Saturday, 13 Jul 2024
Technology

TPMS Light On? What it Means and What You Need to Do

The TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) in your vehicle serves a crucial purpose – it alerts you when your tire pressure is too low, which could lead to unsafe driving conditions. If you see the TPMS light illuminated on your dashboard, it means that your tires might be underinflated, increasing the risk of tire wear and potential failure. Understanding the importance of proper tire inflation and how TPMS can help is essential for your safety on the road.

The Impact of Underinflation and Overinflation

Both underinflation and overinflation of tires can have adverse effects on your driving experience. Overinflated tires can result in decreased traction, premature wear, and reduced ability to absorb impact from the road. You will notice premature wear in the center of the tread if your tires are overinflated. On the other hand, underinflated tires can cause sluggish tire response, decreased fuel economy, excessive heat buildup, and tire overload. If your tires are underinflated, you will observe premature wear on both sides of the tread edges or “shoulders.”

TPMS Indicator

Understanding the TPMS Warning Light

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If you are unfamiliar with tire pressure sensors, locating the TPMS indicator on your dashboard is simple. Look for a horseshoe-shaped light with an exclamation point in the center. When the TPMS warning light illuminates, it is time to take action.

TPMS Light Illuminates While Driving

If the TPMS light comes on and stays on during your drive, it means that at least one of your tires has low pressure. Use a gauge to check the pressure of all your tires, identify the cause of pressure loss, and add air or service the tire(s) as necessary.

TPMS Light Goes On and Off

Fluctuating temperatures can cause your TPMS light to turn on and off when the tire pressures are near the level that triggers an alert. This occurrence is common in situations where the overnight drop in ambient temperature causes the light to turn on, while the light may turn off during the day as the ambient temperature rises or due to heat generated from driving. Use a gauge to check the pressure of all your tires and add air to any tire that is low.

TPMS Light Flashes and then Stays On

If the TPMS light flashes for approximately 60 to 90 seconds when you start your car and then remains illuminated, it indicates that the TPMS is not functioning correctly. In this case, you should take your vehicle to an automotive service center for inspection and repair. Until the TPMS is fixed, it will not be able to warn you of low tire pressure. Use a gauge to check the air pressure of all your tires and add air to the ones that need it.

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Does TPMS Replace Regular Tire Pressure Checks?

No, TPMS does not replace regular tire pressure checks. While understanding what the TPMS warning light means and how to respond to it is crucial, it should not replace the need for routine tire pressure maintenance. TPMS may have limitations, such as the TPMS warning light being set to illuminate below the necessary tire pressure to carry the load in your vehicle, inaccurate transmission of tire pressure data by the sensor(s) to the on-board computer, or the inability to accurately determine if a tire is too low when other tires are also losing pressure. Therefore, even with TPMS, it is essential to check your tire pressure once a month, before long trips, or when carrying extra load.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I locate the TPMS indicator on my dashboard?
A: Look for a horseshoe-shaped light with an exclamation point in the center.

Q: What should I do if the TPMS light stays on during my drive?
A: Use a gauge to check the pressure of all your tires, identify the cause of pressure loss, and add air or service the tire(s) as necessary.

Q: Why does the TPMS light go on and off?
A: Fluctuating temperatures can cause the TPMS light to turn on and off. Check the pressure of all your tires with a gauge and add air to any tire that is low.

Q: What should I do if the TPMS light flashes and then stays on?
A: If the TPMS light flashes for approximately 60 to 90 seconds when you start your car and then remains illuminated, it indicates a malfunction. Take your vehicle to an automotive service center for inspection and repair.

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Conclusion

Understanding the function of the TPMS warning light and how to respond to it is essential for every driver. While TPMS can help alert you to low tire pressure, it is not a substitute for regular tire pressure checks. By checking your tire pressure once a month, before long trips, and when carrying extra load, you can ensure the optimal performance and safety of your vehicle.

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