A Tire Pressure Sensor Can Save You From Blowout

A tire pressure sensor is a small programmable electronic device that is located in the pressure pocket of a wheel and a tire and constantly measures the air pressure in the tire. The sensor transmits this information via low-frequency radio to the vehicle’s onboard computer and, if available, to a corresponding display in the instrument cluster.

It is displayed in pounds per square inch (psi) and has a yellow warning light on to warn you if one or more tires are short of air.

Tire pressure sensors are an essential part of the so-called tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). Millions of these systems have been installed in passenger cars since the 2008 model year when they became mandatory in the United States.

Tire pressure sensors are typically attached to the valve stem assembly of each tire and are battery operated.

It Warns You That Your Tire Is Low

In the event that the sensor detects that the air pressure in a tire has dropped to a dangerously low level 25 percent below the recommended air pressure according to federal government regulations – a warning message or a light is displayed in the instrument cluster.

Tire pressure recommendations for the tires that were originally on a car can usually be found on a label on the sill of the driver’s door.

TPMS sensors are powered by batteries that are designed to last for several years but eventually lose their charge. Since the sensors cannot be easily removed when the battery is empty, the entire sensor must be replaced.

Replacement tire sensors vary in price depending on the vehicle and are available from many sources, from Amazon to Advance Auto Parts to Tire Rack or at your local tire store. Expect at least $ 100 for a set of 4 to be replaced at a repair shop or tire store.

You can continue to drive indefinitely with a failed TPMS sensor in one or more wheels, but then the system can never warn you if you have detected a puncture and are about to blow out.

There is a second type of tire pressure monitoring system that works completely differently. No tire pressure sensors are used in the tires, but the wheel speed sensors of the anti-lock braking system are used to determine if the speed of a particular tire does not match the others.

This indicates that the suspect tire has changed circumference and may have lost air pressure.

To ensure that your vehicle’s TPMS system pressure sensors stay on for as long as possible, always replace the valve stem cap after checking the air pressure or inflating the tires. This helps prevent corrosion of the valve stem, especially when salt is used to clear the roads in winter.

Tire Pressure Sensor

If the TPMS Warning Light Comes On

The purpose of the TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) is to warn you when the tire pressure is too low and may cause unsafe driving conditions. If the light is on, your tires may be underinflated, which can lead to excessive tire wear and possible tire damage.

It is important to understand the importance of properly inflating your tires and how TPMS can help you avoid a dangerous situation.

Both overfilling and underfilling can lead to premature tread wear and possible tire failure. Overinflation can lead to decreased traction, premature wear and tear, and the inability to absorb road impact. Overfilled tires show premature wear in the center of the tread.

On the other hand, underinflation leads to a sluggish tire reaction, reduced fuel consumption, excessive heat build-up, and tire overload. A tire with insufficient air pressure shows premature wear on both sides of the tread edges or “shoulders”.

If this is your first time learning about tire pressure sensors, finding the TPMS indicator on your dashboard is easy. It’s a horseshoe-shaped light with an exclamation point in the middle.

What Does A TPMS Warning Light Mean?

Do you know what to do when the TPMS low tire pressure icon illuminates? The first thing to do is to manually check your tire pressure with a pressure gauge and add air until the pressure reaches the vehicle manufacturer’s specification. (The correct pressure can be found on the driver’s door jamb or in the owner’s manual, not on the sidewall of the tire – this is the maximum tire pressure.)

Note that your TPMS is not a substitute for routine tire pressure maintenance. It’s a tool that can be used to get notified when the pressure is low. However, a tire can drop below the correct tire pressure long before the TPMS warning light comes on. The TPMS indicator lights up when the tire pressure becomes too low or too high.

  • Tpms Light Illuminates While Driving: When the TPMS light comes on and stays on  at least one of your tires is at a low pressure level. Check the pressure of all of the tires with a gauge and determine the cause of pressure loss and add air or service the tire(s) as appropriate.
  • Tpms Light Goes On And Off: When tire pressure(s) are near the level that triggers an alert, fluctuating temperatures may be causing your TPMS light to turn on and off. This typically occurs when pressure decreases over night due to a drop in ambient temperature that causes the light to turn on; the light may turn off when pressure increases during the day due to rising ambient temperature and/or heat generated from the driving the vehicle. Use a gauge to check the pressure of all of the tires and add air to any tire that is low
  • Tpms Light Flashes And Then Stays On: If the light flashes for approximately 60 to 90 seconds every time you start your car and then remains illuminated, this means the TPMS isn’t functioning properly and you should take it to an automotive service center for an inspection. Until repaired, the TPMS is out of order and is not able to warn you of low tire pressure. Check the air pressure of all of the tires with a gauge and add air to the tires that need it.

Does A Tpms Replace Regular Tire Pressure Checks?

No! Understanding what a TPMS warning light means and what to do when it comes on is an important part of the driver’s responsibility. However, it should not be a substitute for regular tire pressure checks. Why? Depending on the situation, the TPMS may have limitations such as:

  • The TPMS warning light can be set to illuminate below the tire pressure required to carry the load in the vehicle.
  • The sensors may not accurately transmit the tire pressure data to the on-board computer.
  • The system may not be able to accurately determine if a tire is too low if other tires are depressurizing at the same speed.

Therefore, you should also use TPMS to check the tire pressure once a month and before a long journey or when carrying an additional load.

FAQs.

How much does it cost to replace a tire pressure sensor?

The average cost for TPMS sensor replacement is between $205 and $250. Labor costs are estimated between $54 and $68 while parts are priced between $152 and $183. This range does not include taxes and fees and does not factor in your specific vehicle or unique location. Related repairs may also be needed.

