The correct tire pressure of a vehicle is not only of enormous significance for driving safety but also lowers fuel consumption and tire wear. In addition, the correct tire pressure helps to reduce harmful emissions, such as carbon dioxide. Nevertheless, the tire pressure in approximately 64% of all passenger cars and 75% of all trucks on the roads is too low. Rarely does a vehicle owner regularly check the pressure of his tires at a gas station.
However, this will very soon no longer be necessary. This year, systems for monitoring tire pressure are gradually becoming compulsory throughout Europe. The reason behind this is an EU regulation under which all new vehicle models and all new registered vehicles must be fitted with suitable monitoring systems from November 1, 2012, and November 1, 2014, respectively. The introduction of this rule is welcomed by specialists. “It makes sense because the driver is automatically informed about the air pressure. This does away with the need for the complicated measurement process at gas stations,” says Hans-Ulrich Sander, an engineer at TÜV Rheinland.
Continental offers innovative tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), which facilitate an immediate and precise pressure measurement. This is achieved by means of radio sensors, which record the air pressure and temperature directly on the tire in any driving situation and at any speed. The driver is immediately informed of a pressure loss by means of warning lamps. Here, the tire valve acts as a radio antenna.
Continental is convinced that the immediate, active pressure measurement will gain widespread acceptance in contrast to the indirect procedures. The latter do not measure the pressure directly; instead, they evaluate the information by means of wheel sensors. Looking to the USA, it becomes clear that direct tire pressure measurement represents a promising variant. Direct TPMS have been firmly established on the market there since 2005.
Continental’s product brand VDO offers everything to do with servicing tires fitted with pressure monitoring systems. The product range includes, among other things, TPMS spare sensors as well as suitable service kits and is constantly being expanded. VDO also offers a suitable diagnostic device in the form of the ContiSys Check TPMS, which can read out the sensor data directly and wirelessly. Continental has already met with success on the North American market with the VDO REDI-Sensor. This sensor replaces the manufacturer-specific sensors of the different vehicles, and thus helps to reduce the high number of variants. Comparable solutions will be available in Europe in the future.