Why is the Tire Pressure Light On When Tires Are Fine?

A built-in tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is now available on a number of vehicles. When the air pressure in your tires falls below the proper temperature, an indicator light will flash in your dashboard.

You may discover a menu in the dashboard information system that will tell you which of the four tires is having an issue. However, there are a number of situations in which the TPMS light may be on but your tires don’t need to be changed or maintained.

When this happens and all of your tires appear normal. There are a variety of reasons why this light might come on even when your tires are fine. One reason is that the temperature outside has dropped. This is why it’s advised to keep a tire pressure gauge in the car so you can double-check and verify it.

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What is Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)?

It is a sensor in the form of a tiny chip that’s put in each of your vehicle’s tires. Its sole purpose is to ensure that each tire has the correct pressure. This is sometimes referred to as TPMS. When your chip detects that your tire’s air pressure is 25% below the suggested range, the TPMS light on your dashboard will go on. You should first check and verify that your tires are correctly inflated. Generally speaking, there are two types of sensors:

Direct TPMS

All four wheels have sensors in a system with Direct TPMS. When the tire pressure is low, a signal is sent to the digital receiver. This version is most common on new vehicles.

Because of the position of the sensors, there is a danger of wear-and-tear or damage from tire servicing or when travelling over harsh bumps. Some variation of this system might include sensors placed in the tire valves, which is where the air intake on each wheel leads.

Indirect TPMS

Instead of using a sensor on the wheels, Indirect TPMS employs sensors that are positioned on the Anti-Lock Brakes. Sensors are used to determine if the rotation speed is too slow, and when it is, the tire pressure is too low.

Indirect TPMS is more durable and less likely to fail than the other two types. The disadvantage of indirect TPMS is that it only informs you if one tire is running low, as each wheel’s sensor must be activated by movement in order for it to operate correctly.

mazda vehicle manufacturer label

How to check your tire pressure:

  1. You can check the tire pressure with a separate tire pressure gauge (which you can get for a reasonable price from most shops). If you don’t have one, go to a gas station or tire shop and ask for help.
  2. Check the vehicle’s instruction manual for recommended pressure, and you may discover this data etched on a label in the driver’s inner door panel.
  3. Fill up to the correct air pressure amount. After, the TPMS light may need a few minutes to reset and should go off after driving for a little while.

If the light keeps on for long periods of time, it’s most likely due to a small issue (a reset is required) or that you’ll have to bring it into the shop for repairs (one or more sensors may need replacing).

QUICK TIPS:

Keep in mind that all of the dashboard lights come on for a few seconds when the engine starts up to ensure that everything works properly. so if the TPMS light goes on for a few seconds each time you start your car, this does not indicate that the tire pressure is low.
However, if the light does not come on even when you first start the car, you should contact your local dealership immediately. It is always better to figure out something sooner rather than later in either circumstance.

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What does the TPMS light tell you?

You may notice the TPMS light behaving in a number of ways:

It stays on all the time

This could signify that one or more of your tires has insufficient air pressure. If you’ve already confirmed this isn’t the problem, it might mean there’s a problem with the TPMS sensor.

You may observe that the TPMS light blinks for a few minutes before going off permanently if you start the engine. If this is what you’re seeing, make an appointment with your local dealer and have it repaired as soon as possible.

It’s Coming On and Off Periodically

If the TPMS light is on and off at random, this might be an indication that the tire pressure reading is being shifted by external conditions.

This is typical in winter when the temperature drops during the night or when winters affect tire pressure readings. When the temperature rises again, the reading will return to normal.

This is a very typical occurrence, and there’s no cause for alarm. It may not matter much in the long run, but it wouldn’t hurt to double-check the air pressure when you’re coming out of winter.

checking tire pressure

Why Is It Important to Maintain Proper Tire Pressure?

For optimal driving and gas mileage, you should always ensure that the tire pressure is set correctly. Aside from better fuel economy, there are several benefits, including:

Slow tire tread wearing

Tires will last longer and you won’t have to replace them as frequently if they’re properly cared for. When tire pressure is low, the tire will come into more touch with the road surface, which might result in damage. It’s not advised to drive with underinflated tires on snow, gravel, or sand.

Longer Lasting wheel

Increased air pressure can cause your ride to feel more rigid and uncomfortable. The higher air pressure will also cause the tire to wear more quickly. Too much friction and heat will cause the tire to wear down prematurely, which might lead to a flat tire, tire blowout or tread erosion.

Reduced rolling resistance

With a lower rolling resistance, you’ll get more miles per tank with the same amount of gasoline.

