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TPMS Lights On: What Do They Mean and What You Need to Do

All modern cars come equipped with Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).  Finding your TPMS light on is nothing new. But many car owners are still oblivious to what does TPMS mean. It can be a difficult task to figure out what your car is trying to tell you when it is showing TPMS light on.

TPMS monitors air pressure in tires and warns you when it falls below a certain recommended level. As soon as car’s computer system receives this information, it turns TPMS light on.  

If the air pressure in your tire is inadequate, then you are going to face troubles down the road. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you take immediate steps to fix the tire pressure right away if your TPMS light turns on.

What is TPMS Light?

When the TPMS light comes on – and stays on – at least one of your tires is at a low pressure level.

TPMS light is a tool that can help alert you when pressure is low,
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

So, what does TPMS mean? TPMS refers to Tire Pressure Monitoring System. It is an integral part of every contemporary vehicle. TPMS system is used to ensure that your vehicle has proper air pressure maintained at all times.

For those who are wondering what does TPMS means, it’s a system designed to track tire pressure. TPMS detects any deviation from the normal tire pressure. It starts flashing or lights up to alert drivers to low tire pressure.

In this post, we are going to discuss all the important details you need to know when it comes to TPMS light on.

What Does It Mean When the TPMS Warning Light On?

Your car’s TPMS system is meant to warn you against dangerously low air pressure in your car’s tires. Now that you know what TPMS is in a car, let’s delve into TPMS lights and what exactly triggers them.

When your car’s sensors detect that the air pressure in any of the tires has reached too high or dropped too low, then the TPMS light will turn on. Now when this happens, you need to make sure the air pressure is normalized as soon as possible.

Paying attention to TPMS light on, and fixing tire pressure is important to avoid accidents and excessive tire wear. Normalizing air pressure in your car’s tires can even help you save fuel.

To do this, you will need an air pressure gauge and ensure the pressure meets specifications set by the manufacturer. There are a number of other situations when you might need to deal with TPMS light on.

TPMS Light Illuminates While Driving

Your car’s TPMS system is meant to warn you against dangerously low air pressure in your car’s tires.

When your car’s sensors detect that the air pressure in any of the tires has reached too high or dropped too low, then the TPMS light will turn on.
Credit: www.flickr.com

TPMS lights are very sensitive to any kind of pressure change in your tires. You can notice your TPMS light on at any moment, even while you are driving. If this happens, you need to find the nearest gas station and get your tire pressure checked out.

If you have a gauge with you in your trunk, then stop and perform this action before moving forward.

TPMS Lights Go And Off

TPMS light can sometimes flicker on and off due to ambient temperature. There’s a reason why this happens. The temperature drops during the night but when the vehicle is running, the temperature sensed by TPMS sensor increases.

These constant fluctuations in temperature can turn your TPMS light on and off over and over again. Again, you should stop the car and have your tire pressure checked using the gauge.

TPMS Light Flashes and Then Stays On

TPMS light can sometimes flicker on and off due to ambient temperature.
PMS light can flash for 90 seconds or less and then stay on.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

In certain cases, TPMS light can flash for 90 seconds or less and then stay on. This indicates that there is a malfunction with the TPMS system in your vehicle. In such a case, you should take it to an authorized service center and have it checked immediately. While you are there, it makes sense to check air pressure in each tire as well.

How Should I Turn Off TPMS Lights?

Aside from your tires actually developing excessive or inadequate air pressure, your TPMS system can often get misaligned as well. Now, there are a number of ways to tackle TPMS light on, and at least one of them can reset the system to the way it was before. Let’s have a look at these methods.

Fix the Inflation

The easiest and most obvious way to fix your TPMS system from misreporting an uneven tire pressure is by simply fixing the pressure itself. So, you need to get an air pressure gauge and readjust the tire pressure.

Drive 10 Miles at 50mph

In many vehicles, it is quite common for the TPMS system to get set for higher than usual air pressure. The best and easiest way to fix this misalignment is to put your car in cruise mode. This will reset the TPMS system and turn off the TPMS light.

