Why Is My Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) Light On?

Filing Tires With Air | Lou's Car Care Center, Inc.


Why is my TPMS light on?

There is always a level of concern that we feel whenever we are driving down the road and we hear that little “ding” and see that something has lit up on the dashboard. Is it a small, easily fixed problem coming up, or something much worse?

One indicator that you might see light up is the TPMS, or tire pressure monitoring system. If you have not seen it before, it looks like a horseshoe with an exclamation point in it. When the TPMS light comes on it means one of two things; either your tire pressure is too high, or it is too low in one or more of your tires. Let’s talk about what you should do when this happens.


Check the recommended tire pressure for your car

Your car should have a recommended pressure for your front and wheel tires written on the doorjam of the driver’s door. If not, check your vehicle’s manual for the correct numbers. Sometimes, the front tire pressure is meant to be slightly higher to compensate for the weight of the engine. Know what these numbers are before you check each tire.


Measure the pressure of each tire

A simple tire gauge is an important tool to have, and you can find them for just a few dollars in any auto store and many general merchandise stores. It is not a bad idea to have a tire gauge in your car at all times so that you can measure your tire pressure at any time and any place. Often, gas stations that have a tire-filling station have a pressure gauge attached that is free to use to check your tires.

To measure the pressure, simply remove the tire valve caps and insert the gauge into the valve.


Fill the tires to the recommended pressure

Once you identify the tires that need to be filled, it is time to pump them up. If you do not have an air pump, many gas stations have a place to fill your tires with air, normally for a few quarters. When your tires are at the correct pressure, the TPMS light should go off when you turn your car back on.


If the TPMS light stays on, or it is blinking... 

If the TPMS light does not go off once your tires are at the correct pressure, you may need to drive your vehicle a few miles to reset the monitor(s) or have a mechanic rest them. If the TPMS light remains on after driving a while, there may be a deeper issue that needs to be addressed within the system.


A blinking TPMS light can also indicate a malfunction with the sensor or somewhere else in the system. If the light continues to come on after you have taken the steps above to fill each tire appropriately, then you should bring your car in to get checked.


Unsure how to deal with your TPMS light? Come visit Lou's Car Care for all your car care and maintenance needs. Serving the Baldwinsville, Syracuse, Camillus, Liverpool, Cicero, Clay, Fayetteville and Manlius, NY communities since 1976!



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