tire pressure light

What to do when the tire pressure light (T.P.M.S.) goes on

One of the simplest, yet greatest inventions for our vehicle is the Tire Pressure Warning Light (T.P.M.S.).

It lets us know when at least one of our car tires is below a safe pressure.

Or in some cases, it warns us that the TPMS battery is too low to function.

The tire warning light device fits inside of the rim of our tires. (Sometimes, it is on the tire valve stem.)

Most tire pressure lights show up as this warning on the dashboard of our car:

tire pressure light dashboard

Unfortunately, this warning light is shrouded in mystery.

But the good news is my checklist (below) helps you self-diagnose the problem in mere seconds…

Here is what to do when our tire pressure light comes on:

Rapid change in air pressure

Usually in October, the outside air pressure makes a significant change.

And this change might affect our vehicle’s tire pressure.

If the pressure is below the tire’s minimum-recommended amount, the tire-pressure light illuminates.

I always check the spare tire first with a tire gauge. In most cases (in October), this is the culprit.

I call this the “Autumn Hustle” – I go more into detail about it in this podcast episode:


Listen to all my podcasts | Download this episode

Tire pressure light that blinks on and off

If after we start our car and the tire pressure light flashes, this means the TPMS is not working.

Take it to a repair shop (or to your vehicle’s service center if the vehicle is still under warrantee).

If the vehicle’s warrantee period has ended, get ready to pay big bucks for a fix:

TPMS sensors usually cost at least $160.00 each.

And no – if a tire pressure sensor’s battery is too weak to work, I would not replace it. Because TPMS sensor batteries are not designed to be replaced.

Most TPMS sensors last at least 6 years.

Check tire pressure light stays on

When our vehicle’s TPMS light stays on, at least one of our tires is below a safe driving level.

I travel with this digital tire gauge. It is one of the best investments ever. I get the exact tire pressure every time. And this helps me quickly pinpoint the tire that is causing the tire pressure light to stay on.

If the low-pressure tire looks flat to our eye (and we just drove the car yesterday), this is bad. Air is escaping the tire at a rapid rate. And a swap out is needed (with a spare)…

But if the tire looks normal to the eye, I fill the tire with air to the recommended amount.

Most vehicles have the recommended tire pressures on a sticker – usually found within the vehicle’s driver’s side door frame…

The tire pressure warning light should vanish after restarting the vehicle…

Then I track down a repair shop ASAP.

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Markus Allen

Family man. Truth seeker. Traveler... more about me here...

 


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