Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems and Winter Tires

Black ice is a hazard here on Vancouver Island and the best defence is a good set of winter tires. They are designed to help hold the road better than M+S rated all season tires and it's now time to find a set for my wife's Honda CR-V. I'm fortunate to be able to afford what I want, so it was off to Honda for a set of steel wheels, Consumer Reports for the best tire choices and then the retailers for the best price. I thought that I had it all wrapped up until I remembered the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).

TPMS is important to help call tire inflation problems to my attention if they change before I find it with my tire gauge. Poor inflation can affect traction, the tendency to hydroplane, fuel economy and tire life. Let tire pressure fall too low and the tire can destroy itself or fail suddenly, resulting in a collision. I opened my web browser and searched on TPMS and winter tires. The results told me that I could buy a second set of modules and pay the dealer to have the vehicle's computer reset every time I changed the tires and wheels as the car's computer can only manage the 4 sensors that it has been told about.

If your vehicle uses the anti-lock brake system (ABS) to sense tire pressure instead of a module in each wheel, this situation will not apply. You may change your tires and wheels and the system will continue to function without having to be adjusted. Check your owner's manual or contact the dealership for more information if you are unsure of which system your vehicle uses.

Some articles complained about traction control and vehicle stability systems being negatively affected if the TPMS modules were not present and functioning properly. This is not the case according to my Honda dealer. The worst thing that I will have to put up with is the tire pressure warning light shining brightly until I put the original wheels back on again. Rather than do that, I bought the modules and am shopping for a reset tool.

Reference Links:

Comments

Tire monitors

Thanks Tim for the info on winter tires. I am getting my winter tires, c/w winter wheels and sensors, installed on Monday morning. As for yourself, I drive a lot of miles in the winter conditions especially into the northern interior of our province. With all of the safety equipment on vehicles today, I think it is important that all drivers/vehicle owners take the time to ensure that their vehicles are ready for winter. The most modern technology has no value if the driver doesn't do his part to use the new technology properly. Safe travels.

Submitted by E-Mail

The first car I owned had a crank start as a back up. No need to worry about a battery failing, or a starter frying for that matter.

My first experience with "improvements" was in 1963. Four of us in a convertible all decided to put up the power windows at the same time. B=Instantly blew the fuse with the windows still down, just as an Ontario thunderstorm/ downpour began.

I have distrusted "power options" ever since.

On the other hand : in 2006, in Anchorage, we rented a car, just as the dealership was closing for the night. Headed out of town to one of Glaciers. Shortly after we left town , a weird light came on on the dash. We pulled over and my wife rummaged through the glove box for the car manual. Apparently, it was a low tire warning. And, apparently we could re-inflate it at the push of a button. I checked the tire, and found no obvious major damage, splits or bulges, so we trundled on our way, stopping every 10-15 k to reinflate.

So, I guess there is a time and place for SOME technology. But I would HATE to see some of this stuff MANDATORY. When it inevitably fails, Murphy's Law will prevail, and it will be at the worst time, and in the worst place, and there will be no back up (crank) .

Dollars and sense, or like that.

While it makes nothing but sense to purchase new (or used) rims for your winter tires (thus avoiding the annual cost of removal and reinsallation of each season's set, including mounting and balancing, along with the hassle of trying to get into your local dealership to get the winter tires installed, just when everyone else is doing the same thing), the vehicle owner should not be in a position where they have to spend additional money on tire pressure monitoring systems for the new wheels.

Tire pressure monitoring was made mandatory as a consequence of the Firestone/Ford Explorer debacle some years back; the tires that were specified for the vehicle, and the recommended pressures, were inadequate - particularly for the vehicle owner who failed to regularly check their tires (daily walkaround, weekly pressure check being a wise choice).

In a typical scenario, a rear tire would fail when the vehicle was loaded up with kids and luggage, then they all headed down the highway on vacation.  Sustained higher speeds along with heavier vehicle loading and lower than recommended pressure (due to negligence) would trigger a blowout due to excessive flexing of the tire's sidewall; inability on the part of the driver to keep control would then cause catastrophic consequences.  The multi-million dollar lawsuits continue to this day, if I'm not mistaken.

But something as simple as a nail in the tire tread can cause a pressure loss, and it may not be apparent, as this may be gradual.  You can look at 'em every day, check the pressure with a gauge every week, but this doesn't guarantee that a blowout due to loss of pressure can't occur.  Having a functional TPMS system would be far more likely to draw attention to the problem.

Unless, of course, you've decided to drive the car while ignoring some warning light on the dashboard, eh?

 

 

Maybe it's $ and no Sense?

I ordered the sensors from Honda. $58/wheel

Costco promises faithfully that they will reset the system for me at no charge if I buy my winter tires from them.

I ordered the tires too.

I feel better now. :-)

Submitted by E-Mail

The first car I owned had a crank start as a back up. No need to worry about a battery failing, or a starter frying for that matter.

My first experience with "improvements" was in 1963. Four of us in a convertible all decided to put up the power windows at the same time. B=Instantly blew the fuse with the windows still down, just as an Ontario thunderstorm/ downpour began.

I have distrusted "power options" ever since.

On the other hand : in 2006, in Anchorage, we rented a car, just as the dealership was closing for the night. Headed out of town to one of Glaciers. Shortly after we left town , a weird light came on on the dash. We pulled over and my wife rummaged through the glove box for the car manual.

Apparently, it was a low tire warning. And, apparently we could re-inflate it at the push of a button.

I checked the tire, and found no obvious major damage, splits or bulges, so we trundled on our way, stopping every 10-15 k to reinflate.

So, I guess there is a time and place for SOME technology. But I would HATE to see some of this stuff MANDATORY. When it inevitably fails, Murphy's Law will prevail, and it will be at the worst time, and in the worst place, and there will be no back up (crank) .

Just my $ 0.02

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