Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Importance of TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems)

A TPMS, tire pressure monitoring system, is a device that relays tire pressure information to the driver via special sensors, connected to a reporting monitor in the dashboard instrument cluster. The system was devised to lessen accidents caused by rollover, tire separation and tire blowout and was first introduced in Europe in the mid-1980s. The Tread Act was mandated during the Clinton administration during the Firestone recall in the late 1990s to deal with the problem.

The United States was required to equip light passenger vehicles with TPM systems after September 1, 2007, and is now a standard feature on the newest vehicles. The maximum importance of TPMS has its place in the automotive manufacturing industry in regard to several factors. Aftermarket TPMS systems are also available for older vehicles.

There are two configurations of Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems:
  • Indirect TPMS - Indirect TPMS does not require the use of pressure sensor hardware per se. It relies on using sensors to monitor the rotational speed of individual tires and other signals exterior to the physical tire. The earliest generation of indirect TPM systems worked on the theory that an under-inflated tire has a reduced diameter and lesser velocity, thus it can be read and reported through the wheel speed sensors as abnormal in relation to the other tire's performance parameters. The second generation TPMS devices use spectrum analysis of each each wheel to detect under-inflation. The system reads minute oscillations caused by under-inflation speed signals that are designed to work with ABS/ESC sensor units. Both indirect TPM systems do not report physical pressure values, giving a true reading.  While less accurate than a direct system, indirect TPM systems are more user-friendly and able to be configured with ease.
  • Direct TPMS - The direct version of TPMS uses direct sensors on each tire by either an external or internal sensing component. They receive direct tire pressure data (sometimes tire temperature) in real time whether the vehicle is parked or moving. In one example, data is sent to the instrument panel from a sensor located on the interior side of the valve stem, reporting under-inflation in any tire combination. Internal sensors that are mounted to the wheel rim do not provide easy service access and those mounted externally on the wheel are subject to theft and physical damage via the environment and road hazards. The sensors require a battery which must have an adequate charge to send accurate data. Some of the components included with the direct TPMS are a pressure sensor, micro and system controller, analog digital converter, RF or radio frequency controller, low frequency receiver and voltage regulator. Some direct TPMS that are internally mounted to the rim underside must have the sensors replaced when the batteries are dead. Direct TPMS can be used on everything from motorcycles to big rig trucks that have dozens of wheels.

The importance of TPMS
  • Tire performance is closely related to inflation pressure. Under-inflated tires cause increased braking distance and change the car’s center of gravity, oftentimes causing directional swerving or lateral instability resulting in a rollover or out-of-control maneuver during a tight turn. Driving with under-inflated tires causes damage to components such as wheel adapters, rims, braking systems, and more.
  • Under-inflated tires put more tread on the road's surface, increasing drag and friction. Drag and friction produces excessive heat, especially at high sustained speeds. Tires that become overheated can blow and separate from the rims. Excessive tire friction puts additional stress on the engine and reduces RPM, leading to increased fuel consumption which can be significant if the under-inflation problem goes unchecked for an extended length of time. This causes additional stress on both tires and engine components, leading to costly repairs.
  • Under-inflated tires lower the chassis profile (frame) of a vehicle. A frame that is significantly lower than its regular curb height can lead to bottoming out on speed bumps, driveways and other road obstructions. Bottoming out can cause damage to expensive suspension parts in the driving linkages as well as damage to the oil pan, transmission, drive line and underside of the radiator.
The multiple benefits of TPMS are obvious. Not only do they prevent unnecessary accidents, but they improve fuel economy, increase tire life, save on maintenance such as tire replacement, and help your car perform as it was designed to. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Acorn Lock Nuts

“With great power comes great responsibility” is a apt quote describing just what a lock nut, or lug nut, is required to do. For such a small part, acorn nuts have great responsibility. They must hold their tension strength while keeping a wheel securely fit and locked to the axle hub. Lock nuts that look great, are resistant to corrosion, precisely crafted and stop theft provide the ultimate automotive component, and this describes Acorn Lock Nuts—a wheel locking nut that outperforms its competitors.

Acorn wheel locks, or locking acorn nuts, are designed to fit any truck, car or ATV. They easily replace stock nuts suited for alloy wheels (mags), steel wheels, aluminum, dual axles, sports and racing models. Whether you have Cragar SS standard wheels, ET, bullet, extra large or short mag wheels, there is a Acorn Lock Nut designed to fit your vehicle’s wheel style and size. Acorn Lock Nuts are specialty designed with tapered seating that provides full contact and even torque distribution, without stretching or warping under pressure. The precision seating allows for maximum strength and hold over rough terrain or during maximum turning stress in racing conditions.


Acorn Lock Nuts are crafted from the highest quality billet aluminum, offering maximum strength at an incredibly low weight. They are specialty treated with a variety of corrosion-resistant colors, including gold, black, silver, red and blue; designed to coordinate with the latest trends in powder-coated wheels on the market today. Acorn lugs are available for 4-lug to 8-lug configurations, ranging in diameter sizes that include 7/16, 12 millimeter, ½, 14 millimeter and 9/16-inch stud sizes. An easily accessible wheel chart is provided to locate the precise locking nut for any foreign or domestic vehicle from small compacts to heavy duty truck applications.


Along with the high performance and aesthetic appeal of Acorn Lock Nuts, comes a unique security feature to prevent any premature loosening or theft. They come with an easy-to-follow installation kit, covering bolt pattern sequence tightening and torque specifications. Each Acorn Lock Nut comes with a personalized, individually crafted security key that prevents theft of expensive rims and tires. The security key is foolproof, making them impossible to extract without the proper key. A free valve stem set is also included for customized applications.

What more could you ask for from a locking lug nut that looks beautiful, delivers high performance, is built to last and prevents theft? Acorn locking nuts are the perfect way to keep your wheels looking great, performing at their best, and secured.