Better resistance to moisture

Your vehicle will be better prepared to maintain control when driving over water, reducing the chance of your tires losing traction on the road surface.

QUICK TIPS:

The Tire Pressure Light and Monitor System is only designed to detect low air pressure. You may not be aware that you are driving with excessive pressure, which is why it’s always suggested to use a separate tire pressure meter and check it on a regular basis.

tire pressure warning light in dashboard

Why is the tire pressure light on?

There are a number of reasons why this is happening:

Outside Temperature Change (Most Likely)

If you live in a cold climate, keep tire temperature measurements outside the house in the morning. When the temperature is higher, this could result in too much air entering the tire for driving throughout the day.

This is also why the tire pressure light comes on when the outside temperature falls. Because the density of air varies according to the temperature, the tire pressure warning may activate since the reading is influenced by the cooler temperature.

Tire Change or Rotation was Recently Performed

If the tire position on the wheel was altered, the tire sensors may need to be reset. This may simply imply that you must drive around for a few minutes so that the tire can reset depending on the vehicle. If this doesn’t work, you may have to go to a dealership or garage for complete calibration.

The TPMS Sensors are damaged

The sensors on the TPMS Direct system may become damaged over time due to the vehicle’s travels over tough bumps or during tire servicing. Over time, the onboard battery is also expected to wear out, typically lasting around 5-10 years.

The sensor might also be destroyed in this scenario if the physical tire is damaged or if it is filled with anything other than air or nitrogen (such as flat-repair sealants or fix-a-flat).

The wheel speed sensors are faulty

The wheel speed sensors may be damaged on a TPMS Indirect system, sending the wrong signal.

Pressure in Spare Tire is Low

If your tire pressure warning light begins to glow when you are using a spare, this might be the cause and is not an issue since you will most likely only utilize the extra tire for a short time.

QUICK TIPS:

Not all tires have tire pressure sensor, so if you are buying tires, new or used, you should make sure that the tires have TPMS sensors if you want the car to be able to provide a warning when you are using it.

Why is My Tire Pressure Light On

What to do when your low tire pressure light won’t turn off

If this happens, you should seek out a safe location and inspect your tires to see if any of them are beginning to look flat. In some situations, it’s as simple as adding more air to the tire or restoring the air pressure back to normal.

Check all of the tires and their pressure levels. If a tire appears flat, replace it and use a spare right away. Here are other things you can consider doing:

When driving in colder weather

You may observe the TMPS warning coming on in the morning or whenever the temperature drops below a certain point. When air pressure on one or more of your tires falls below 25%, the TPMS light comes on.

Before you inflate the tires thinking that the air pressure is incorrect, be sure to check for yourself. Because inflating them when the air pressure is too low might result in the air pressure being too high during the hotter part of the day.

The ideal thing to do is check the air pressure reading at a time when it’s warm. If the measurement is correct and the tire pressure light only comes on during the cold part of the day, you can assume that the sensor reading was just impacted by temperature and may safely ignore the TPMS warning light.

Getting it fixed

In many cases, simply ensuring that air pressure in each tire is sufficient and at the stated level either in the handbook or displayed on the inside driver door panel may be all that is required to fix the problem.

If your tire pressure light is on, contact your dealership to have your vehicle looked at as soon as possible.

Even if your warranty has run out, replacing the TPMS light is usually simple; therefore, the cost of fixing it should be fairly inexpensive, perhaps around $100-300.

Check to see whether your warranty is still valid; it may allow you to have this done for free. Alternatively, you may discover a trustworthy local tire business that can do it for a good price.

If the light is still on after adding air

The first step is to use a tire pressure gauge to get a second reading to ensure that air pressure in the tire is correct. If the light on your dashboard remains on after a long while, it’s an indication that one or more of the tires is leaking air.

If the TPMS warning light flashes on for 1 second, then off for 3 seconds repeatedly, this is an indication that the vehicle has issues with one or more of the sensors. As soon as possible, contact your dealership and have the vehicle serviced.

Perform a system reset

In most vehicles, there is a simple procedure for resetting the TPMS warning light. Check the owner’s handbook to see whether there is a specific method for resetting the TPMS warning light.

On some car models, there is a reset button in the glove compartment or in the car settings menu. If it does, try doing this:

  1. Put your car on idle (start the car without turning it on)
  2. Hold down the reset button and wait 3 seconds.
  3. When the TPMS warning light goes off, you should hear a beep.
  4. After that, start the engine and drive the car for about 30-45 minutes at a constant speed of at least 30 km (around 20 miles).
  5. Once this is done, the TPMS sensor should be successfully reset.

