Tire Pressure Monitoring System(s) have been made mandatory on all 2008 model year and later cars. The system in my car is proving to be a useless pain in the ass.
For all of the frustration, it doesn't even do what I'd want it to. The systems are only required to alert to a 25% loss of pressure within 20 minutes. My car's manual specifically says that this makes it incapable of detecting a sudden loss of pressure. As someone who actually checks my tire pressures regularly, detection of a loss of pressure from tire damage, before the handling gets sketchy or the tire gets ruined, is the one feature that would actually make the system useful to me.
The "benefits" it offers instead are numerous:
- Since I didn't pay for TPMS-sensor-compatible wheels and an extra $200 for sensors when I bought a winter tire and wheel package, I got to stare at a pretty orange light on the dashboard for the last month. That was actually acceptable, until...
- It recently started to entertain me by making intermittent chiming noises along with the light cutting out like it's broken. Diagnosing it would require the special Mazda diagnostic tool, and out of warranty with an intermittent problem, I didn't feel like bothering with the dealer.
- It provided me a whole morning of fun removing the entire center console just so I could get a grip on the connector to unplug the stupid thing. I could see it from the foot well, but couldn't get my hand in the right position to do anything with it.
- Becase, after that, the light was still blinking, now to complain that there was a fault in the system, I got to take apart my instrument cluster to slip a piece of tape between the light and the face.
- I'll get to duplicate most of this work if I ever go to sell the car so the next owner doesn't come back and sue me.
All this because the minivans and SUVs of the world weren't getting their pressures checked more often than when they saw a professional garage.
Sorry, I just had to let that out...