Tire pressure systems keep getting better

Tire pressure systems have become a mandatory element in all types of vehicles, there are even versions for motorcycles. A system that combines pressure gauges and transmitters so that we always circulate with the right pressure on our wheels.

 

One of the main causes of accidents related to the mechanics of the vehicle has to do with the pressure of the tires. Inadequate pressure can lead to problems such as lack of grip, deterioration of the tires causing structural failure in the tires or, even worse, an unforeseen blowout related to too little or too much pressure.

To avoid these problems, all passenger cars sold since November 1, 2014 are required to have a tire pressure monitoring system installed. This system can work as well as the best pressure gauge ( here you can find some options to buy )  that we can buy in the market, having the additional advantage of offering an approach that does not require our intervention, so that we do not have to stop. , remove plugs and check the pressure with a pressure gauge, but the system takes care of everything, showing possible anomalies in this regard on the control panel.

 

 

 

How does it work

The operation of these systems is relatively simple. The key is found in the sensors on the wheel itself, either in the area of ​​the rim, in the area of ​​the tread or attached to the inflation valve itself. In all these cases, the sensor continuously records the tire pressure level and transfers that information to the central unit via a radio signal. Something that allows the sensor to hardly use energy in the process, also saving us all the corresponding wiring.

As an alternative to this system, there is an indirect method to measure that proper pressure. Specifically, this measurement mode considers the diameter of the wheel as an indicator of a correct pressure or not, based on the theory that a well inflated wheel will have a certain diameter, while if the wheel has a pressure lower than the recommended , that diameter will be smaller. This allows the ABS system sensors to be used to verify if any wheel is turning more than normal, due to its smaller diameter, thus triggering an alarm to verify the affected tire.

In both cases, the signals obtained are sent to the central computer of the vehicle and processed continuously. In the event of a tire pressure failure, an alarm is triggered on the vehicle’s dashboard screen. In the first models a generic alarm was presented, but nowadays it is common for the vehicle to expressly tell us which wheel has problems, so that we do not waste time checking them all.

 

The problems of the first systems

Fortunately, in the five years that this technology has been in operation, both the sensors and the rest of the elements involved in the system have improved considerably. Something that drivers appreciate, since in the first models with this system it was not surprising that false alerts were produced due to sensor failures or improper placement of the same.

However, for this kind of individualized pressure gauge to function correctly, it is still necessary that the sensors are correctly installed and communicate properly with the central unit. Something that has also been resolved in the latest designs of these devices, which may even present the pressure of each of the wheels on the screen, although in the more advanced models.

What has not been resolved yet are some frequent problems that can appear with the use of the system. Among them we have the depletion of batteries, which last from 3 to 7 years. The problem is that the battery is soldered to the system, which forces to change the sensor. A sensor that can also be damaged by a curb or by improper treatment of the wheel and tire assembly during maintenance operations. Finally, it is possible that other problems such as frequency inhibitors or a battery change end up generating these false alarms. Something that, hopefully, can be solved in the future with advances in technology.

 

 

 

New designs, both for motorcycles and cars

So far we have talked about this system for passenger cars, but the truth is that motorcycle users also have an important help here when riding. Perhaps even more important than in cars, since the surface that a motorcycle has in contact with the ground is even less. Among these systems is the so-called Fit2Go, launched by Michelin.

This system reproduces the approach we have already mentioned, using small manometers strategically placed in special caps to measure the pressures. These plugs are responsible for constantly measuring the pressure and communicating with the central unit, to know at the moment the pressure level, as well as the possible anomalies that may occur. And it is that the system also activates the alarm when the pressure drops 25% below the recommended pressure, when the temperature of the wheel increases more than usual or when there is a sudden drop in pressure. 

All these alerts are displayed on an LCD screen with magnetic mount and a compact size, making it easy to place the system directly on the handlebar and always have it in view. A display that is recharged by USB, while in the caps we have batteries with a duration of about 3 to 5 years.

As an alternative to the traditional pressure gauge, and for all types of vehicles, Michelin also offers a kind of small, easy-to-use pressure gauge key ring. It is enough to use the specific caps that come with the product to directly measure the pressure of our tires, without the need to remove these caps. A keychain that uses NFC technology to deliver the results. As for its price, it is around 45 euros.

 

 

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