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January 15, 2010


Well, I gotta disagree with you, George. I think the TPMS is great. Especially on cars like my wife's car which has no spare tire - not even a donut. In my experience, the typical nail/screw puncture will leak slowly enough that a tire fixing place can be found before one finds themself in the middle of nowhere. Sure, checking tire pressure with a guage every day (or at every town you pass through on a road trip) would do the same thing as TPMS but who does that? And with low-profile tires one can't just eyeball the tires to detect a soft one anymore. The TPMS has proved to me that it works. Well, so far at least.

I had to laugh! We bought a new car in 2009 and the tire pressure monitor has been on almost from day one!

-- Les, your wife's car must have run-flat tires. If so, when they deflate there's a limit to how much farther they can travel, then you buy new ones. As for the others, a very effective low-tech flat tire prevention system is to inject a sealant. Unfortunately, it will clog the TPMS. Good point about the low profile tires, but what exactly is the purpose of those, anyway? I've got them, but so far I've yet to see their virtue.

-- Lisa, the monitor on your car certainly doesn't seem to be doing you any favors, but at least you are in good spirits about it. If your tires are properly inflated and the monitor is still on then it may be time to revisit the dealer. Good luck and keep smiling.

P.S. Last year I had a chat with a man who works at a car rental maintenance center at a large airport, and he mentioned that TPMS has caused them big headaches. On one model the tires have to be inflated in a certain order to keep the alert from coming on.

No run-flats on the car... just a tiny air compressor and a can of goop in the trunk. And goop can get you out of a bind, but only if you find the leaky tire before it gets so low it's ruined. As for low-profile tires, well I suppose they're supposed to look good but in my opinion they just cost more and ride worse. I guess they do handle well, though. Run-flats ride even worse still and they handle poorly.

I do agree that TPMS systems can be a headache when faulty. But I still think the idea is a good one. So, there.

(Free tip: Pick up a Dyna-Plug kit at Harbor Freight. I've had good experience repairing minor punctures with the kit.)

I'm putting Dyna-Plug on my shopping list right now!

Whoa whoa! Is goop a sealant? Sealants will clog a TPMS transmitter. That was the whole point of this post, however rambling it was.

If goop is a sealant and someone is claiming that it won't damage the TPMS I would like to hear more about it.

All I know is, Mazda supplies the goop, the compressor and the TPMS sensors. And, in the owner's manual it states "A tire that has been temporarily repaired with the tire sealant cannot be reused." So, obviously I don't want to use the goop except as a last resort.

The manual makes no mention of how the goop might affect the TMPS sensor but you'd certainly think it would not be good for it, huh?

What's the "low tech way of getting the driver's attention"? Is it something you notice before the tire goes so flat that you have to stop immediately? I bet my wife wouldn't. (But don't tell her I said that.)

The low tech attention getter is the "blup, blup, blup" noise a flat tire makes when someone tries to drive on it. Unfortunately, it's a simultaneous warning, not an early warning.

Here's a thought: buy a spare tire and join AAA so someone else can some change it.

My SUV has TPMS. It took a little while for me to get used to it b/c every time the weather changed my car would beep at me constantly. I get it, cold air changes tire pressure, etc. but it's a PITA ([email protected]$$) here in West Texas when it's not unlikely for the day to start out in the 20's and end in the 60's. Of the dozen or so times my monitor has gone off ONE of them has been an actual problem. I had a nail in my tire pressumably thanks to all of the roofing going on around town. I was glad that I had it checked out but honestly, it goes off so often that I don't bother to check all of the time.

MSigler -- yeah, PITA exactly!

My gripe is that store bought sealant can't be used in tires with TPMS. A sealant will close a puncture wound. So TPMS was a high tech solution for a problem that already had a low tech solution which worked better.

Thanks for this wonderful blog. It really aroused my interest to go over and read it again. Your article conveys to the knowledgeable minds of the readers.

You should also check your tire tread for uneven wear. Irregular wear shortens the life of your tires, if you think you have uneven wear you should take you vehicle to your tire dealer.

I asked my dealer wither or not that can of sealant that came with my wife's Cruze would hurt sensor and he said no..I told him to put that in writing and he refused..

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