Another pesky light is illuminated on your dashboard. This time it’s the low tire pressure warning light. Fixing the problem could be as simple as adding air to your tires. What do you do if you’ve checked the tire pressure and it’s fine? Read on to find out about your vehicle’s Low Tire Pressure Monitoring System – why you need it, how it works, and what you should do when this warning light comes on.
Why Does My Car Need a Low Tire Pressure Monitoring System?
Your vehicle is equipped with a Low Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) to help you make sure your tires are inflated to the correct air pressure. Almost 200 deaths occur each year because of tire-related crashes and a good number of them happen because tires are underinflated. Think about this for a moment. When was the last time you checked the air pressure in your tires? Do you check your tire air pressure once a month, as is recommended? The TPMS makes the job a little easier for you.
Ok, So I Need a Low Tire Pressure Monitoring System, but How Does it Work?
Your car is either equipped with a direct or indirect TPMS. The sensors in a direct TPMS monitor the air pressure within each of your tires. If the tire pressure in one or more of your tires drops 25% or more, the computer module in your vehicle will trigger the tire pressure warning light on your dashboard. With an indirect TPMS, wheel speed sensors are used to determine how fast your tires are rotating in comparison to the relative size of your tires. If a wheel starts to spin faster than it should, your car’s computer assumes the tire is underinflated and it tells the TPMS warning light to illuminate.
The Tire Air Pressure Warning Light is On. Now What?
- If it Comes on While You’re Driving: If you’re driving and the TPMS comes on, pull over to a safe place and stop to check your tires. Unless your tire is completely flat, you’ll want to use a tire gauge to check the tire air pressure in each tire. You can find the correct tire air pressure on the label found inside the driver’s side door panel or in your vehicle owner’s manual (do not use the air pressure identified on the sidewall of your vehicle’s tires). If one or more tires is low, re-inflate them. (Click here for information on how to care for your car tires.)
Quick Tip: Always carry a tire gauge in the glove compartment so you can quickly check the air pressure once a month. Remember, to check the tires when they are cold – first thing in the morning is best.
- If it Comes on In Cold Weather (in the morning or before you start driving): The air pressure in your tires will drop when the temperatures are colder. In fact, the colder the temperature, the more the pressure will drop. If the tire air pressure falls 25% or more, the TPMS dashboard warning light will come on. You’ll need to add air to your tires, but be careful not to fill them too much as the air in them will expand once the tires warm up.
Quick Tip: Some vehicles are equipped with a reset button for the TPMS Warning Light. Once you’ve filled the tires to the correct pressure, reset the warning light on your instrument panel.
Why Does the TPMS Warning Light Stay On or Come Back On After It’s Been Reset?
If you’ve added air but the air pressure warning light stays on, there’s a problem with your Tire Pressure Monitoring System or you have a slow leak. Assuming there is no leak in your tire, a lit TPMS warning light indicates a problem with a tire pressure sensor. One of them may be bad, the lithium-ion battery may be dead or there could be an internal fault within the TPMS. In any of these cases, you’ll need to have repair work performed on your Tire Pressure Monitoring System.
Quick Tip: If the TPMS warning light comes back on after you’ve filled the tire with air, recheck the tire to make sure it is inflated to the proper air pressure. If the tire air pressure is low, you have an air leak and should have the tire fixed or replaced.
Call Shade Tree Garage in Morristown, NJ, When You Have a Problem with Your Tire Pressure Monitoring System
If that pesky Tire Pressure Monitoring System light won’t turn off, give us a call. The ASE-certified mechanics at Shade Tree Garage can diagnose and correct whatever is causing the problem. Click here to make an appointment to have your low tire pressure monitoring system fixed at our auto repair shop in Morristown, New Jersey.