April 21, 2024

How to Troubleshoot a Tire Pressure Sensor Fault in Your Car

Tire Pressure Sensor Fault

Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) are crucial, for maintaining the safety of your vehicle. They alert drivers to tire pressure sensor faults that could impact performance or create driving conditions. TPMS plays a role in warning about both under inflation and over inflation which can lead to tread wear and potential tire failures. This feature underscores the importance of keeping tires at the pressure levels.

Knowing how to troubleshoot a tire pressure sensor fault is essential for any driver who wants to ensure their vehicles safety and durability. This article will help you recognize the signs of a TPMS provide steps to deal with a tire pressure sensor issue and highlight the risks of ignoring TPMS alerts. It will also discuss the advantages of diagnosis and why regular maintenance is key, to preventing sensor problems.

Understanding Tire Pressure Sensor Faults

Tire pressure sensors faults can occur due, to reasons affecting both the safety and performance of the vehicle. To grasp these problems one must identify their origins and how they interact with the cars systems.

Causes of Tire Pressure Sensor Faults:

  • Low tire pressure or a malfunctioning TPMS sensor.
  • Common causes include low battery voltage, damage from road debris, exposure to extreme temperatures, corrosion, sensor age, and faulty wiring.
  • TPMS sensor issues can also stem from a dead battery or damage during tire installation or removal.

TPMS Sensor and Communication:

  • TPMS sensors are either direct, using sensors inside each tire, or indirect, utilizing the wheel speed sensors of the anti-lock braking system (ABS).
  • These sensors monitor tire pressure and send information to the vehicle’s onboard computer using wireless technology, such as RF signals.
  • When the air pressure, in a tire falls below the recommended level the TPMS sensors send a message to the cars computer, which then activates a warning, about tire pressure.

Lifespan and Replacement:

  • TPMS sensors have a limited lifespan, typically around 7-10 years, with batteries that are not replaceable.
  • If one TPMS sensor fails, it can be replaced individually.
  • Replacing all four TPMS sensors can cost between $200 and $800, depending on the vehicle and sensor type.

Understanding these aspects of tire pressure sensor faults is crucial for maintaining optimal tire service and safety.

Signs and Symptoms of a Malfunctioning TPMS

Recognizing the indications and cues of a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is essential, for ensuring the safety and performance of your vehicle. Below are a few signals that could suggest problems, with your TPMS;

Warning Lights and Alerts:

  • TPMS Warning Light Illumination: Persistent or flashing light signals a system issue.
  • Inaccurate Tire Pressure Readings: Discrepancies between manual gauge readings and the car’s display panel.
  • Unresponsive System: Inability to reset the TPMS warning light or lack of system response to air pressure adjustments.

Performance Impacts:

  • Increased Fuel Consumption: Driving on under-inflated tires due to unnoticed leaks can lead to higher fuel usage.
  • Handling Concerns: Low tire pressure may result in difficult steering and an overall jerky driving experience.

Sensor Specific Issues:

Incorrect Alerts: False alarms about tire pressure can result from sensor malfunctions.

Post Tire Replacement Issues: The TPMS light turning on after tire changes might indicate sensor damage or need for recalibration.

These symptoms highlight the importance of regular TPMS checks and prompt attention to any warning signs to ensure optimal vehicle performance and safety.

Effects of Neglecting TPMS Warnings

Neglecting tire pressure sensor fault warnings can lead to a cascade of adverse effects on your vehicle’s performance, safety, and economy. Here’s a closer look:

Safety Hazards:

The chances of accidents are higher because of reduced control extended braking distances and difficult steering in situations.

There is a probability of tire blowouts caused by overheating when driving at fast speeds or, in warm weather putting both the driver and other road users at risk.

Economic and Environmental Impacts:

Decreased fuel efficiency occurs when the engine adjusts for tires resulting in trips to refuel and increased carbon dioxide emissions.

Premature tire deterioration leads to replacements causing expenses and adding to environmental pollution.

Vehicle Performance Issues:

Reduced traction and grip when braking and turning can impact how you feel while driving.

The strain, on your car parts could cause them to wear out faster leading to repairs, in the future.

Taking care of a tire pressure sensor issue not just keeps you safe but also saves you money and helps the environment by keeping your vehicle running efficiently and extending the lifespan of your tires.

Troubleshooting a Faulty Tire Pressure Sensor

When the warning light, for tire pressure sensor issues lights up it’s a sign that you need to act to check if your vehicles tires have the pressure, for safety and performance. Here’s a simple method to troubleshoot;

Immediate Checks and Adjustments:

  • Manually check tire pressures with a reliable gauge.
  • Adjust the pressure in all tires, including the spare, according to the manufacturer’s specifications. This is crucial as incorrect tire pressure is a common reason for persistent warnings.
  • Drive the vehicle for about 10 minutes; this can sometimes reset the sensor and turn off the warning light.

Sensor and System Reset:

  • If the light remains on, locate the TPMS reset button (refer to the vehicle’s manual) or check for any blown fuses related to the TPMS system.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for resetting the TPMS. This often involves turning on the ignition and pressing the “SET” button for a specific duration.

Advanced Troubleshooting:

  • For persistent issues, use a TPMS diagnostic tool to read sensor information. This can identify if a sensor is malfunctioning.
  • Consider the vehicle’s recent history: tire rotations, replacements, or air pressure adjustments may necessitate a TPMS relearn procedure. The type of relearn procedure (auto, stationary, OBD) varies by manufacturer.
  • If a sensor is indeed faulty, replacement might be the most effective solution. Ensure compatibility with your vehicle model and follow all installation instructions provided with the replacement component.

Regular tire checks and understanding your vehicle’s TPMS can preemptively address many issues related to tire pressure sensor faults, maintaining both safety and performance.

Professional Diagnosis and Repair

When you come across a problem, with your tire pressure sensor it’s best to get help from an expert to make sure the problem is identified and fixed correctly. Here’s a step by step guide, on how to deal with situations;

Immediate Professional Diagnosis:

Schedule a service appointment promptly upon noticing a TPMS warning. Tire repair shops have specialized tools for diagnosing and fixing TPMS issues efficiently.

For commercial trucks, companies like STTC provide 24/7 emergency road service, focusing on quick resolution to prevent safety hazards and further complications.

Understanding Replacement Needs:

Individual sensor replacement is possible if only one sensor fails. However, if the failure is due to a battery issue, it’s likely other sensors may soon fail too. Sensor replacement can cost up to $150.

Utilize emergency repair kits cautiously. Verify if the kit is sensor-safe to avoid causing expensive damage.

Educating the Customer:

Let the customer know away if any problems are found during the check. Being open, about it helps set expectations and prepare for expenses.

Emphasize the need to reset the system within 2 minutes to prevent the learn mode from timing out. This will make the repair process seamless. Prevent repetition.

Following these steps ensures not the safety and efficiency of the vehicle. Also educates the owner on why TPMS maintenance is crucial.

Preventive Maintenance and Regular Checks

Taking care of your vehicles Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) through maintenance and regular inspections is crucial, for its durability and dependability. Here are a few suggested guidelines;

Monthly Tire Pressure Checks:

Use a reliable tire gauge to manually check the pressure of all tires, including the spare, at least once a month.

The correct tire pressure information can be found on a sticker on the door frame, not on the tire sidewall.

Professional Handling:

Choose professionals with the proper equipment for tire installations or removals to prevent sensor damage.

Ensure repair shops use tools that release air from the tire without removing the core from the valve stem.

Sensor Maintenance Tips:

  • Apply dialectic silicone grease on threaded portions of the stems to prevent corrosion.
  • Always fit a good cap on the stem to keep moisture out and avoid using decorative metal caps on aluminum valve stems to prevent galvanization.
  • When airing up tires with aluminum stems, ensure the air chuck head is placed straight onto the valve stem to prevent bending and potential breakage.

Following these guidelines not only helps in maintaining the efficiency of your TPMS but also contributes to the overall safety and performance of your vehicle.


Throughout this, in depth article we’ve highlighted the role of the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) in ensuring the safety, efficiency and longevity of vehicles. From recognizing signs of a system to grasping the root causes of tire pressure sensor fault and the value of assessment this guide serves as a crucial tool for drivers. The focus on inspections, troubleshooting actions and the benefits of proactive maintenance has emphasized the importance of staying ahead in TPMS care to prevent potential risks and enhance vehicle performance.

In summary ignoring TPMS alerts or delaying actions not jeopardizes your safety but can also result in higher operational expenses and a diminished driving experience. Considering the consequences of these choices it is crucial for car owners to embrace the recommended practices for monitoring tire pressure. Implementing these strategies will not enhance driver and passenger safety. Also positively impact the environment by boosting fuel efficiency and reducing tire waste ultimately elevating road safety standards, for all individuals.

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