What Does the Tire Pressure Light Do and Why Is It On?
The tire pressure light warns you when your tire pressure drops below a preset point. If it’s on, it means that your tires are underinflated, which could lead to increased tire wear and unsafe driving conditions.
Outside temperatures can affect tire pressure. In fact, tires can lose or gain 1 PSI (pounds per square inch) for every 10 degree change in temperature. Since dropping temperatures can result in dropping tire pressure, it’s important to check tire pressure regularly, especially when winterizing your vehicle or prepping for that holiday road trip.
If your tire pressure warning light is blinking or blinks when you first start the car and then goes solid, then there is an error within the tire pressure monitoring (TPMS) system and it most likely has a faulty tire pressure sensor.
Common Reasons for Tire Pressure Light to Come On
- Low tire pressure
- Flat tire
- Faulty tire pressure sensor
Can I Drive with the Tire Pressure Warning Light On?
You can drive with the tire pressure warning light on, but your first stop should be stopping at a service station or repair facility and setting your tire pressure or having it checked. If the light is blinking and you know the tire pressures are correct, then you most likely have a faulty tire pressure sensor. In this case, you can drive the vehicle, just keep an eye on your tire pressures with a tire pressure gauge.
How Do I Fix a Tire Pressure Light?
- Check your tire pressures and set them to the manufacturer’s specifications.
- If all the tires are evenly low, then it is most likely normal air loss over time. If one tire is lower than the rest by several psi have it checked for a leak or puncture.
- If the light is blinking when you first start the car and then stays illuminated solid or continues to blink you will need to take it to a repair facility to have the tire pressure system checked for error codes. The most likely cause is a faulty tire pressure sensor.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I inflate my tire pressures to?
- Most vehicles have a sticker when you open the driver’s door on the b pillar (the section of the car next to your shoulder when you’re seated) which tells you what to inflate the tires to.
Is it normal for the tire pressure light to turn on and off?
- It is, oftentimes in the spring or fall when it’s cold in the mornings and warm in the afternoons the tire light will come on in the morning and turn off once the tires warm up. You should adjust your tire pressures when this happens.
How do tires lose air pressure?
- It’s normal for tires to lose air over time; the same thing happens to balloons. Air slowly leaks out through the tire on a molecular level. If the tire has a puncture of some kind, this will cause it to lose air as well as if the tire pressure sensor o-ring is leaking.
Can I use a fix-a-flat type sealant to fix a leaking tire with a tire pressure sensor?
- The best thing to do is to have the tire repaired. Some fix-a-flat sealants claim to be tire sensor safe, but it is not guaranteed.
When should I switch to winter tires?
If you live in an area that gets heavy ice and snow, you’ll want to swap out your all-season or summer tires for winter ones when winter arrives. Check out this article on winter tires to learn more about what type of winter tire to buy.
Keep Your Tires Road-Ready with FIXD
While the FIXD OBD2 scanner and app doesn’t read your Tire Pressure Monitoring System, it does read many more complicated check engine lights and tell you how severe they are. Along with simple descriptions of your car problems, FIXD tells you when it’s time for routine maintenance, like tire rotations and oil changes, and helps you track the life of your tires, wipers, and more. Learn more about FIXD today!
Wife, mom, Content Manager & Senior Copywriter at FIXD. From the garage to the gym, I love helping people learn and grow. Dream car: ‘69 Acapulco Blue Mustang.