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Belleville drivers may know that all 2008 model year and newer cars, mini-vans and light trucks in Belleville come with a tire pressure monitoring system. Many slightly older vehicles around St. Louis have these systems as well. A tire pressure monitoring system – called TPMS – consists of sensors on each wheel that measure tire pressure.

If tire pressure drops 25 percent below the auto maker’s recommended pressure, the sensor sends a signal to a monitoring unit that causes a warning to light up on the dashboard. When St. Louis drivers see the warning light, they know it’s time to put some air in the tires.

There are many benefits to driving with properly inflated tires around Belleville. First is cost savings. Running at the correct air pressure improves gas mileage. Driving on under-inflated tires is like driving through sand – it drags down your fuel gas mileage. You’ll also see longer, more even tread wear so your tires’ll last longer.

Another important benefit of properly inflated tires is increased safety. Under-inflated tires become hotter and that heat can actually lead to tire failure – possibly resulting in an accident. Your car and the tires themselves will just perform better and more safely around Belleville with properly inflated tires.

Local Belleville consumer groups, law-makers and auto manufacturers advocate TPMS systems hoping that they will save lives, property damage and inconvenience. While you can’t put a value on saving a life, Belleville drivers should keep in mind that TPMS systems aren't free.

The systems themselves are added into the price of the car. The batteries in the sensors will have to be replaced from time to time. Parts will break and need to be replaced. In colder climates around Illinois, ice and salt are frequent causes of failure.

In addition, there are other behind-the-scenes costs to be aware of. Every time a tire is replaced, repaired, rotated or balanced, the tire technician has to deal with the TPMS system.

Belleville service centers such as Stock's Underhood Specialists Inc. must purchase equipment used to scan and reactivate the TPMS system after every tire service. Because older tire change equipment can damage TPMS sensors, your St. Louis service center may need to buy expensive, new tire changers.

Since there is no uniformity among auto manufacturers, service professionals need to be trained on several TPMS systems. These behind-the-scenes costs are very real to Belleville service center managers like Paul Stock at Stock's Underhood Specialists Inc..

That’s why the team at Stock's Underhood Specialists Inc. is anxious for St. Louis drivers to understand the financial impact of TPMS systems. In the past, we've been able to quickly and cheaply provide tire services, and then pass the low cost on to St. Louis customers as an expression of our good will. But now even these simple jobs take much longer and require expensive equipment.

Sensors will need to be removed and reinstalled. Even a tire rotation will require that the monitor be reprogrammed to the new location of each tire. When a car battery is disconnected, the TPMS system will need to be reprogrammed.

So when you start so see the cost of tire changes, flat repairs and rotations going up in Illinois, please keep in mind that it’s because of this new safety equipment. The team at Stock's Underhood Specialists Inc. just wants to keep you safely on the road – and we're committed to doing it at a fair price.

It’s important to remember that the TPMS warning only comes on when a tire is severely under-inflated. You’ll still want to check your tire pressure regularly. At every fill-up is best, but you should check pressure at least once a month. Here’s wishing you safe travels.

Contact Stock's Underhood Specialists Inc. for more information about Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems.

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