Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Leo asks: This is not really a question. Just a statement of fact. I have a 2007 GMC Envoy with 240K miles, also a 2013 Tahoe with about a 100K miles. Both have tire pressure sensors. The readings on the sensors never agree with the actual readings (with a gauge) and on the Envoy the sensor says Right Rear but the one that is off is the Left Front. I do not rely on the sensors. Nobody should. I don’t know how the sensors are supposed to work. Do you?
My reply: You’re not alone! Would you believe that many of the brand-new cars I test drive have faulty tire pressure sensors, too?
The systems are much more elaborate – pressure is measured (imputed) as a function of wheel speed – so, there are more potential failure points – than a simple mechanical stick gauge, which measures pressure directly.
But, manually. You have to actually get out of the car and check, yourself.
Many people don’t.
Thanks to the Ford Explorer/Firestone tire fiasco of the ’90s, all new vehicles built have the TPMS – to address the problem of people not checking their tires and driving around on under-inflated tires.
Which, in my opinion, has increased the problem of under-inflated tires because many people no longer bother to check the air pressure in each tire manually to confirm the figure is within spec. Many people – me among them – ignore the TPMS warning light in the dash because we’ve grown used to it being a false alarm.
The problem there, of course, is that sometimes it isn’t.
And now we have a new problem. Created by a complex, failure prone (and expensive to fix) “solution” to a simple problem.
Which, of course, is the sort of thing the government does best.
Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
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