Almost all car models today have a piece of technology designed to help drivers detect when tire pressure drops. This magnificent tool is known as TPMS, an excellent indicator of air leaks and obstructions that can prevent tires from working properly.
The reality is that all tires, even in optimal conditions, end up losing air, especially when temperature changes intervene. Prolonged driving of a vehicle with low tire pressure prepares them to explode and cause an accident. TPMS is a very useful engineering system that can save us from having a bad time.
However, it may be the case that this monitor causes nothing more than an annoyance when the low-pressure light comes on for no apparent reason while driving. Checking the condition of the tires does not suggest any problems, they are sufficiently filled with air and look perfect! Even so, the low-pressure light does not go away, why does this happen?
Reasons Behind Low Tire Pressure Light But Tires Are Fine
If the TPMS indicates low pressure, but the tires are fine, it’s time to put the tires aside and turn our attention to another problem: a faulty system. First of all, how does tire pressure level monitoring work? It depends on the type of TPMS your vehicle has, as some models perform differently. Let’s group them into two main categories:
- Direct-intervention TPMS: this type of system uses sensors strategically placed at the four corners of the vehicle and measures the pressure in each tire. When the air begins to leak, the sensor sends information to an internal receiver that activates the low-pressure light.
- Indirect intervention TPMS: The system is usually integrated with the anti-lock brakes. Air leaks are detected by the car’s CPU and this, in turn, illuminates to warn the driver.
If your vehicle’s tire pressure control system is a direct intervention system, you should evaluate if any of the sensors have failed. This is normal if you drove over rough terrain, if there was a recent tire change, or if the sensors are worn. This could explain why the TPMS light comes on, even if there is no serious tire damage.
It is also possible that the sensors are in good condition, but the light problem persists. In that case, you may have a defective control unit and even if you put air in your tires you will not achieve anything. If this is the case, it is best to seek professional help and go to a dealer near you. Still, there is a lot you can do yourself to diagnose the current state of your TPMS.
How To Diagnose A Faulty TPMs?
Before you think about how expensive it might be to get your car serviced, you can try a few simple steps that might solve your problem. Turn off the car and wait a few moments to see what happens. Turn it back on and drive it briefly. The low temperature may have affected the sensors, so a short drive may heat the tires and raise their pressure.
If the lights are still on, go to a tire shop or gas station and check to see if you have enough air. If this still does not turn off the lights, reset the TPMS by pressing the button that is usually located on the console or in the glove compartment of your car. We will tell you in detail what to do in the latter case:
- Gently turn the key to the ON position, but avoid starting the engine.
- When you press the reset button, do not release it immediately, but wait at least three seconds. The system will warn you when the warning light goes off.
- When you restart the car, drive it for one hour or 30 minutes, ultimately at a speed of at least 19 mph.
- Check to see if the light comes on again.
If you detect that the low tire pressure signal illuminates again, then the damage to the TPMS sensors is more serious and should be attended to by a qualified professional to check the system. Go to a dealer as soon as possible and avoid pressing the reset button every time the warning light comes on. Finally, we would like to leave you with some final tips that may be useful to you:
- Always carry a small pressure gauge with you as a preventative. This tool, although simple, can help you check the actual tire pressure.
- Do not overload the tires with air, this can cause great wear and affect the handling of the vehicle. Also, if the tires are overinflated, the warning light will not come on and even if you don’t realize it, you will cause great damage to them.
- Replace old or worn tires for your safety.
- Go to a reputable dealer.
Tire blowouts and other mishaps can occur as a result of improper tire inflation. When tires are underinflated, they also wear out more quickly. To check tire pressure, invest in a digital tire pressure gauge that you can keep in your glove compartment at all times, and use it often. Tire pressure should not be increased to the maximum in cold weather, as the pressure will increase as soon as the tires warm up after being driven on.