Imagine this: you’re in the middle of a long scenic drive. The vast horizon is welcoming you. But, all of a sudden, a little horseshoe-shaped yellow light starts flashing in your car dashboard. This is the tire pressure light, and it’s a warning you should never ignore! Don’t panic – we’re breaking down everything you need to know about flashing tire pressure lights and how to deal with them in this post.
What’s a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS)?
The tire pressure monitoring system, or TPMS, is a sensor system that alerts you when your tires are either over or underinflated. The lights start to illuminate when the tire’s air pressure significantly increases or decreases. Your car’s TPMS plays a vital role in creating a safe driving experience. Therefore, you need to constantly check the TPMS light every time you drive.
Reasons for flashing tire pressure light and how to fix it
Whenever you find the tire pressure light flashing, don’t panic. In most cases, you can deal with it yourself. However, you must never ignore the light or any other such flashing lights. It’s best to get it checked as soon as possible. Here are a couple of reasons why a TPMS light will flash:
Low tire pressure
Low tire pressure is often the most common reason for the tire light to flash. The TPMS light will flash when the air pressure in the tire or tires becomes less than the recommended range. There are multiple reasons for low tire pressure. The tires tend to lose air pressure every month, which could be a reason. Sometimes a simple leak can cause low tire pressure.
Whatever be the reason, if you notice a flashing tire pressure warning light, pull over safely and check tire pressure. Use a tire pressure gauge to check if the pressure matches the normal pressure recommended by the manufacturer. If the pressure is low, inflate the tire to the optimal level. Drive for some time and check if the warning light is still flashing. If not, you’re good to go. If the light still flashes, take your car to the nearest mechanic and check your tires.
Fault in TPMS
A faulty TPMS is another common reason for the light. Every time you start the car, if the light flashes for 60 to 90 seconds and then stays illuminated, in most cases, it’s because of a fault in TPMS. In some cases, the TPMS will not show a warning even if you have a flat tire. All these points towards a problem in the TPMS sensor or components. Check the TPMS and get it repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
Failure to initialize
Every time you adjust the tire pressure or fix the wheels again, the TPMS should be reinitialized without fail. The TPMS can falsely indicate a pressure problem if you don’t set the detection thresholds. Refer to the owner’s manual and set the tire pressure levels as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
Here’s why you should take flashing TPMS seriously:
By ignoring the TPMS light, you’re putting your tires’ longevity and your safety at risk. Underinflated tires can decrease your fuel economy and cause poor tire response. On the other hand, overinflated tires can cause premature wear and decreased traction. All these causes can impact your driving experience and compromise your safety. So, always check your car tires and follow a tire maintenance schedule.
Frequently asked questions
Here are answers to some of the frequently asked TPMS related questions. We hope these answers help you in identifying and fixing the problem.
Can I drive with the TPMS light on?
No. Don’t drive a car with the TPMS light on. The moment you recognize the light is on. Slow down, park your car safely and check the tires. You can also drive to the nearest gas or service station to check them.
My low tire pressure light is blinking, but my tires are fine?
If your tires are fine, but the low tire pressure light still blinks or illuminates, it could be because of a slow leak in the tires. Sometimes, a faulty TPMS could also be a reason.
Where’s the TPMS button located?
In most cars, the TPMS button is located beneath the steering wheel. If you’re not able to locate it, use the owner’s manual.
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