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Will my tire pressure monitoring system work all year? Add to ...

TPMS trouble

I just purchased a 2011 Honda Accord EX with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System. When it comes time to install my winter tires – now mounted on steel rims – I understand the TPMS will not work and the malfunction light will show on the dash. Short of purchasing new special rims with TPMS sensors, will it cause me any problems to run with the TPMS not functioning for five or so months? – Owen

The only problem will be the sight of the warning light.

Your alternatives are to swap the winter tires on to the wheels that came with the car, utilizing those sensors or, assuming the mounted winter tires you have are on wheels that fit the new Accord, buy an aftermarket sensors setup.

If you choose the latter route, remember that there are two types of TPMS systems: direct and indirect. The direct versions monitor and measure the pressure within each tire, sending that information via a transmitter to a receiver and dashboard display.

The indirect systems utilize the ABS/ESC/Traction Control sensors to monitor wheel speed. If a tire loses pressure it will shrink in overall size and rotate at a different speed than the others. ABS systems work by wheel speed, sensing when a wheel slows more than the others, i.e., is about to lock up, and ESC (Electronic Stability Control) systems, sensing when a wheel speeds up, i.e., spins. Indirect TPMS system utilize this same wheel speed information.

Do you have car maintenance or repair questions? E-mail us: globedrive@globeandmail.com

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