There are about 22 dashboard light indicators in your car. There are light indicators for different warnings such as low fuel, low oil, open doors, battery alerts, brake system, engine failure, ABS light, and low tire pressure.
To determine what the lights mean we may need to consult our car manual so we’d know what the warning light means.
Not all car models have the same light indicators, so it is best that you ask your dealer or mechanic. There is this dashboard indicator that looks like a horseshoe with an exclamation mark in the center of it.
Do you know what it stands for?
You may have noticed this light flash a few seconds as you start your car, but then turn off later on. You may have noticed that it is on when one or some of your tires are flat.
This light indicator is for the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) which alerts you if you have low tire pressure.
How Does the TPMS Work?
A pressure sensor that looks like a small electronic box is located on the rim or valves of your tires. This electronic box sends a message to your car’s computer system when the tire pressure is too low.
There are two types of tire pressure systems. The first one is the direct reading where it directly measures the tire pressures. The second one is indirect pressure and measures the speed of the tire rotations.
Why tire rotation speed? It is because when your tires have low pressure, the rotations are much slower.
Why Do We Need to Have Properly Inflated Tires?
Properly inflated tires help extend their lifespan.
Both overinflation and underinflation cause your tires to wear out quickly. Overinflation causes your tires to wear out in the middle. Underinflation, on the other hand, causes sluggish tires, increased fuel consumption, tire overload, and side bulging.
Make sure that you check your tire pressure with a pressure gauge even when the TPMS indicator is off. Remember, the tire pressure light indicator only turns on when your wheels are low on pressure. Always bring a tire inflator so that you can inflate your tires as needed.
Why Does the Low Pressure Light Turn On Even When the Tires are Fine?
There are instances when the low tire pressure lights but the tires are fine; they are not underinflated or flat. Here are some reasons why the low-pressure light is on.
Reason # 1: Decrease in Temperature
During cold weather, your tire’s pressure also decreases. Heat expands matter while cold compresses it. Your tire pressure light indicator briefly turns on but should disappear after a few minutes of driving when the tires are warmed.
When the light does not turn off, check your tires’ pressure.
Reason # 2: You Just Had a Change of Tires
Since the sensors are located on the rims of your wheels, they may have been damaged when you had a tire replacement. Take it back to the automotive shop where you had your tires changed and asked them to check.
Be sure to describe the problem in detail so they can work on it right away. They should repair the damage free of charge.
Reason # 3: TPMS is Not Functioning
If the light indicator flashes every 60 to 90 seconds every time you start your car then remains illuminated after, most likely the TPMS is not working. After checking your tires’ pressures, bring your vehicle to a mechanic so the TPMS can be repaired.
Troubleshooting your TPMS
In some cases, you just need to reset the TPMS to get rid of the low tire pressure light if all the tires are fine.
- Find the TPMS reset button then turn the key on without starting your engine.
- Press and hold the reset button until the flashing light turns off.
- If it is permanently on and the tires are okay, press and hold the reset button until the light flashes three times then shut down the engine.
- After that, you need to drive your car at a speed of at least 19 mph for an hour to completely reset the system.
If the above steps fail, the only option is to bring your car to an automotive shop so a mechanic can determine the real cause. Most likely, the TPMS system is defective and needs to be replaced. It could also be due to electrical problems.
Take note that if you are not confident in troubleshooting your car, the best option is to bring it to an expert to avoid further damage.
If your vehicle has recently come from the automotive shop make sure to bring your service receipts with you when you have it examined. Once it has been established that the problem stemmed from the service, the mechanic should repair the damage.
You should make it a habit to check your car’s tires every time you use your car. Improper tire inflation can cause accidents such as burst tires. Tires also wear out easily if they are not adequately inflated.
Invest in a digital tire gauge pressure to help you check the tire pressure and always keep it in your glove compartment. Check the recommended tire pressure and make sure not to go under or beyond the recommended pressure.
Bear in mind that temperature also affects tire pressure. Therefore, during cold weather do not inflate your car’s tires to a maximum, because once they are warmed the pressure increases.
Remember, the tire pressure indicator does not turn on if the tires are overinflated.
It is also recommended that when there is work done on your car, especially on the tires, check all the light indicators before you leave. This saves you from the hassle of going back to the shop. I hope that your questions have been answered above.
What are your thoughts? Have you ever experienced this?
If you have other questions or concerns about your car’s tires or other car problems, feel free to share them with me so I can help you find out the solution. Feel free to comment or send feedback as well.
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