An indirect TPMS typically relies on wheel speed sensors that the anti-lock brake system uses. These sensors measure the rate of revolution each wheel is making and can be used by on-board computer systems to compare with each other and to other vehicle operation data such as speed.
Based on the rate of revolution of each wheel, the computer can interpret the relative size of the tires on your vehicle. When a wheel starts spinning faster than expected, the computer calculates that the tire is underinflated and alert the driver accordingly.
So, an indirect tire pressure monitoring system doesn’t actually measure tire pressure.
It’s not electronically processing the same kind of measurement you might see with a tire gauge. Instead, an indirect tire pressure monitor simply measures how fast your tires are rotating and sends signals to the computer that will actuate the indicator light when something in the rotation seems amiss.
Advantages of Indirect TPMS
- Relatively inexpensive compared to a direct TPMS
-- Requires less programming/maintenance over the years than a direct TPMS
-- Less overall installation maintenance than its direct counterpart
Disadvantages of Indirect TPMS
-- May become inaccurate if you purchase a bigger or smaller tire
-- May be unreliable when tires are unevenly worn
-- Must be reset after properly inflating every tire
-- Must be reset after routine tire rotation