Do tire pressure sensors need to be replaced?

Yes, tire pressure sensors also need to be replaced especially when they have already gone through enough wear and tear and are already beginning to wear out and suffer damages as a result of their regular functions. You also need to consider where tire air pressures sensors are located, which is the wheel of the car.

Why is my tire pressure light on when my tires are fine?

When air pressure on one or more of your tires falls below 25%, the TPMS light comes on. Before you inflate the tires thinking that the air pressure is incorrect, be sure to check for yourself.

How do you fix a tire pressure sensor?

Press the TPMS reset button and hold it until the light blinks three times, then release it. Start the car and let it run for 20 minutes to reset the sensor. You’ll usually find the tire pressure monitor reset button beneath the steering wheel. Check your user’s manual if you’re having trouble locating it.

How long does it take to replace a tire pressure sensor?

Replacing a tire pressure sensor can take anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour. It’s recommended to have your tire sensor replaced by a professional, especially if you’re not familiar with the equipment.

Where is TPMS sensor located?

Where is the tire pressure sensor located? It is inside the tire attached to the inner part of the rim. If you remove the tire from the rim, you’ll see a small cylinder, which is the tire pressure sensor.

How much is a tire monitor sensor?

Replacement tire sensors vary in price depending on your vehicle and can be found from many sources, from Amazon to Advance Auto Parts to Tire Rack—or at your local tire store. Expect to pay at least $100 for a set of four, and they need to be replaced at a repair facility or tire store.

What happens when TPMS battery dies?

When the battery in a TPMS sensor dies, it will trigger a malfunction warning from the system, indicated by a blinking TPMS light on your dashboard. It may continue to flash, or it may turn solid after 60-90 seconds.

Can I drive with TPMS light on?

It’s not safe to drive around with your TPMS light illuminated. Without a tire inspection, there’s no way of knowing how quickly air is leaving your tire, or for how long it has been over or underinflated. The best course of action is to use a tire pressure gauge to check the current inflation level of each tire.

Why won’t my tire pressure light go off?

If you’ve inflated your tires to the proper air pressure, but the warning light stays on, you may have a leak or there’s a problem with the TPMS in one or more of your tires. It’s simple enough to check if there’s a leak in a tire. Just use your tire gauge to recheck the air pressure in all your tires.

Why does my tire sensor light keep coming on?

When the TPMS warning light comes ON and stays ON, this indicates a low tire pressure condition in one or more tires. Inflating the tire to the recommended tire pressure found on the door placard should cause the light to turn OFF.

How can you tell which tire sensor is bad?

After starting a vehicle, a TPMS icon will turn on for a few seconds; however, if it stays on, it indicates that one or more of the tires on the vehicle are at least 25% below the recommended pressure. If the light flashes for approximately one to two minutes, it indicates there is a malfunction in the TPMS system.

How long do tire sensors last?

Fortunately, not every issue is a big deal and isn’t cause for alarm. If your TPMS light has turned on, you could just have a dead battery. How doing do tire pressure monitoring batteries usually last? About 7-10 years.

How long does it take to replace car sensors?

There are four 02 sensors in a car, two upstream and two downstream. The rear sensor takes about 10 minutes to replace and another 10 minutes to check the engine computer, so it shouldn’t take more than a 1/2 hour to change one.

How long does it take to remove a tire?

Aside from taking your tire to a professional, the above procedure shouldn’t take more than 15 to 30 minutes to change a tire. Just be sure you don’t leave out any steps. It’s beneficial to practice changing a tire in your garage or driveway to ensure you’re ready to handle this situation if it ever happens to you.

Can a TPMS sensor leak?

Yes, a TPMS can leak air provided the necessary conditions allow it to. For instance, if you replace an old one with a new TPMS snap-in valve meant for use only with a TPMS sensor, air may leak out due mainly to their incompatibility.

Can the tire pressure sensor malfunction?

The tire pressure sensors can withstand a lot of heat and wear inside the tires, and sometimes they can fail.

How do you fix a tire pressure sensor fault?

Hold the TPMS reset button until the tire pressure light blinks three times, then release it. Start the car and wait 20 minutes for the sensor to refresh. The TPMS reset button is usually located beneath the steering wheel. If you are unable to find it, refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

Can you drive with a faulty tire pressure sensor?

It is unsafe to drive with a tire pressure sensor fault because this could mean that one of your tires may be losing air pressure. So, when you do get the tire pressure fault message or icon, it is important to pull over to a nearby gas station to check your tires and re-inflate them if necessary.

What causes tire pressure sensor fault?

Corrosion is an issue with sensors that have aluminum stems, not the ones with rubber stems. TPMS module, keyless entry, and wiring faults can also prevent a TPMS system from working, but these types of problems are much less common.

How do I know if my tire pressure sensor is bad?

After starting a vehicle, a TPMS icon will turn on for a few seconds; however, if it stays on, it indicates that one or more of the tires on the vehicle are at least 25% below the recommended pressure. If the light flashes for approximately one to two minutes, it indicates there is a malfunction in the TPMS system.

Why is my tire pressure light on when my tires are fine?

When air pressure on one or more of your tires falls below 25%, the TPMS light comes on. Before you inflate the tires thinking that the air pressure is incorrect, be sure to check for yourself.

Where is my TPMS reset button?

In most vehicles, the TPMS reset button is found beneath the steering wheel. After changing the tires on your vehicle, the TPMS needs to be electronically reset in order to clear the error code. To do this, hold in the TPMS reset button until the tire pressure light blinks three times, then release the button.