TPMS - Tire Pressure Monitoring System
As we were slowly emerging out of winter (at least around my parts) I had decided to post a few pictures of the TPMS system I had installed last fall. In reality I did not really get to use it that much because at the time I had installed the sensors on the OEM wheels and not on my winter wheels.
Here's the link to the eBay direct TPMS system:
Why this system?
This is a direct system in that it is superior to many systems that some cars come equipped with. It monitors each wheel independently and on top of it all, allows you to set the pressure thresholds as well as temperature. For those of us who like to keep a good eye on the tire pressure, this is a must have system !!!
So what happens when the pressure on one tire goes below the threshold limit you set (say 39psi) ?? The unit 's backlight goes ON and the unit will start producing a beeping noise. You pull over and you'll see that the offending tire is blinking at twice the normal rate. It is that simple.
Perhaps the most involved step in setting up your vehicle to use this system is the installation of the sensors on your wheels. For this you may want to take your OEM wheels to your favorite shop or dealership. In my case, I had the tires removed from the rims at a tire shop... and I brought them all back home with me in that state which gave me a chance to properly secure the sensors on the rims. Then when I was done with the sensor mounting, I took the rims and tires back to the shop and had them mount the tires and balance each wheel. In total, the tire shop costs came to about $60 (CND).
This weekend however, the temps were a little more agreeable and I decided I had enough of the noisier winter wheels (sporting Michelin X-ICE tires). So I placed the OEM wheels back on and snapped these pics. As you can tell from the registered tire temperatures (1C or 31F) it was not too warm either.
Please excuse the quality of these pics. These were taken in an overcast day and inside the garage. As you can tell, the lighting is lacking.
Here's a perspective of the unit as seen from the passenger's view. The recommended mounting location for this unit was the windshield. Somehow that did not sit well with me, so I decided to mount it here on the lower console.
However, as you notice, I had alot more stuff there already. Everything from a power delivery standpoint to USB hub for the various devices (IPOD, bluetooth gizmos, etc) to my PDA GPS mount, so placing the TPMS unit there was not only logical, it was also very convenient.
The picture above kind of sorts out the mess a little so as to show what is minimally required for accommodating the monitoring console. Only two wires are required, the Accessories signal (+ve) and the 4pin TPMS cable which taps on to the 12V full time power rail.
In the following picture you'll see the crude aluminum plate I adapted to the rear of the TPMS unit. It is very thin so it does have negligible impact on the sensors' signals. The rear of the unit has two adhesive pads and the plate is securily glued there. What you see at the top of the plate (the flange) is actually a large velcro surface that will mate to its counterpart on the outer lip of upper cubby-hole (where I usually have my sun-glasses). The bulky black strip along the middle of the unit is some rubberized foam that will cushion the unit for a better fit it its final position.
A simple view of the front of the TPMS console unit.
This is a view of the unit installed in position and in operation.
So, what do I think of this mod? Is it any good?
First of all, it is piece of mind. Not only from a safety point of view but also from a fuel economy perspective. Also for the price, I find it superior to other higher priced TPMS systems and definetely a hands down winner compared to the OEM TPMS system the Prius come with. For $160 (including wheel installation) it is simply unbeatable.
My verdict is that it is well worth it and highly recommended... at least for those folks who would like to stay ahead of the legislated TPMS safety requirements about to hit us soon.