When I purchased my DB9 used and was doing the initial walkaround, I opened the trunk and asked the sales rep “What’s this thing with all the LEDs?”. It wasn’t a main dealer, and the rep didn’t know. I figure there might be other owners out there that don’t know what it is, or what all the LEDs mean. Let me explain…. Continue reading “Understanding the SmarTire TPMS System in an Aston Martin DB9 or Vantage”
Aston Martin DB9 Sport Pack Option – Is it Worth it?
Aston Martin began offering a ‘Sport Pack’ option on the early DB9s to spice the model lineup after its initial year or two (read the announcement here). The option included:
- Special Wheels with slightly larger tires
- Lightweight Titanium Lug Nuts
- Thicker Front Anti-Roll Bar
- Stiffer Front and Rear Springs
- 6mm Lower Ride Height
The option when introduced was factory installed. What was nice about this was the Sport Pack option could be retrofit to any DB9 manufactured to date by your local dealer. The factory fitted option went for about $4,700 USD (£2,495) back in late 2006.
I’ve been trying to track down the cost if it was fitted by your local dealer. It was sold as the DB9 Sport-Pack Kit that included all the goodies. You can still order it apparently. The kit varies based on model year and LHD vs. RHD. For example, my 2005 LHD Automatic Coupe would be kit Aston Martin part number 4G43-24-10811 available online today for about $8,446 USD. This kit even includes a new steering rack. Later model kits (MY07-09) do not need a steering rack and can be had for a few thousand dollars less. I presume the steering racks unadvertised inclusion on the early models addresses some ‘feel’ issues. These prices don’t include dealer install costs, so I expect a retrofit on an early model to touch $15,000 USD all in. Ouch.
I was intrigued by the idea of tracking down some of the bits for my DB9, and recently I had an opportunity to purchase a like new set of the Sport Pack rims and Titanium lug nuts from one of the readers of this blog (thanks Austin Fritts!).
While I had two full sets of wheels (old and new), I wanted to weigh the difference between the Original and Sport Pack lug nuts and rims. The assumption would be that the ‘Sport’ versions should be lighter right, but by how much? Read on to get the answer. Continue reading “Aston Martin DB9 Sport Pack Option – Is it Worth it?”
Seasonal Tire Pressure Warning in an Aston Martin DB9
When I start my DB9 on the first cold day every fall it greets me with a scary “Check Tires” tire warning alert on the instrument cluster. In frustration and alarm about all I can think is “Now what!”. As it turns out this hasn’t been a big deal.
When the ambient air temperature falls, air gets denser. Consequently, this causes the air pressure in a cold tire to drop slightly. In our DB9’s, if the pressure drops below 30 psi the alert will trip the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TMPS) to warn you of a potential issue. A small pressure change isn’t the end of the world, but we need to follow up. You can learn more about the TPMS system and what will cause an alarm in my more detailed article here.
I check the pressure in my DB9’s tires a few times each year, and when I set them in the summer the ambient air temp is usually 85+ degrees. In the fall where I live (Northern California) the ambient temperature can drop to below 40 degrees, a 45+ degree change. This appears to be enough of a change to trip the alert each fall.
The next logical step is to get out of the car, open the trunk and look at the brains of Tire Pressure Warning system mounted along the top. There are five (5) colored LEDs on the device, and you should discover at least one lit up solid and the rest blinking. The one that is on solid is the one with a pressure problem. In this occurrence on my car it was the Red LED that was solid (meaning the left front tire had an issue). Each color corresponds to a specific wheel (that’s that those little colored bands are around the tire valve stem). They are:
- Yellow – Left Rear
- Red – Left Front
- Green – Right Front
- Blue – Right Rear
[Note: My car is a 2005, and later model cars may have a more integrated TPMS system, or even just tell you which tire is low and its pressure. Early model owners need to follow this more manual approach].
Once you know which tire is alerting, grab your tire pressure gauge and check the pressure of that wheel (you can check out my other article on how to do this). If its below 30 psi, you can confirm this is the problem tire. Personally, I would recommend you check all four tires while you are at it since the others will likely be close to the same issue.
The solution now is to top up your tire pressures. If you have your own compressor just add air to reach the ideal pressure of 36 psi in the fronts and 38 psi in the rears. If you don’t have a compressor, and the tire is just down a couple of PSI, you can still drive safely to the nearest gas station and top of your pressure there.
Once you’ve topped up the pressure back to normal, the alert should clear. You may need to turn off the car completely and start up again for the TPMS to recognize the issue is resolved and clear the alert on the instrument cluster.
Warning: If you top up the air and the problem returns quickly on the same wheel, this is likely not because the outside air temp has dropped and you may have a puncture in the tire. Time to take the car to a tire repair specialist immediately. Don’t drive on a tire if the pressure is below 20 psi. Don’t drive very fast or very far either or you risk damaging the core of the tire and it will need replaced (at significant expense since they have to be done in pairs). And I wouldn’t use the can of tire repair ‘Goo’ in the toolkit of the Aston unless I was desperately stranded roadside. That Goo may solve the problem temporarily, but you’ll be messing up the inside of the tire, the TPMS and the wheel rim. My tires have been ‘Screwed’ a few times, check out this article.
Here is a quick video of the experience I recorded on one of those days….