Tyre safety charity TyreSafe has raised concerns over the “skyrocketing” failure rates of vehicles fitted with high-tech Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS), and the implications it has for road safety. The latest data showed that more than 23,000 vehicles required a retest following identification of TPMS issues in 2016 compared with a little over 7000 in 2015 - an enormous rise of 212 percent hike.
Pitched as a safety feature to help reduce the number of vehicles being driven with tyre pressures significantly – even dangerously – below the recommended settings, TPMS became mandatory on all new passenger vehicles sold since 1 November 2014.
When a vehicle’s tyre loses pressure it not only become more difficult to control, increasing the risk of an incident, but also consume more fuel and wear its tyres out more quickly. TPMS notifies the driver to a change in tyre pressure by illuminating a warning light on the dashboard and, in some cases, sounding an audible alert, offering the driver the opportunity to rectify the issue.
Since 1 January 2015, all vehicles first used after 1 January 2012 and equipped with a manufacturer-fitted TPMS must have a functioning system to pass its MOT. TyreSafe said it had expected the widespread introduction of the technology to lead to an increase in test failures in 2016 as the number of cars suitably equipped rose. However, it has said that the rise in failures due to TPMS defects - more than treble - was unexpected.
Commenting on the issue, Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe chairman, said: “TPMS adds significantly to general tyre safety making it easy for the driver to know if their pressures aren’t at the right level when out on the road. But, clearly, even though Britain’s motorists are being warned there’s a safety issue they’re choosing to ignore it.
“Regrettably, this leap in MoT failures due to TPMS defects underlines that a poor attitude to tyre safety is not an issue exclusively associated with older vehicles. TyreSafe urges motorists to put tyre safety higher up their list of driving priorities and check their tyres and TPMS are in roadworthy condition.”