2011 Hyundai Sonata: Show Me The Pressure
January 12, 2011
So the Sonata's low tire pressure warning light has gone off. You never quite know what the story is going to be -- do I actually have a puncture, or has pressure dropped just enough past the programmed threshold to trigger the warning? Since the first time the light fired off was on a cold morning, I guessed the latter. But I still had to check each tire with a gauge since the Sonata's TPMS just tells you the pressure is low and not which tire is low or by how much.
Yeah, this is a petty complaint. But I know the information is somewhere in the Sonata's computer; so why not just tell me? A lot of General Motors vehicles have individual tire pressure readouts, and it's greatly appreciated.
Edit: Our Director of Vehicle Testing, Dan Edmunds, helped clarify TPMS operation to me. There are generally two TPMS systems used, a "low-line" system and a "high-line" system. Both meet the federal safety mandate. And both are equally accurate in measuring tire pressure at each wheel. However, when the low-line system gets a low pressure reading, it doesn't actually know which tire it is coming from. A high-line system gains additional hardware that allows it to determine which tire the low reading is coming from. Condering the Sonata, it's probably a low-line. As to why an automaker choses to go low or high, Dan says "cost and having the necessary dashboard real estate" to display pressure info are the obstacles.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor