Four Little Letters, One Important Warning System: TPMS
What to Do When Your TPMS Light is On
Modern cars are now outfitted with robust computers that make it much simpler to know when something is wrong with your vehicle, and what the cause may be. Beyond just the check engine, oil, and other dashboard lights, many cars now have elaborate systems which will cause a variety of lights to illuminate in case of an issue. One such light is your TPMS indicator, which indicates an issue with your tire pressure. If your TPMS lamp, or any other dashboard light, is illuminated, come see us at AutoStream Car Care Center in Hampden, Maryland. Our expert technicians can diagnose the problem and determine a course of action if tire, engine, or other repairs are needed.
What is the TPMS?
Perhaps you’re wondering what to make of your TPMS lamp. The TPMS, or tire pressure monitoring system, lets you know when the pressure is too low in one or more of your tires. It does this by monitoring the inflation of your tires using sensors on the wheels. Low inflation is often caused by a leak from a puncture or other damage, so if the light illuminates, you should stop driving as soon as possible and take a look at your tires. A minor puncture may be able to be repaired, but major damage may mean you’ll need to replace your tire instead.
Solid vs. Flashing TPMS Light
You may have noticed it doesn’t always exhibit the same characteristics. What could that mean? If the TPMS light illuminates and remains on, it likely indicates that at least one of your tires lacks a sufficient amount of air pressure. Stop driving and check your tires if the light remains solid/steady in appearance. If the light is intermittent–it goes on and off–you need to check for sufficient air pressure. The PSI is probably fluctuating. This is a common occurrence, especially during changing weather conditions. As air cools (with morning, night, or winter temperatures), it contracts. This causes the air pressure inside your tire to drop and cause the warning. Most dashboard lights are designed to illuminate when you start the car, but they go off within seconds. If yours comes on and never goes back off, there may be a problem with the TPMS as a system rather than with your tires.
When checking PSI in response to the illuminated warning, be sure to use a tire gauge instead of guessing. Your safest option is to bring your car in to AutoStream Car Care Center in Hampden right away. We can check your tire pressure, or assess if something is wrong with your TPMS system itself. Whether your car requires tire repair or tire replacement, our certified technicians can take care of the job.