direct vs indirect TPMS

Direct TPMS vs Indirect TPMS: Which One Is Better?

A tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is designed to monitor a vehicle’s tire pressure and provide a warning when the pressure gets too low. The device can be handy on the road, protecting you from a possible blowout.

We’re going to compare the direct vs indirect TPMS, so you can clearly understand their functions and usability.

Direct vs Indirect TPMS: A Detailed Comparison

There are two types of TPMS.

Direct TPMS systems have sensors that are mounted on the wheels, and they measure the pressure directly. Indirect TPMS systems don’t have sensors on the wheels, but they use the vehicle’s ABS to measure the pressure.

What Is Direct TPMS?

A direct system uses wheel-mounting sensors to measure the tire’s air pressure. It provides more accurate readings than an indirect TPMS.

Most modern cars have a TPMS, and it’s a good idea to have one in your vehicle if you don’t already. There are many aftermarket devices available. You just have to find one compatible with your car’s model.

Comparing direct vs indirect TPMS, it becomes clear that the direct system uses sensors to monitor the air pressure in your tires in real-time. The information is then displayed on the dashboard screen, so you can always tell at a glance whether your tires are inflated to the proper tire pressure.

A direct TPMS measures tire pressure for each tire separately, and each sensor in its system is dedicated to a different task. Depending on the model, it may also measure the tire temperatures.

direct tpms
A direct TPMS measures the tire pressure directly.

Since this system is more complicated than an indirect TPMS, you cannot install it at home. It requires an expert mechanic who is knowledgeable about this highly specialized system.

Properly inflated tires are less likely to roll over or underinflate, leading to wasted fuel. Additionally, it can help you avoid a flat tire by alerting you to low pressure before it becomes a problem.

The system can help improve your safety on the road. Underinflated tires can be more prone to blowouts, and overinflated tires can make it more difficult to control your car.

By monitoring your tire pressure and keeping it at the proper level, you can help reduce your risk of an accident.


  • Monitors tire pressure in real-time
  • Some models may provide tire temperature readings
  • No need to reset after tire inflation or replacement
  • Sensor batteries last for a decade


  • Sensors can be easily damaged during installation
  • Battery drainage can damage the system
  • Installation needs professional help
  • Costlier than an indirect TPMS

What Is Indirect TPMS?

The anti-lock brake system uses wheel speed sensors, and the indirect TPMS relies on these sensors to monitor a tire’s pressure. The sensors transmit data to a receiver that is mounted on the vehicle. The receiver then processes the data and displays it on the dash.

The system does not measure the tire pressure directly. It counts the revolution rate of each wheel and calculates the pressure from the spinning of the wheels. When a tire is underinflated, its size gets smaller, so it starts spinning faster than other tires. The indirect TPMS senses this anomaly and alerts the driver using a dashboard light.

types of tpms
An indirect TPMS is less expensive.

The system’s mechanism makes it prone to making mistakes when the tires wear differently. A tire worn out more than other tires will spin faster because of its smaller circumference. An indirect TPMS will then mistakenly flag this tire as underinflated.

Its readings are less accurate than a direct TPMS, but it’s less expensive and easier to install. Additionally, it does not require the sensors to be mounted on the wheels, which can be difficult and time-consuming.

However, you must reset the system each time after tire inflation or replacement. Otherwise, it will give incorrect readings.


  • Less expensive than a direct TPMS
  • Low maintenance
  • Installation can be done at home


  • Needs reset after tire inflation and rotation
  • The readings are not highly accurate

Direct vs Indirect TPMS: Which One Is Better?

Both types of RV TPMS systems have their advantages and disadvantages. Direct TPMS systems are more accurate, but they’re also more expensive and need an expert for installation. Indirect TPMS systems are less accurate but are also less costly and can be installed at home.

So, which type of TPMS system is right for you? Well, that depends on your needs. If you want a simple system that can give you a warning when your tire pressure gets low, then an indirect TPMS system might be a good choice.

However, if you need an advanced system to get more detailed information about your tire pressure, a direct TPMS system might be a better choice.

Most modern cars have a direct TPMS. And if your vehicle does not have one already, it will most likely be compatible with an indirect system.

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