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Corvette TPMS Tech Article
With the ever growing environmental issues that are popping up many are related to automobile use and how to decrease your environmental footprint. A result of this is a new Federal Law stating that as of September 2007 all new vehicles under 10,000lbs must be equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) for many safety reasons.
Understanding Corvette's TPMS
Chevrolet's TPMS | Direct Band System | Registering Your Sensors | Aftermarket Rims and TPMS
Tire pressure plays a large part in maintaining optimal driving performance and safety. If your Corvettes tires are under or over inflated the safety and performance are put in jeopardy for these reasons:
• Compromises the handling of Corvette
• More frequent replacement of tires
• Decrease in fuel efficiency
• Possible tire failure
In general not having properly inflated tires causes the above problems to occur because the tires are not properly supporting your Corvette. This causes uneven wear on the tires, requiring more frequent replacement and also compromised handling. Under inflation also decreases fuel efficiency because the contact surface of the tire to the road is increased and creates more friction hindering fuel economy. Also severe under inflation can even cause a tire blow-out. All of these are great reasons to why having a TMPS equipped car is becoming the wave of the future.
The TPMS that Chevrolet uses is similar to many other car companies because it is such a new technology that there are not many providers for these types of devices. What sets Chevy and especially their Corvette apart from others is their Driver Information Center (DIC) located in the instrument cluster, which displays warnings to the driver such as low fuel, low oil, battery voltage, trip odometer and now tire pressure. There is also a warning light in the instrument cluster that indicates when tire pressure in any tire has dropped 25% below the recommended pressure.
For the TPMS to update your diagnostics your Corvette must be traveling at a speed greater then 20 mph for 2 min or longer. This applies to when you first start up your Corvette and also to after making adjustments to your tire pressure.
When using a spare tire the TPMS warning light will remain on until the original tire is replaced on the car.
Direct Band System
Each tire comes with a tire pressure sensor secured to the wheel with a band and bracket system. The sensor is covered by the tire, and cannot be seen unless the tire is removed. The system measures the air pressure in your tires and sends readings of their levels to your Corvette. There are three parts to the Direct Band System:
1. The Sensor - Attached to the rim, under the tire, the sensor acts as a transmitter, sending information about the wheel's tire pressure to the in-car receiver.
2. The Receiver – Located in the dash of your car, it turns on the warning light to let you know that your tire pressure is low as well as providing a live feed of each tires pressure as you drive.
3. The Band/Bracket – Holds the sensor secure to the wheel, ensuring that the sensor transmits information accurately.
The main function of the TPMS is to alert you when your tires need air. However, it also warns you when the system is not working properly. If your tires are properly inflated, your spare tire is not in use, and the warning light remains on, you should take your car in for service.
Registering Your Sensors
When Chevy places the sensors on the wheels at the factory, they are scanned and registered (assigned) to a specific wheel. This allows your technician to determine exactly where there is a problem. The sensors measure air pressure ONLY, so there is no need to register your sensors again if you buy larger rims. However, when having new wheels and tires mounted and balanced by a non-Chevy Dealer, it is important that your tire technician put your sensors in the same location on the car.
For example, the sensor that was assigned to the Front Right Wheel will need to go on the new rim going in that location. If this is not done, you will need to re-register the sensors so that if there is a problem with the TPMS system, it can be properly diagnosed.
Aftermarket Rims and TPMS
When it comes to your replacing your rims, you have three options for your TPMS:
1. Buy new bands from a Chevy Dealer
Changing the rims on a 2007 Corvette means that you have to change the band and bracket to one that will accommodate the size of your new wheel. Chevy offers size-specific bands for larger wheels, and you have to go to your local Chevy Dealer to get a complete OEM kit (bands, brackets and sensors), and have your wheels/tires mounted and balanced.
Note: If you choose this option, but are buying wheels and tires from us, you will need to select "No, Do Not Mount My Tires or Balance My Wheels" when placing your order.
2. Buy the Universal Band and use your existing sensors
If you increase the size of your rim, you will need to purchase new bands/brackets to accommodate the size difference. However, you DO NOT need to buy new sensors! You simply reuse the sensors that are already on the wheels. The sensor measures only the inflation pressure, so you don't have to change them out or register them for the larger wheel.
You also do not have to go to a Chevy Dealer to have your rims and tires mounted and balanced! The Universal Bands give you the freedom to choose the shop you want to go to.
Note: When ordering, you will need to select "No, Do Not Mount My Tires or Balance My Wheels." We will ship them to you and you can take them to ANY SHOP to have the sensors transferred over.
3. Do Not use the TPMS sensor
There are a couple of benefits to this option:
• You do not have to spend additional money to have your wheels mounted and balanced by a shop or Chevy Dealer.
• You do not need to spend the extra money on bands/brackets.
• You can have your wheels and tires mounted and balanced for free by CorvetteGuys.com.
The downside to choosing this option is the Tire Pressure Warning Lamp will remain constantly lit in your gauge panel. You will have to check your tires more frequently to make sure that they are maintaining the recommended pressure.
Since the TPMS sensor is located on the inside of the tire not many people know what it looks like and are skeptical about its purpose. The pictures below were provided by Bill Curlee from www.CorvetteForum.com and show the two different mounting positions. Both serve the same purpose, and as many people have speculated the valve stem is not the transmitter for the TPMS, that is contained within the unit itself.
Author: Ryan McDonald
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