display and wheel-mounted transmitters that fit most wheel applications.

Air Pressure Maintenance

While TPMS systems offer increased safety to drivers through low pressure warnings, they are not meant to be a substitute for proper tire pressure maintenance. Both the NHTSA and the AAM urge drivers to check their tire pressure at least once a month and always prior to a long trip.
Be sure to read our article on the importance of correct air pressure as well for even more in-depth information.

How TPMS Works

Tire pressure is monitored through one of two methods: direct or indirect. Direct TPMS monitors the actual air pressure inside each tire via a sensor mounted within the tire. Indirect TPMS measures tire pressure by monitoring the speed and rotation of each individual wheel. When a significant variation in speed and rotation is detected in one or more wheels when compared with the others, it is often an indication of underinflation. This information is then transmitted to the vehicle's on-board computer, and the driver is alerted.

TPMS Car Schematic

Even though TPMS has only recently become standard for all vehicles, a number of older models already have them installed. Approximately 20 percent of 2006 vehicle models came pre-equipped with TPMS, and that number increased to 70 percent in the 2007 model year. If you are unaware if your vehicle has TPMS installed, check your vehicle owner's manual. If you don't presently have TPMS on your vehicle, we can help. Discount Tire offers TPMS sensor kits for virtually all vehicles on the road, TPMS rebuild kits, and retrofit kits for vehicles not factory equipped with a TPMS system. We will be happy to install them for you as well. Be sure to visit your local Discount Tire location and inquire about our TPMS kits.


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