Frequently asked questions about the TPMS

What is TPMS?
TPMS is an abbreviation for Tyre Pressure Monitoring System.

To which vehicles does the EU regulation on TPMS apply?
According to the EU regulation 661/2009, all vehicles that have received type approval after November 2012, as well as all new vehicles sold after November 2014, must have a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). The regulation does not apply to the owners of old vehicles, which means that if a vehicle did not have a pressure monitoring system when it was registered for use in traffic, you do not need to install such a system later.

What is the purpose of the regulation on TPMS?
The new regulations aim to improve traffic safety and to control fuel consumption. Tyre pressure has a significant effect on the vehicle's handling characteristics and the service life of tyres.

How does the TPMS system work?
As its name indicates, the purpose of the system is to monitor tyre pressure, which decreases emissions from vehicles and increases safety. The system will notify the driver if the pressure in a tyre decreases more than 20% from the vehicle- and tyre-specific default, or when the tyre pressure drops under 1.5 bar at the latest. This allows the driver to stop safely in time to prevent potentially dangerous situations.

The EU regulation in itself does not determine if the TPMS system should be a so-called active (separate pressure sensors inside each tyre) or passive (based on the interpretation of the vehicle's ABS system on the changes in the tyre's rotation speed) system. The most important thing is that the system must fulfil all of the EU regulation's requirements. The vehicle manufacturers will make the decision on which system to use.

How do I know if my vehicle has a pressure monitoring system that complies with the EU regulation?
The easiest way to verify the existence of the system is to check when the vehicle was manufactured (see section “To which vehicles does the EU regulation on TPMS apply?”) and the warning lights on the dashboard. If a separate TPMS symbol shows on the dashboard when the vehicle is started, the vehicle most likely has a system in accordance with the EU regulation. When the vehicle is started, its central processing unit checks the functioning of the system. If the tyre pressures are fine and the system functions correctly, the warning light will go out a few seconds after starting the vehicle.

How much do pressure monitoring systems cost?
Vehicles within the scope of the EU regulation already have the pressure monitoring system installed at the factory, and it has been included in the vehicle's purchase price. If the vehicle has an active pressure monitoring system (separate pressure sensors inside each tyre), the vehicle's owner must also purchase separate sensors for the winter tyres in order to ensure that the pressure monitoring system also functions in the winter.

The quality and price of the sensors on the market varies a great deal. At the moment, the biggest sensor manufacturers are American, European, and Asian, and their product selection includes both OE (parts from the original equipment manufacturer) and aftermarket sensors. At the moment, the price range for the sensors on the market is €50–250/sensor.

In the future, can I change my tyres myself?
You can still change the tyres seasonally for summer or winter yourself because there will not be any changes in the actual removal and fitting of tyres.

However, it is good to know that if the vehicle has a pressure monitoring system (this applies in particular to the active systems = separate pressure sensors inside each tyre), the TPMS warning light may remain lit after the seasonal change of tyres. This may happen, for example, because the central processing unit of the vehicle model in question requires that the new sensors are “retaught” after a seasonal tyre change using a diagnostics tool. In that case, consulting a professional is recommended to ensure that the pressure monitoring system is functioning correctly.

Based on current information, most new vehicles will identify the new sensors themselves, and the central processing unit will automatically reset the fault situation after about 15 to 20 minutes of driving.

How is compliance with the regulation monitored?
Based on current information, if the pressure monitoring system is not functional (the TPMS warning light on the dashboard is lit), this will constitute grounds for rejecting the vehicle at the annual inspection.