And Why it is Important to Get It Checked Out
Simply put: Your vehicle has a tire pressure monitoring system to make sure your tires are properly inflated while you drive. Although, most people go without checking their tire air pressure every month, as suggested. Under-inflated tires can cause serious accidents and issues. An estimated 11,000 tire-related crashes case almost 200 deaths each year!
Your vehicle has either a direct or indirect Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). A direct TPMS uses sensors to monitor pressure in each tire, while an indirect TPMS uses wheel speed sensors that are a part of your anti-lock braking. This distinction is important when determining problems with your car’s wheels and its TPMS. Here are a few things to be mindful of when your tire light keeps coming on:
In Cold Weather
As the weather gets colder, the pressure inside your tires in altered. The chilly air causes tires to contract and the low pressure triggers the TPMS on your vehicle, and that little light flicks on. If you park your vehicle outside, your car may also be prone to trigger the TPMS light.
Do not make the mistake of assuming that this is just because of cold weather. Just because the light may turn off does not mean that you’re in the clear. As you drive, friction and rising temperatures can increase the pressure in your tires and the light may disappear. However, your tires may have lost air due to under-inflation and your sensors could have been temporarily misguided by other factors.
Make sure to always check your tire pressure in the morning when your tires are cold. Though it may be temporarily affected by the cold temperatures, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Make sure you are properly checking your tire pressure and do not dismiss your tire light as an effect of chilly weather.
While You’re Driving
It is not uncommon for tires to lose pressure while you are driving, especially if you ran over something. If your tire light comes on while you are driving, make sure to stop somewhere safe and check your tires. If you can identify a flat or popped tire, a tire pressure gauge is not necessary. However, you may need one to check the air pressure in each tire. Be sure to use the tire air pressure indicated on the label on the inside of your driver’s side door panel. If your tires are low, add air to the sufficient tire inflation, and you should be good to go.
Recurring Tire Light
Tip: After inflating your tires, reset the TPMS warning light by pressing a button on your instrument panel. This is necessary on some, not all, vehicles.
If the light stays on after your tires have been inflated and you have reset the warning light, there is a problem with the TPMS (unless you have a slow leak in your tire). This means that there is a bad pressure sensor in one of your wheels, one of the internal batteries have died, or the TPMS has an internal fault. Regardless, have the TPMS replaced.
Maintaining proper tire inflation is a key component of your vehicle’s operation and is essential to vehicle handling, overall tire performance, and load carrying capability. Over and under-inflation can cause premature tread-wear and possible tire failure, which can lead to damage to your vehicle or car accident. Your TPMS warning light will help to warn you when your tire pressure is low. Be mindful of these warning signs and be proactive in getting any car issues checked out by a professional.