TPMS become mandatory for newly registered commercial vehicles in the EU

Safety gain justifies additional effort

Apr 23, 2024 Safety on the road
  • Mandatory equipment applies to trucks, buses, and heavy trailers
  • Regulation aims at preventing tire damage or detecting it more quickly
  • Commercial vehicle tire failures pose major safety risks

What has applied to passenger cars for years will soon also apply to commercial vehicles: from 1 July 2024, tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) will also be mandatory for trucks, buses and heavy trailers newly registered in the EU. “This means more work and challenges for transport companies and the tire service industry. On the other hand, the innovation brings a valuable gain in safety”, says Christian Koch, accident analyst and tire expert at DEKRA.

The new requirement applies to all newly registered vehicles in categories N1 to N3 (trucks), M1 to M3 (buses and motorhomes) and O3 and O4 (trailers with a maximum permissible mass of over 3.5 tons, including semi-trailers). “Special challenges always arise for users when the vehicles and trailers are used in different combinations”, explains the expert. “For example, if a semi-trailer is loaded onto a train or ferry and taken over by another tractor unit at its destination, the TPMS equipment must be coordinated.”
Mobile tire service is also not trivial, especially for trailers or semi-trailers, which are often left without a towing vehicle. “When a tire is replaced, the TPMS usually has to be recalibrated. The question will then be: How does the TPMS communicate with the tractor unit when it is coupled again? And: What is the correct tire pressure anyway?” says Koch. After all, commercial vehicle tires are much more complex to handle than their passenger car counterparts – especially because the pressure has to be varied much more depending on the load and type of use. There are also different types of TPMS. “You really have to engage with the topic in order to use the best solution”, says the expert.
In his view, it is clear that all of this will increase effort and complexity in the transport industry. “There are also still some unanswered questions that are being discussed in the tire industry. But one thing is clear: this effort will pay off”, Koch is convinced.
Tire damage is a frequent cause of breakdowns and accidents
On the one hand, tire damage is the number one cause of breakdowns, especially for commercial vehicles. A large proportion of this damage could be prevented by TPMS by using the correct tire pressure and detecting any gradual loss of pressure.
“The failure of a tire can not only lead to a breakdown, but also to serious accidents”, says the DEKRA expert. Even if a truck can still be steered after the tire failure and does not crash itself, safety risks arise: a truck tire alone can weigh up to 60 kg. If parts fly around after a puncture, other road users are in great danger.
TPMS also have a positive impact on sustainability: Tires that are driven with the correct pressure last longer and minimize fuel consumption.
“The use of tire pressure monitoring systems is an important component that contributes to the safe and economical operation of commercial vehicle tires. In our view, the additional expense is more than compensated for”, says Koch.