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Don't ignore tire pressure dashboard alert

Published On: Feb 16 2012 10:37:03 AM CST
Updated On: Sep 14 2012 12:45:33 PM CDT
car tires in auto showroom

iStock/webphotographeer

(NewsUSA) - Beginning with the 2008 model year, tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) are now standard on all new cars in the United States, but many drivers don't know about them. Often, drivers are first introduced to TPMS when the icon on their dashboard illuminates, signaling that the air pressure in one or more tires is low -- potentially dangerously low.

On average, underinflated tires are responsible for nearly 700 vehicle crashes every day. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that, when all passenger vehicles are equipped with TPMS, the number of annual motor vehicle crash fatalities will decrease by about 120, and the annual number of injuries due to motor vehicle crashes will decrease by about 8,500.

To help raise awareness about TPMS and the importance of proper tire pressure, Schrader, the pioneer and leading manufacturer of tire pressure monitoring systems, has created TPMSMadeSimple.com. This comprehensive site offers drivers key facts about TPMS, including how it enhances vehicle safety and why it is now mandatory on all U.S. vehicles. In addition to safety information, drivers can also find out how much money they can save with properly inflated tires and how proper inflation helps the environment.

If your car is equipped with TPMS, the light will come on when one or more of your tires are at least 25 percent below the recommended inflation pressure. When this happens, take caution and:

* Find a safe place to pull off to check your tire pressure. Keep a tire gauge with your set of emergency items in your vehicle.

* If the light comes on while driving at highway speed, immediately grab hold of the steering wheel with both hands in case you are experiencing a blow-out (rapid deflation) scenario. Slowly decelerate to a safe speed and find a safe place to pull off to check your tire pressure.

* Once checked, if the tires all appear normal, proceed with caution to have your tire pressure checked and filled to the proper tire pressure. This can be done at a gas station or tire service center.

* If needed, have the problem tire or tires and the TPMS system serviced at your nearest tire service center.

The TPMS light should go off within several minutes of driving on the repaired or re-inflated tires.

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