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Europe Ready to Go all TPMS

The European Commission says that TPMS will be mandatory on all vehicles sold on the continent as of 2012.


It’s a great move. If you thought Europeans were such car nuts that they spit polish their valve stems every day, you’d be wrong. Reports I see indicate that the Europeans are at least as bad as Americans when it comes to tire care….maybe a bit worse.

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Doesn’t matter. They will soon be 100% TPMS laden and have all of the tool and reset and relearn headaches we enjoyed.

As expected the decision brought the same stuff we read here about how TPMS will cut CO2 emissions and increase tire life and reduced fuel use (some 3.4 billion euros per year worth). And those things are all important, but not the main reason why TPMS is moving toward universal status. The main reason? Reducing blowout accidents and accompanying injuries, deaths and lawsuits.

Interestingly, the EC has yet to establish a warning threshold. Here, NHTSA decided (against all sane advice) to make TPMS warning lamps go off at 25% underinflation vs. carmaker-established levels. Continental is vocally pressing for a 10% threshold, and frankly I think they are right.

By and large, European consumer vehicles are smaller, and use smaller sized tires. Which means inflation pressures are a bit more sensitive. A 25% threshold on 14- or 15-inch tires – especially 175 or 195 section widths – is just not a good idea.

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– Jim Smith

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