Tire pressure monitoring system or just TPMS was developed to inform the driver about changed pressure in the tires of the vehicle. Since 2008, the TPMS has become a mandatory equipment for all new USA vehicles.
Can TPMS Light Warning Be Ignored?
When the tire pressure monitoring light remains still, it means that something is wrong. The issue is usually connected with either one tire (or all four tires), which is underinflated or tire pressure sensor malfunction in one tire (or all four tires).
Ignoring the TPMS light warning, sooner or later leads to the following consequences:
Increase in fuel consumption
Underinflated tires significantly affect fuel consumption, increasing it by 2 percent or 1-2 liters per 62 miles. If you see that your fuel consumption increased with the same driving style, the reason might be the low tire pressure rate.
Changes in vehicle`s handling
Lowered tire pressure may seem like a minor problem at first, however its effect is easily felt through different than usual car handling. The vehicle becomes less responsive, especially at passing corners. Moreover, the engine needs more effort to rotate deflated wheels.
Decreased tire`s lifespan
Every tire has its determined life cycle. When a tire has low pressure, the contact patch between the tread and surface increases. Therefore driving on such a tire may lead to faster tire wear, tread separation, or even blowout.
Deterioration of driver`s safety
Driving on low pressure tires is unsafe and may lead to unpredictable consequences. The tire’s sidewall deforms which therefore leads to tire overheat, uneven wear and insufficient grip which can be dangerous for the driver and everyone on the road. Moreover, if you drive a fully loaded vehicle, decreased tire pressure becomes even more noticeable.
How to Reset Tire Pressure Light
TPMS plays a crucial part by informing you that the pressure in your tires has changed. Before resetting your TPMS, check the pressure in all four tires of your vehicle. If the pressure is okay, the light might go off after a few minutes.
If the dashboard still illuminates with TPMS, try some ways below to reset the light.
- Check the tire pressure first, and then ride your vehicle at or above 50 mph for 10-15 minutes. This action resets the sensors, so when you’ll start your vehicle for the next time, the TPMS light should be off.
- Insert the car key to the vehicle, turn the key to the “ON” (first position) but don’t start the engine. The TPMS reset button can be located either on the dashboard, under the steering column or near the gear shifter. If needed consult with your vehicle owner`s manual.
- Hold the TPMS reset button until the tire pressure light blinks thrice, then release it. Start the vehicle and wait for the sensor to re-update.
- With the engine off, locate your battery and disconnect the positive cable with a wrench while taking precautions not to circuit the positive terminal and the vehicle`s body with a wrench.
- Turn the car on and press the horn for three seconds. (or turn on the headlights for 5-10 seconds) It will discharge remaining power in the car. After it’s done, connect the battery back, the TPMS light has to turn off.
Why does TPMS Light Remains On
If after starting the vehicle or while driving it for a while, you notice that the TPMS light remains, visit a gas station or use your portable air pump (if you have it) to check the pressure and add some air to the tire(s).
Usually tires lose their pressure due two common reasons:
- Cold weather. When the temperature outside drops to 10 degrees, tires may lose up to 3 PSI. Simply speaking, when the temperature is cold the pressure inside the tire contracts, and when it`s hot – the pressure extends.
- Tiny puncture. Hitting a nail on the road is the most unpleasant thing. Moreover, the issue might remain unnoticeable until the TPMS informs you about decreased pressure.
- Tire pressure sensor malfunction. It may occur that your tire pressure is fine, but one the problem could be a faulty tire pressure sensor(s). The only way to check it is to visit a local car service shop.
How the Tire Pressure Monitoring System Works
In budget regular TPMS, a pressure mismatch is generated by the ABS anti-lock brake system sensor. Wheels with different pressures rotate at different speeds, and when the system notices a large discrepancy, it raises an alarm. But it cannot determine which particular wheel has low or insufficient pressure, and a message is displayed on the dashboard for the driver like “Check tire pressure”.
A more advanced type of TPMS has a pressure sensor in each tire. It continuously measures the pressure, and then transmits the data via radio to the central main unit. This option is typical for regular monitoring systems in expensive cars, as well as in kits that are sold as additional equipment.
Do I Need to Replace My TPMS When I Get New Tires?
There is no necessity in replacing tire pressure sensors with new tires, but it is a good opportunity to check and make sure they work properly. The TPMS can be of two types – direct and indirect.
Indirect TPMS requires an experienced car mechanic to make a reset of all the sensors after tire change.
Direct TPMS doesn`t need any adjustments to be done.
TPMS serves for about 10 years, before batteries run out. If your vehicle is old, you may need to make TPMS sensors replacement after every five or six years. Consult with your car mechanic about the best period to make the replacement. When new tire pressure sensors are installed, the vehicle`s main unit has to “register” them, so they can operate correctly.
To sum up
The TPMS illuminates when something is wrong. It could be the cold weather effect, tire puncture which leads to air leakage or even tire pressure sensor inaccuracy. Before resetting TPMS, do not hesitate to check pressure in every tire with the gauge first. If the tire pressure is okay, but the TPMS light is on for more than 10 minutes, press the reset button to turn it off.