The Low Tire Pressure Light is On, but the Tires are Fine
The TPMS lights let you know when your tire pressure drops so that you are safe. There are occasions when sensors or systems malfunction and low tire pressure lights can be activated even when tires are good. This is what causes it and how can we fix it.
Low tire pressure lights may be on, even though the pressure is normal. This means that you will need to reset your TPMS. You could also have a defective TPMS sensor. The sensor battery could also be depleted or the receiver damaged. Problems with indirect TPMS systems could include loss of traction.
This guide will examine each one in detail. The differences in TPMS systems are also discussed and we show you how to correct the problem. At the end of our guide, we help you decide if it’s okay to drive with the TPMS light on.
- Why the low tire pressure light is on? Make sure you have correct tires
- Understanding Direct vs. Understanding Direct vs.
- How to Fix the TPMS Light
- What if I turn on the TPMS?
Why the low tire pressure light is on? Make sure you have correct tires
1. Low or faulty tire pressure sensors
You may have to reset your TPMS system if the tire pressure has been corrected but it is not still lit. This can be done with a scanner, or by following the instructions for the specific model of your car. Sometimes, tire pressure sensors can lose their programmed data. If this happens, you might need to reset the TPMS sensor using an OBD2 scanner.
READ MORE: How to Reset Tire Pressure Light (TPMS) – By Car Model
The TPMS sensor may also become damaged easily, which will cause the light to stay on. The problem with a faulty sensor is that it isn’t monitoring the tire pressures, putting you at risk.
You can damage the sensor by contaminating it with debris. You should also take care when mounting or dismounting the tires.
2. Sensor Dead Battery
For proper operation of TPMS sensors, they must be charged with batteries. Although these batteries can last for a very long time, they are still susceptible to failure. The batteries can fail between five and ten times per year on average.
If the battery dies, there can’t be any feedback through the system. A breakdown in communication can cause the light to turn on.
RELATED: Tire Pressure Sensor Fault (What It Means & How to Fix It)
3. Defective TPMS Receiver
This issue isn’t as common as the other two, but it can happen. Failure of the TPMS receiver could cause a loss in pressure data.
There’s no rhyme or reason as to why this happens occasionally, other than it’s electronic equipment that can be fallible. It won’t matter what pressure is in each tire, the TPMS light will come on.
4. Traction Loss
Any loss in traction can cause your light to turn on if you have an indirect TPMS system. These systems use the wheel speed sensor information to tell when there’s a problem with the tire pressures.
However, when traction is lost, the sensors could determine the cause is low tire pressure, even when it’s not. This can create confusion especially if the light is on and off repeatedly.
RELATED: 3 Signs of a Bad Tire Pressure Sensor (& Replacement Cost)
Understanding Direct vs. Understanding Direct vs.
Direct TPMS technology is found in almost all cars today. Each wheel has a sensor which feeds data back to the computer. A signal will be sent to the computer if tire pressure is low and an alert appears on the dashboard.
Due to the location of sensors, they can become damaged when driven on rough roads, like dirt driveways, or in service. Old age can cause them to become brittle and will need to be replaced.
Some manufacturers prefer the indirect system, which doesn’t use a sensor on each wheel. Instead, the TPMS operates from sensors located on anti-lock brakes. This sensor determines when the rotation speed slows, which could indicate low tire pressure.
The indirect TPMS is considered more durable than the normal system because it doesn’t fail as often. However, you aren’t going to know if multiple tires are running low since there aren’t separate sensors.
Up until now, it’s only been some Asian and European automakers that have chosen this TPMS configuration. Other automakers have begun to consider switching, making this a more common option.
How to Fix the TPMS Light
1. Air to Fill Your Tire
Fill the tire with enough air. You should check the tire pressures every time the indicator light goes on.
You can compare the reading with the recommended air pressure by looking at the driver’s side door jamb. If your pressures are correct but the light still remains on, we recommend you move to the next tip.
READ MORE: 4 Steps to Determine the Right Tire Pressure for Your Vehicle
2. Repair Fault
Your repair will depend on the cause of the problem. If you don’t have the equipment to figure out what’s wrong, you should visit a qualified mechanic.
A simple TPMS sensor might cost between $75 to $250. Most cases will require replacement of the sensor due to a dead battery. You will pay slightly more if you need to replace the receiver.
You could repair the receivers and sensors yourself if you own the necessary equipment. You can save money by doing this.
3. Reset Light
The light may come on if there is a problem with wheel rotation, or any other service. In this case you will need to reset it. There is a straightforward way for most manufacturers to reset your warning light. You can find it in your owner’s manual.
There might be a reset button in your car’s glove compartment or in the menu of your car settings. It is important to understand how to push the reset button, and which steps you must take to accomplish the task.
What if I turn on the TPMS?
Never ignore the TPMS lights warning. If you notice it on the dashboard, you want to stop as soon as it’s safe to ensure that there’s enough air pressure in the tires. If the tires aren’t inflated properly, failure is imminent. Overheating tires can cause them to burst and lead to serious injury. The tire pressures are dropping, which can cause you to lose control. The underinflation causes the tires to wear unevenly and leads to more frequent replacements.
Additionally, when the TPMS light is on with the tires perfectly inflated, you aren’t going to know when there is a problem. You may not be able to tell if a sensor has gone bad if you ignore it.
The tires will get smaller and you'll have to take care of:
- Delay in driving response
- Additional wear on the tires
- Overheating tires
- You will have a lower traction
- Bumpier ride
- There is less on-road control
For the cost of adding air or repairing the fault, it’s not worth taking the risk. The cost of repair will be less than the amount you would have to pay in case of major accidents. A major collision can cause a drastic change in your lifestyle, especially if you sustain injuries. Are these things worth the useful TPMS warning light?
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