Government Sometimes Save Us Money – Tire Pressure Monitors

by The Happy Rock on July 23, 2007

Tire Blow OutThe government always seems to be taking our money, but sometimes they do get things right and pass legislation that beneficial. US government legislation that has been in the works since the 2000 tire recall will require auto manufacturers to install tire pressure monitoring sensors on all new models for vehicle’s under 10,000 pounds. The bill, which affects vehicles for the 2008 model year, is being phased in September 1st of this year. The system is such that when the pressure of any of the four tire drops below 25% below the recommended pressure, a warning light will display on the dashboard. The consumer will still need to stop and fill up the tire though, tires are not yet self inflating(although that it is probably coming).

Tires are the most abused part of the car. We all know that we should check our vehicle’s tire pressure every 30 days, but most of don’t monitor it very closely. I probably check it once every couple months, and before long trips. This upgrade will only reportedly cost “manufacturers between $48.44 and $69.89 per vehicle”, a small price for the numerous benefits that come with properly inflated tires. I am all for technology helping us stay safer and live less expensive lives. The savings of properly inflated tires are this :

  1. NHTSA estimates that 120 lives a year will be saved.
  2. Better fuel economy/gas mileage
  3. Decreased stopping distances
  4. Decreased likelihood of tire failure. Majority of flat tires would be avoided with properly inflated tires.
  5. Less skidding on wet surfaces.

Now for those of us with older cars, we should go out and get a huge interest only loan for a new car to take advantage of the new technology. Just kidding, my goal is to set a monthly calender date to start checking my tires. The motivation is coming from the increased gas savings and improved safety that my family will receive. If I make it habit, I should never have to worry about it again. To start, I just added it into my PDA as a recurring monthly event.

How often do you check your tires? Do you like the new law?


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike July 23, 2007 at 11:18 am

If you’re dispassionate and calculating:
Hand waving some numbers from the May/June sales figures, I’d guess that the US sells 20M cars a year. That gives an annual cost per life saved between $8M and $11.5M. For cost/benefit calculations the FAA values a fatality at $3M. By that model, it’s a bad choice.

If you’re optimistic:
As soon as there’s a market for tire pressure sensors, the price will drop and it’ll disappear in the cost of the car.

If you’re cynical:
I’m surprised that the automotive industry hasn’t coming out decrying the expense and complaining about how it’ll ruin them (just like seat belts and air bags).

If you’re a Libertarian:
Damn government mandates



The Happy Rock July 23, 2007 at 1:12 pm

Thanks for the chuckle Mike. By those calculations I guess it is a good thing that saving lives isn’t the only benefit!

From what I remembering reading, the auto industry has been trying to fight this one for a while, they just lost.


Mike July 23, 2007 at 4:24 pm

I’m somewhere along the lines of all my comments. I have yet to spring for a $30 air compressor to go in the garage to fill the tires and I suspect I’m not alone. I’m afraid that it’ll become one more light one the dash board. The missing item was that it’ll have all those wonderful benefits if people actually do something about the light turning on.



Really frustrated, and now..broke thanks to the morons behind this bill and supporting it. December 16, 2008 at 11:06 pm

Frankly, this is rediculous. Just another reason for us to have to waste hundreds of dollars, possibly yearly for programming, re-programming, as well as replacement [$123.56] per sensor that is…just because lazy people can’t look at their tires before they get in and check their pressures on their own. It’s really not that hard, and the gauge is alot cheap that having to train and replace a sensor…just so you all know.

Just another government official bored and trying to find something to keep them busy and deciding that since the majority are lazy, we all have to suffer for it.

Thank you all oh so very much.


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