Low Tire Pressure Light but Tires are fine??
Tires are one of the beaten components of our car. It receives the most friction since we always drive it in different terrains. Because of this, many factors can cause the tire to have problems.
One of these problems is low tire pressure. It indicates an underinflated tire. However, what if you have low tire pressure light but tires are fine? Now that can be confusing, stay tuned to find out the answer!
What’s tire pressure and why does it run low?
Tire pressure is one, if not the most important indicator of your tire’s condition. It focuses on how much inflation your tire has, which means that it alerts you if the tires are in bad shape. Having low tire pressure might mean that the tires have damages which could later cause a flat tire.
So, how does your car correctly alert you when the pressure is running low? Well, this is where the Tire Pressure Monitoring System comes into play, better known as the TPMS. The TPMS is an electronic system that you may find in the tires. It helps monitor the air pressure of each tire.
How the TPMS works?
The TPMS system has three ways of alerting you. We’ll focus on the first one because it’s the most important and shared problem. The standard signal that a TPMS system delivers is a warning light displayed on your dashboard.
It means that the air pressure is running low or the other way around. Remember, tires are also susceptible to over inflation, which is just as dangerous as underinflation. Thus, it means that your tires need immediate inspection and possibly replacement.
Further implications of TPMS lighting
Now that we know the two major TPMS signals, we can go further the more advanced ones. There are other meanings behind the patterns of your car’s TPMS light. Although these are much rarer ones, it can still occur to any car owner.
TPMS blinks repeatedly
If you see the TPMS signal in your dashboard blink, this means that there are fluctuating temperatures that cause the blinking. It is mostly caused by a steep decrease in ambient temperature overnight.
The temperature drops considerably while your car rests, this causes the signal to light up. The next day, as you use your vehicle, temperatures increase, and it causes the light to go off. As the temperatures fluctuate, so will the light.
A significant factor that can affect this temperature fluctuation is the weather. If you’re parking your car outside during winter, expect this to happen. The extreme cold can instantly drop your car’s temperature and cause the lights to turn on.
Be sure to check the air pressure of your car when this happens. Use a gauge and apply air to any tire that’s losing force.
TPMS stays on and remains steady
The last signal pattern is a constant light, which will also appear on your dashboard. If you turn on the engine, the signal will illuminate instantly and will stay on for a good 90 seconds. It will happen every time you start the engine.
The steady light means that your tires are experiencing a problem, which is yet to be determined. It means that you have to stop your car and try to troubleshoot it. Similarly, check the air pressure in each tire immediately should this occur. However, if the air pressure is okay, it’s better to consult with a repair shop instead.
When changing tires
Another way for the TPMS signal to light up in your dashboard is when you’re changing tires. There’s no need to panic here. The TPMS system is only alerting you of an unconnected tire to the axle. It means that the light is also triggered when it can’t detect the TPMS in the tire.
It’s important to note that TPMS can malfunction, which is what we’re trying to find out with this article. TPMS is electronic, which means it’s susceptible to damage and failure.
What if the tires are perfectly fine, but the light is on?
Now that we’re well informed about the TPMS system’s basic principles, we can finally tackle this problem. If you’d ask any professional, this is a rare occurrence, which might make it look as if it’s complicated.
However, it’s not hard to understand. Going back to the TPMS’ installation in your vehicle, we know that we can locate it inside the tires. Since the tires separate with the circuit of the car’s body, it makes use of sensors instead.
Imagine it as a Bluetooth or wireless device that connects itself by the sensory signal. The TPMS sensor inside the tires is like little boxes, similar to a chip. These chips have a particular location, which means that you cannot move it.
Knocked off sensors
It is where the problem begins. Should the chip be misaligned or let off, this will cause the receiver to read the signal that the chips give off inaccurately. Remember, you can locate the sensor at the back of your car, particularly behind the headrest of the back seats.
The receiver then transmits the signal through a wire that runs through your dashboard and battery. It means that the slightest misadjustment will send a ripple effect throughout the system. It’s not just a knocked chip that can cause this, even the battery or the wiring may be the culprit.
To further add, you might think that your tire is fine, but it may be not. Although you applied enough air pressure in your tire, the light might still be on because of a leak. It means that your car has a tiny crack or tear that you can’t see. It’s always good to double-check it with a knowledgeable person.
With all of these problems, we’ll stick with the most common one for now. Misaligned sensors in the tires usually happen if you customize your tires, or you let it undergo treatment. It can also happen over time, especially if you engage in a lot of off-road driving.
Fixing the TPMS lighting problem
A knocked TPMS sensor chip does not mean you need to open the tires and realign it. There’s no reason to do any physical changes or internal operation. The best way to go about this is to reset the TPMS system.
Different car models have different reset procedures. It varies depending on the brand of your vehicle as well. Honda, Toyota, and BMW will have slightly different methods as an example. Thus, always have your car manual ready to understand your vehicle better.
However, most manufacturers follow the basic principles in resetting the TPMS system. To give you at least an overview of how to do it, we’ll give out the necessary steps. Just remember to not rely on this entirely, because nothing is better than following your car’s manual.
Finding the reset button
You can locate the reset button on the TPMS system inside the glove box. The glove box is the compartment built into the dashboard, just located in front of the passenger’s seat.
The exact location of the reset button depends on your car’s model and brand. The only trick here is to find the button that has a “SET” mark. To add, you can look at the signal logo of the TPMS light on your dashboard. Typically, the logo that the TPMS signal light uses is on the reset button.
Pressing the button
The next thing you’ll do is to press the reset button and hold it for three seconds. Remember, the length of holding it can change depending on the model and brand. When the TPMS system light in your dashboard blinks for three times, it means that you have already reset it.
Afterward, just turn the ignition off after five seconds from when the light blinked. Some of the car models have completely different means of resetting their car. The Ford, for example, makes use of a series of brake pedal patterns to reset the switch.
Everything will boil down to your car’s manual.
Wrapping it Up: Preventing TPMS failure
The best cure is prevention. To prevent your TPMS system from malfunctioning, be sure to always inspect and maintain your tires without overdoing it. It will ensure the tires will be in top shape, which will mean less tinkering and damages.
Moreover, don’t forget the electrical source of the system itself. Your battery can play a big part on this. After all, a malfunctioning battery can affect not just the TPMS system but a bunch of other electrical systems in your car. A good example would be your head, signal, and brake lights.
Lastly, avoid any road hazards that usually consists of unleveled pavements and cracked roads. These can not only knock off the sensor, but it can cause a flat tire overall.
So there you have it, your tires might be okay, but the sensors of the TPMS system might not be. It’s quite difficult to troubleshoot because of its different method. Thus, this problem is proof that you should never lose your car manual. Goodluck and stay safe!