The dynamic behavior of a pneumatic tire is closely connected to its inflation pressure. Key factors like braking distance and lateral stability require the inflation pressures to be adjusted and kept as specified by the vehicle manufacturer. Extreme under-inflation can even lead to thermal and mechanical overload caused by overheating and subsequent, sudden destruction of the tire itself. Additionally, fuel efficiency and tire wear are severely affected by under-inflation. Tires do not only leak air if punctured, they also leak air naturally, and over a year, even a typical new, properly mounted tire can lose from 20 to 60 kpa (3 to 9 psi), roughly 10% or even more of its initial pressure.
The significant advantages of TPMS are summarized as follows:
- Fuel savings: According to the GITI, for every 10% of under-inflation on each tire on a vehicle, a 1% reduction in fuel economy will occur. In the United States alone, the Department of Transportation estimates that under inflated tires waste 2 billion US gallons (7,600,000 m3) of fuel each year.
- Extended tire life: Under inflated tires are the number one cause of tire failure and contribute to tire disintegration, heat buildup, ply separation and sidewall/casing breakdowns. Further, a difference of 10 pounds per square inch (69 kPa; 0.69 bar) in pressure on a set of duals literally drags the lower pressured tire 2.5 metres per kilometre (13 feet per mile). Moreover, running a tire even briefly on inadequate pressure breaks down the casing and prevents the ability to retread. It is important to note that not all sudden tire failures are caused by under-inflation. Structural damages caused, for example, by hitting sharp curbs or potholes, can also lead to sudden tire failures, even a certain time after the damaging incident. These cannot be proactively detected by any TPMS.
- Improved safety: Under-inflated tires lead to tread separation and tire failure, resulting in 40,000 accidents, 33,000 injuries and over 650 deaths per year. Further, tires properly inflated add greater stability, handling and braking efficiencies and provide greater safety for the driver, the vehicle, the loads and others on the road.
- Environmental efficiency: Under-inflated tires, as estimated by the US Department of Transportation, release over 26 billion kilograms (57.5 billion pounds) of unnecessary carbon-monoxide pollutants into the atmosphere each year in the United States alone.
Further statistics include:
The French Sécurité Routière, a road safety organization, estimates that 9% of all road accidents involving fatalities are attributable to tire under-inflation, and the German DEKRA, a product safety organization, estimated that 41% of accidents with physical injuries are linked to tire problems.
The European Union reports that an average under-inflation of 40 kPa produces an increase of fuel consumption of 2% and a decrease of tire life of 25%. The European Union concludes that tire under-inflation today is responsible for over 20 million liters of unnecessarily-burned fuel, dumping over 2 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, and for 200 million tires being prematurely wasted worldwide.
In 2018, a field study on TPMS and tire inflation pressure was published on the UN ECE Working Party on Brakes and Running Gear (GRRF) homepage. It covered 1,470 randomly selected vehicles in three EU countries with dTPMS, iTPMS and without TPMS. Main findings are that TPMS fitment reliably prevents severe and dangerous underinflation and hence yields the desired effects for traffic safety, fuel consumption and emissions. The study also showed that there is no difference in effectiveness between dTPMS and iTPMS and that the TPMS reset function does not present a safety risk.