TPMS Light (Tire Pressure Monitoring System)

It’s that time of year again, The weather is up and down and there is a pesky light that comes on and off all the time. We usually see it more around the season’s changing. (see the picture on the right) It is called a TPMS light (tire pressure monitoring system) If you see this light or the message come up to check tire pressures, the tire pressures may need to be adjusted, you may have a leak in a tire, or a faulty monitoring system. Weather is a huge factor in this light coming on. Air pressure expands and contracts with hot and cold. You can find what pressure your tires are supposed to be at in the door jam on the driver’s front door. It should look like this see picture below. If you adjust the tire pressure, there is a plus or minus of 3-5 pounds of pressure before the light comes back on. Keep in mind when you drive the tires heat up and the air may expand so if you can keep it within one or two psi it should keep the light off. If your tire pressure was more than 10 psi low you may have a leak in the tire. You can spray soapy water on the tire to check for bubbles to locate a leak or take it to your nearest shop for evaluation.

There are a few federal regulations that would prevent us from patching your tire. 1. If your tires are at 4/32 or less in tread depth, there is not enough tire material for us to patch the tire or there is already multiple patches in the tire, this compromising the integrity of the tire and can cause you to have vibrations from a belt giving way internally. In these instances the tire must be replaced. 2. The nail or puncture is in the side wall below is a picture of the patchable area, if it is outside this area we cannot patch the tire due to the amount of flex and weight loaded on the tire, plus it would be a waste of your money the tire would need to be replaced. See picture of patchable area.

If you are getting the message and that tire is fine, check the other tires. it is not the correct tire, this could means that when your tires were installed or rotated the system was not relearned or programmed to the correct positions. This would be an extra cost at the time of service, the systems are not always simple to relearn and require several steps and sometimes special equipment to complete. Or you could have a faulty sensor. The Tire Pressure Monitor does have batteries that are not replaceable the life usually runs about 10-15 years. With our experience, sometimes we can read them to see the battery life but in most times they just die without warning. The tire will need to be dismounted and a new TPMS will need to be installed. If your light is on for one or more faulty sensors and it is time for tires, I would just recommend spending the extra at the time of installation for new sensors. We all have busy lives and the sensors were put in to alert us we have a potentially unsafe or destination stopping situation. Let’s face it none of us stop and check all the safety items on our vehicle every time we get in the car. These systems are there to help us. If you get used to one light coming on, you don’t notice any potentially damaging and costly lights later.

If you need an air gauge stop by the shop, we will give you one. Sometimes the gas station gauges take more air out then put in due to people dropping the gauge on the ground multiple times a day. It is important to make sure you have a gauge that is working properly so you are not getting those false readings or damaging the tire while driving on a low tire to get to a shop.

Written by Affinity Automotive Services