TPMS Light on but Tires are Fine: Why and How to Fix it

Modern vehicles have a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) built into them. The purpose of the TPMS is to notify the driver whenever one or more tires has low air pressure in them. For instance, let’s say you’re driving over a speed bump too quickly. It could knock some of the air out of your tires. If the tire pressure gets too low, then a TPMS light will illuminate on the dashboard to notify you of this.

TPMS Types

The TPMS is basically an electronic box that is attached to the rim of each tire. Each electronic box is a pressure sensor that transmits tire pressure information to a digital inboard receiver. There are actually two types of TPMS: Direct TPMS and Indirect TPMS.

Direct TPMS – The Direct TPMS is the type of system outlined above where you have sensors attached to each wheel.

Indirect TPMS – The Indirect TPMS is built into your anti-lock braking system. When a tire loses air pressure, the slower speed of the tire rotation is detected by the speed sensors of the Indirect TPMS. This causes the central computer to activate the TPMS light on the dashboard.

Unfortunately, the TPMS is not always 100% accurate. A lot of drivers complain that their TPMS light comes on even though their tires have plenty of air in them. Sometimes the light will go away on its own and sometimes it won’t. You could always disconnect and reconnect the battery to get rid of the light, but it could always come back again if the original problem is not fixed.

3 Common Symptoms

If the tires are fine, then you have to figure out what made the TPMS light come on in the first place. Below are the top 3 reasons why your TPMS light would come on under these conditions.

1) Brutally Cold Weather

Cold weather will reduce the pressure of your tires. It doesn’t matter if you’ve filled up your tires with air to the proper amount of PSI. The cold temperature creates a compression effect, while a hot temperature would create an expanding effect.

When the compression effect occurs, and the tire pressure is reduced, the TPMS naturally believes that you have low tire pressure. That is why it will activate the TPMS light under these circumstances.

2) Bad Tire Pressure Sensor

You may have a bad tire pressure sensor. If your sensor is old or damaged, then it could provide false information to the digital receiver. Sometimes this happens when you hit a bump with your tires, or something hits your sensors.

3) New Tires

If you have direct TPMS, then your system is connected to the rims of your tires. Sometimes the TPMS can get damaged if you replace the tires on your rims. This can happen accidentally if you or the auto serviceperson is not careful. Then your TPMS light will turn on, which will require you to go back to the auto shop and get it fixed.

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How to Fix

There is a reset button inside of the glove compartment in front of the passenger’s seat. It has the label “SET” on it. To verify this information, check your owner’s manual to see if “SET” is the label of the reset button in your vehicle.

Turn on your car engine and push the button for approximately three seconds. Look at the dashboard and wait for the lights to blink approximately three times on it. Once you see the lights link that many times, then you have successfully reset the TPMS. This should fix the issue by deactivating the TPMS light.

If the TPMS light comes back on and your tires are still fine, then you either need to fill them up with air or replace the electronic boxes attached to the rims.

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