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Understanding Indirect Tire Pressure Monitoring System

In the realm of automotive safety, tire pressure monitoring stands as a crucial aspect. Specifically, the Indirect Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) plays a vital role. This blog delves into the nuances of indirect TPMS, offering valuable insights for both car enthusiasts and everyday drivers.

Indirect Tire Pressure Monitoring System

What is an Indirect Tire Pressure Monitoring System?

An Indirect Tire Pressure Monitoring System is a sophisticated technology designed to monitor tire pressure using the vehicle’s anti-lock braking system (ABS) sensors. Unlike direct TPMS which uses sensors inside the tires, indirect TPMS calculates tire pressure based on the rate of tire rotation.

How Does Indirect Tire Pressure Monitoring System Work?

The Indirect Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) stands as a pivotal innovation in vehicle safety, ensuring that tire pressures are consistently monitored. Unlike its direct counterpart, the indirect TPMS operates without pressure sensors in each tire. This system plays a crucial role in maintaining optimal tire pressure, which is essential for safe driving conditions, tire longevity, and fuel efficiency.

How Indirect Tire Pressure Monitoring System Functions

Indirect TPMS works ingeniously by utilizing the vehicle’s existing anti-lock braking system (ABS) sensors. These sensors are primarily designed to monitor the speed of each wheel. The core principle behind indirect TPMS is relatively straightforward: a tire with reduced pressure will have a slightly smaller diameter compared to a fully inflated tire. Consequently, this underinflated tire will rotate at a faster rate.

When the system detects a wheel spinning faster than others, it interprets this as a sign of reduced tire pressure. The vehicle’s onboard computer processes this data and alerts the driver through a warning light on the dashboard. This prompt notification enables the driver to take appropriate action, either by checking the tire pressure manually or visiting a service center.

Advantages of Indirect TPMS

Cost-Effectiveness: Indirect TPMS is generally less expensive than direct TPMS because it uses existing ABS sensors, avoiding the need for additional hardware.

Maintenance Simplicity: With no sensors in the tires, there’s no need for sensor maintenance or replacement due to battery life concerns, which is a common issue in direct TPMS.

Ease of Installation: Since the indirect tire pressure monitoring system integrates with the existing ABS system, it is less complex to install in vehicles that already have ABS.

Limitations to Consider

However, indirect TPMS is not without its limitations:

  • Less Precision: It may not be as accurate as direct TPMS, especially in cases where all tires lose pressure uniformly.
  • Calibration Requirement: The system requires recalibration after inflating tires or changing tire sizes.
  • Delayed Response: There can be a delay in detection, especially if the tire pressure decreases gradually.

Comparing Indirect and Direct TPMS

While both systems aim to monitor tire pressure, they have distinct differences. Direct TPMS provides real-time, specific pressure readings for each tire, but it’s more expensive and maintenance-intensive. In contrast, indirect TPMS is cost-effective and low-maintenance but less precise.

Installation and Maintenance

Most modern vehicles equipped with ABS also have indirect TPMS. Installation involves integrating the system with the vehicle’s electronic stability control (ESC) and ABS. Maintenance primarily involves regular system calibration, typically after changing tires or adjusting tire pressure.

Calibration Tips

Regular calibration ensures the system’s accuracy. Here’s how you can recalibrate your indirect TPMS:

1. Start with Correct Tire Pressure

  • Check Pressure Regularly: Ensure all tires, including the spare, are inflated to the recommended level.
  • Use a Reliable Gauge: Invest in a quality tire pressure gauge for accurate readings.

2. Resetting the Indirect Tire Pressure Monitoring System

  • Locate the Reset Button: Usually found under the steering wheel or within the vehicle settings.
  • Follow the Manufacturer’s Instructions: Refer to the vehicle’s manual for specific steps.

3. Driving for Calibration

  • Drive at Recommended Speed: Some systems require driving at a certain speed for calibration.
  • Maintain Consistent Driving Conditions: Avoid sudden stops or accelerations during this phase.

4. Regular Maintenance Checks

  • Schedule Regular Inspections: Include TPMS checks during routine vehicle maintenance.
  • Be Alert to System Warnings: Address any TPMS warnings promptly.

5. Dealing with Seasonal Changes

  • Adjust for Temperature Variations: Remember, the Indirect tire pressure monitoring system can change with the weather. Check and recalibrate with seasonal changes.

6. Consider Professional Assistance

  • Seek Expert Help When Needed: If you’re unsure, it’s always safe to consult a professional.

Importance in Vehicle Safety

The role of TPMS in vehicle safety cannot be overstated. Proper tire inflation is crucial for:

  • Optimal vehicle handling.
  • Reduced tire wear.
  • Improved fuel efficiency.
  • Enhanced safety on the road.

An indirect TPMS aids in maintaining the right tire pressure, thereby contributing to overall road safety.


Understanding and using an Indirect Tire Pressure Monitoring System is a step towards safer driving. While it may not provide detailed data of direct TPMS, its ease of use, cost-effectiveness, and maintenance benefits make it a valuable feature for any vehicle.

Embrace this technology to not only safeguard your journeys but also to ensure optimal vehicle performance and tire longevity.