Something like SEMA without the Vegas lights and parties, last week's Automechanika trade show in Frankfurt was a chance for parts and service suppliers to strut their stuff before a world audience. More than 165,000 visitors from 130 nations flocked to Frankfurt last week to see what's new in the automotive parts business. One of the highlights was a tire pressure monitor system (TPMS) from Siemens VDO that promises to make it relatively affordable to add this safety feature to just about any vehicle. Some new cars and light trucks have had these items available from the factory, but generally only on high-end cars or as part of an expensive options package.
The Siemens VDO TPMS places unique valve stems and sensors into each wheel that can detect changes in tire pressure and alert the driver by a radio signal sent to a control unit inside the car. Low tire pressure is a common problem on passenger vehicles that results in higher fuel consumption and tire wear. If there is not enough air in the tires, they will spread and the rubber can become hotter. This heat can lead to the tire splitting away. Besides being one of the most common causes of breakdowns, low tire pressure leads to higher rolling resistance and therefore higher fuel consumption as well. No word on pricing as of yet.
[Source: Siemens VDO via gizmag]