I drive a Lancer GT here in Dubai. Ownership report can be found here
Now, this car comes with pretty low profile tyres and it is pretty hard to judge if any tyre is low on air pressure. I have lost one good tyre because of that - the tyre was on 18 Psi and I drove it a good 50 kms unknowingly. By the time I realized, the tyre has scraped the wheel and shredded itself on the inside seam. Had to spend pretty big bucks to get that one tyre replaced!
Later on, I bought a digital and an analog tyre pressure gauge and I keep monitoring the pressure once in a month. But I still had that thought lurking in my mind that what will happen if the air pressure falls because of a tiny leak or puncture and I do not realize it.
I wanted a TPMS which will continuously monitor the air pressure on all tyres and warn me if there is a leak or if the pressure gets low. So my search began online for a good TPMS and requirements were as follows -
- System should show air pressure on all tyres via a legible display
- The display should be solar powered, so that I do not have to continuously charge it and occupy the sole charging point in my car!
- It should not be ridiculously expensive!
- Should automatically switch on-off, else it defeats the purpose of having a TPMS!
My search led me to many products on Amazon and Aliexpress and I finalized on this one
because it fulfilled all my requirements.
Now, there are two types of aftermarket TPMS units which you can buy -
- One with internal sensors - Requires removal of the tyres and re-balancing
- One with external sensors - This is just DIY and needs no re-balancing
Another reason why I chose the unit with external sensors is because it is easy to replace the battery just in case one of them conks off.
Coming to the product I bought, the brand name is SPY (!!) which is of course of Chinese origin.
The likes and dislikes are as listed below -
+ Surprisingly well built for a Chinese unit
+ Display runs on solar power. They have provided a charging cable just in case you mostly drive at night!
+ Display is clear and legible in sunlight.
+ Display is coloured and not bland (black and white).
+ Sensors are feather light and hence causes no additonal vibrations at high speeds. I have driven till car at 140 kmph with these sensors installed and did not observe anything different.
+ Display can be adjusted to show pressure in PSI or BAR.
+ Display shows tyre temperature as well, alternates between pressure (50 secs) and temperature (8 secs).
+ Warns by an audible beep if it detects a leak or low air pressure. The minimum and maximum air pressure for warnings can be adjusted. Also warns if the tyre temperature is too high.
+ Has a theft proof mechanism to ensure the external sensors simply cannot be unscrewed and stolen.
+ Display switches OFF automatically 30 seconds after the car is switched off and switches ON automatically as soon as you sit in the car (pressure change in tyres detected).
- Since it has the above mentioned anti-theft mechanism, filling air in the tyres need an additional step. You need to unlock the sensors in each tyre using the provided tool. On the upside, since you already know the pressure in each tyre, you only need to do this when the pressure gets low.
- Log term reliability is unknown.
- I am not sure whether the sensors are waterproof. I am assuming it should be! In a dry country like UAE, I have no worries but in India, buyers should check this first.
Coming to pictures of the product, I have taken pictures from the internet so that it is more clear -
* This is how the packaging looks like:
* The contents of the box:
* The display unit:
* The display as it looks on the dashboard:
Apart from the contents shown in the above pictures, they have also provided a 3M tape for securing the display on the dash and some TPMS warning stickers.
I am not a DIY person and I could install these sensors with ease, it is child's play. The system does not need any configuring for first time use. Just use the sensors in the position as marked. Just in case if you need to use different sensors in different position, the manual (which is in English!) clearly states the procedure to do so. You can also adjust the brightness of the display with 3 preset options.
Overall, I am happy with this purchase as of now. It cost me INR 5,850/- and I think it is worth the piece of mind and convenience it offers. I only hope it works as intended for atleast 2 years!
I will update on the accuracy of the readings of the sensors, very soon...