Winter puts on the pressure

Black ice is a hazard here on Vancouver Island and the best defence is a good set of winter tires.

Black ice is a hazard here on Vancouver Island and the best defence is a good set of winter tires.

They are designed to help hold the road better than M+S rated all season tires and it’s now time to find a set for my wife’s Honda CR-V.

I’m fortunate to be able to afford what I want, so it was off to Honda for a set of steel wheels, Consumer Reports for the best tire choices and then the retailers for the best price. I thought that I had it all wrapped up until I remembered the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).

TPMS is important to help call tire inflation problems to my attention if they change before I find it with my tire gauge. Poor inflation can affect traction, the tendency to hydroplane, fuel economy and tire life. Let tire pressure fall too low and the tire can destroy itself or fail suddenly, resulting in a collision. I opened my web browser and searched on TPMS and winter tires. The results told me that I could buy a second set of modules and pay the dealer to have the vehicle’s computer reset every time I changed the tires and wheels as the car’s computer can only manage the four sensors that it has been told about.

If your vehicle uses the anti-lock brake system (ABS) to sense tire pressure instead of a module in each wheel, this situation will not apply. You may change your tires and wheels and the system will continue to function without having to be adjusted. Check your owner’s manual or contact the dealership for more information if you are unsure of which system your vehicle uses.

Some articles complained about traction control and vehicle stability systems being negatively affected if the TPMS modules were not present and functioning properly. This is not the case according to my Honda dealer. The worst thing that I will have to put up with is the tire pressure warning light shining brightly until I put the original wheels back on again.

For now, since it is not mandatory to have a functional TPMS, I’ve decided to make sure that I check my tire inflation with a good gauge on a regular basis and let the inflation warning light shine. When I decide that I can’t live with it or the law changes, I’ll buy a set of sensors and a reset tool.

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. To comment or learn more, please visit drivesmartbc.ca

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