On Toyota vehicles, the steps are similar: 

  1. Simply start the car
  2. Press and hold the TPMS button while the TPMS light flashes 3 times slowly.
  3. Afterward, release the button.

QUICK TIPS:

You shouldn’t have to reset the TPMS sensors too often or regularly. If the TPMS sensor comes back on and stays on, call your dealership to inspect the TPMS sensors since they may be faulty.

what to do with a flat tire

Is It Safe To Drive The Car When the TPMS Warning Light Is On?

If you ignore the TPMS Warning Light, it might develop into a serious tire problem that may bring about issues for you and other road users.

If your tires are underinflated, they might be prone to failure, blowout, and overheating, all of which you should think about seriously. With the vehicle becoming less willing to drive straight, you will notice a decrease in control over the roadway.

When tires are underinflated, on the other hand, they will wear more quickly and driving will be considerably bumpier.

When the TPMS warning is on, you might discover that the vehicle can be driven with no or little difficulty, but it will eventually lead to these problems:

  • Increase wear on the tires
  • Poor driving response
  • Tires overheating
  • Reduced tractions
  • Bumpier ride with less traction
vehicle manufacturer label

How To Fix the TPMS Sensor?

In many cases, simply ensuring that air pressure in each tire is sufficient and at the stated level either in the handbook or displayed on the inside driver door panel may be all that is required to fix the problem.

If your tire pressure light is on, contact your dealership to have the problem investigated and resolved as soon as possible.

Even if your warranty has run out, replacing the TPMS light is usually simple; therefore, the cost of fixing it should be fairly inexpensive, perhaps around $100-300. Check to see whether your warranty is still valid; it may allow you to have this done for free. Alternatively, you may discover a trustworthy local tire business that can do it for a good price.

checking tire pressure with meter

Is the TPMS Sensor Accurate?

The Tire Pressure Monitoring System is supposed to provide you with a fast reading of each tire’s air pressure, but it can be fooled by outside temperatures or damaged.

The ideal thing to do every day or so is to conduct a visual inspection of your tires. It doesn’t need to be exhaustive, but at the very least you’ll know something is wrong.

Another good idea is to keep a separate tire pressure gauge or meter handy in the vehicle. This gadget is extremely useful to check and verify the reading received by the car’s TPMS, ensuring that it is correct.

What Can I Do To Reduce TPMS Warnings?

The chance of the TPMS Warning coming on can be lowered by performing some basic regular maintenance on your automobile. You should check the tire pressure once a week, or when you wash your vehicle.

If you use your car a lot or for long distances on a regular basis, it’s recommended that you have the TPMS sensors tested every four to six months. Before it is completely used up, replace and refurbish the wheels.

If you’ve exhausted all of these techniques and still can’t get your TPMS sensors to function, this might indicate that replacement is the only alternative. Your local dealership will most likely give tools and diagnostic tests to determine whether or not the sensors need to be replaced.

QUICK TIPS:

Always have your wheel replaced or serviced by a trained expert or have your dealership’s service department handle it for you.

checking tire pressure

Conclusion

If you notice the tire pressure light come on, it’s probable that one or more of your tires has low air pressure. You should not rely solely on the reading from the vehicle’s tire pressure monitoring system though; there are numerous factors that can cause the sensors to go off even if your tires are in good shape.

There are other vehicle maintenance factors to be aware of, which we’ve addressed in this post. If you have a few minutes, read these articles:

How To Know When a Timing Belt Change is Needed?

How Long Should Brakes Last and When To Replace?

How To Know When a Timing Belt Change is Needed?

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5 thoughts on “Why is the Tire Pressure Light On When Tires Are Fine?”

  1. I was to the tire store every day for three weeks and could not get the tpms light to go out. I went to the dealership three times and could not get the tpms light to go out. I check my air pressure daily. I drive the speed limit. I purchased new tires and the tpms light still would not go out. That was at the 5,000 mile mark. Now a couple thousand miles more it still will not go out.

    Reply
  2. The tire store is a great resource for owners who need to maintain their tires. One may go there every day for weeks and the TPMS light will remain on. There are many reasons why this may happen, from pressing too hard on the sensor to installing items near the sensors. While you might feel lost or frustrated, your tire store associates can help you diagnose your problem. I purchased new tires & the TPMS light was still on. It stayed on up to the 5,000 mile mark. Now a couple months in, it’s not going off anymore

    Reply
  3. Early in the page it says “When your chip detects that your car’s temperature is 25% below the suggested range, the TPMS light on your dashboard will go on.” Shouldn’t “your car’s temperature” be “the pressure in one of your car’s tires”?

    Reply

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