Run Flat Indicators - Can they save you money?

Run Flat Indicators - Can they save you money?

A tire pressure monitoring system (AKA run flat indicators) tell you when your tires' pressure is too low. Now that it's after September 1st, 2007, all light motor vehicals sold in the US have to have some kind of Tire Pressure Monitor (TPM).

The Run Flat indicators only warn you when you're running at 25% - 30% below the minimum PSI. At this point Fuel efficiency is certainly a factor, but so is your safety! Your load capacity is reduced with lower pressure, so if your running near full load on your vehical, you can't rely on your TPM!

Two types of Monitors

  1. Direct - Pressure Sensors are inside the tires, and transmit a signal to the in car receiver.
  2. Indirect - Uses tire rotation speed information to tell if tires hav different inflation levels. This method is cheap, but is much less accurate.

Does a tire pressure monitor improve Safety?

Yes! According to a study from 1999 by the NHTSA, 247 people died in car accidents caused by underinflated tires. These monitors should save the majority of those lives.

Bottom Line - Cost effective?

With the standard warning levels comming at such dramatic under inflation levels (25-30%), I fear that people will come to rely on their TPM's instead of checking themselves regularly. Then they will let their tires get severly under inflated regularly, thinking they are doing the right thing. From a fuel efficiency point of view, you want to make sure your tire isn't more than 10% underinflated. It's not cost effective to pay to have a TPM installed after market, and the costs of relying on one could turn out to be much greater. I'm not saying TPM's are bad, I think the concept is great. I hope they develope to the point where the warning can be accurate at less than 10% underinflation, which would save you some money in gas, and save the country Billions. That's right, Billions. The Transport Research Board (TRB) estimates that Americas waste 1.2 Billion Gallons of gas due to underinflation!

Author Notes:

David Parker contributes and publishes news editorial to

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