Use the TPMS Reset Button

An easy and effective way of fixing the TPMS lights on the problem is simply using the reset button. There are several cars that have this button while some cars don’t have it. For those who do, fixing the TPMS button is as easy as simply pressing the button.

Plug Out and Plug In the Car Battery

TPMS system runs on car’s battery and any malfunction can potentially be fixed by simply disconnecting and reconnecting the battery. To do this, you need to open the hood of your car and disconnect the battery. Wait a few a minutes and reconnect it. The TPMS light should have turned off.

What Should I Do If My TPMS Light Is Still On After I Fill Up The Tires?

In some cases, the TPMS unit on your tire will malfunction. This mostly happens when the tire is worked on by mechanics. They can knock this device accidentally and so, it stops functioning properly.

Different vehicles have different requirements but most of them need you to use the TPMS reset button. Once this is done, you need to drive at a speed of 19mph or higher for at least an hour for the TPMS system to reset automatically.

What If TPMS Light On Even If the Tire Pressure is good?

There can be a number of reasons for why you still find your TPMS light on even when your tire pressure is good. For the most part, this is most likely due to a misalignment of the TPMS system itself.

So, you need to address it using a suitable method as we have discussed earlier. Just to recap, the following are some of the ways you can fix your TPMS light on problem even when your tires have proper air pressure.

Fix the Inflation

You need to get an air gauge at a gas station and then have the tire inflation checked out. This will ensure that your TPMS is not actually malfunctioning. This is usually the first thing you should do.

Drive 10 Miles at 50mph

Another very simple and easy way to fix the TPMS light on problem is to drive at a steady 50mph for 10 miles. This will help your TPMS system realign itself and turn off the light.

Use the TPMS Reset Button

If you have TPMS button in your car then simply use it to reset the system. Keep in mind that some cars require you to drive for a bit before the system in actually reset.

Plug Out and Plug In the Car Battery

The battery can be a problem if you’ve tried all the above methods and the TPMS light is still on. Pop your hood, unhook the battery and reattach it.

How Much Money Does It Cost To Replace Your TPMS Light Sensors?

Tire pressure sensors are not that expensive but the price can vary by a lot depending upon your car brand and model. The average price for purchasing the sensor and having it installed lies between USD70 and USD160.

Make sure you only go to an authorized garage for your vehicle when looking to have your TPMS light sensors replaced.


What to do when your low tire pressure light won’t turn off?

If your low tire pressure light is not turning off, then you should follow the steps we have detailed above. Check each of these out one by one until your TPMS light is turned off.

Should I be Concerned When the TPMS Light Comes on?

Yes, the TPMS light comes on only when your car’s sensor detects that your tire pressure is too much or too less. This can lead to a burst tire down the road or even an accident. You should have your tire pressure checked immediately.

If my TPMS light comes on and I put air in my tires, will the light go off by itself or do I need to take my car to the dealer or a tire shop?

ou put air in your tires and your TPMS light is still on, then there might be a problem with the system itself. You should try the methods we have listed above to fix any TPMS light on malfunction. If that does not work, then the best recourse is to simply take your vehicle to a garage dealer.

Does a TPMS replace regular tire pressure checks?

No, TPMS is not meant to replace regular tire pressure checks. As you have seen, there are many reasons why the TPMS light might go on even when the pressure is fine. So, the light is only a short term solution which cannot substitute a full-scale tire pressure check.

We highly recommend you get these done as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Also, be sure you understand how the tire pressure system works in your car so you can quick fix it during a long road trip.


If you were wondering what is TPMS in a car, we hope you got the answer. Your vehicle’s TPMS system is important for ensuring your tires have the right air pressure at all times. However, just like everything in your car, it is a technical system and can malfunction. Follow the steps above to fix any problem with your TPMS lights and get the most out of your tires!

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