The Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) informs you when the tire pressure gets too low by turning on a dashboard warning light. Proper tire inflation is vital to tire performance, vehicle handling, and carrying ability. A tire inflated to the correct amount will lower tread movement for longer tire life, roll easier for optimal fuel efficiency, and add water dispersion to stop cases of hydroplaning. Low pressure and high pressure in tires can produce unsafe driving conditions.
Low tire pressure can make the tires to wear prematurely, and result to tire failure. An underinflated tire will spin sluggishly, negatively impact fuel economy, and build up extra heat. High tire pressure, or overinflated tires, will cause early wear in the center of the tread, poor traction, and won’t be able to properly absorb road impact. If the tire fails from any of these conditions, it could result to a blowout that causes you to potentially lose control of the car.
What To Do When the TPMS Light Comes On
As soon as the TPMS Light comes on, pull over, the tire pressure in all four of your tires. If one of the tires has a low air, add air until the pressure gets to the manufacturer’s specifications, which can be seen on the inside of the driver’s side door panel. In addition, the TPMS Light may come on if the tire pressure is too high. If this is the situation, check the pressure of all four tires and deflate as required.
The TPMS light may illuminate in any of the following 3 ways:
- TPMS light turns on when driving: If the TPMS Light comes on when you are driving, at least one of your tires has incorrect air pressure. Get to the nearest gas station and check the pressure of the tires. Driving too long on underinflated tires can make the tires undue wear, lower gas mileage, and present safety hazards.
- TPMS flashes on and off:Oftentimes the TPMS Light goes on and off, which can be because of fluctuating temperatures. If the pressure drops overnight, then increases during the day, the light may turn off once the car warms up or once the temperature rises during the day. If the light comes back on once the temperature cools down, you will know the weather is causing the pressure in the tires to fluctuate. It is a good idea to inspect the tires with a gauge and add or take away any air as required.
- TPMS light flashes on and off, then stays permanently on:If the TPMS Light flashes for 1 to 1.5 minutes after you start your vehicle, then remains on, this implies the system is not functioning correctly. A mechanic should look at your car as soon as possible. If you do need to drive, be careful as the TPMS system will no longer alert you of low tire pressure. If you have to drive before a mechanic can look at your vehicle, inspect your tires with a gauge and add pressure as required.
How Safe to Drive with the TPMS Light on?
No, driving with the TPMS Light on is not safe at. It means one of your tires is under inflated or over inflated. You can get the proper tire pressure for your car in your owner’s manual, or on a sticker found on the door, trunk, or fuel door. This can produce undue wear on the tire, potentially lead to a tire failure, and cause a blowout dangerous to you and other drivers on the road. Ensure to refer to your owner’s manual for specific instructions for monitoring your TPMS system, as manufacturers may set their TPMS lights to trigger in different ways.