You are in a great mood while driving along that long smooth road, and suddenly, an unexpected blow hits you – “Tire Pressure Sensor fault.” Hitting hard on your car’s instrument cluster won’t help you in coming out of this situation.
“How to deal with it?”
“What is the fastest way of fixing it?”
“Will inflating the car tires will do any good?”
Your mind must be boggled with a lot of confusion and questions about this.
Don’t worry; this article has all the answers to your queries related to Tire Pressure Sensor Fault. So just read on.
What is a Tire Pressure Sensor Fault?
The tire pressure sensor is installed in the car’s tires for monitoring the air pressure wirelessly while the vehicle is moving. When the tires are under or over-inflated because of the wrong pressure, it reduces the four-wheeler’s fuel efficiency to a great extent. This condition may also elevate the braking distance needed for bringing to stop the vehicle. As a consequence, your car’s tires may get worn out or damaged.
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is a programmable electronic device that warns the driver about low-pressure tires so that they can take necessary action in real-time. Generally, a yellow light lights up in the system’s dashboard when the tire’s air pressure reaches 2 to 4 psi or lower than the average pressure level.
What Does the Tire Pressure Sensor Fault Mean?
The Tire Pressure Sensor Fault message is displayed by a tire icon on the screen, indicating some issues with the system. It means a faulty pressure sensor or imbalance in the air pressure of the vehicle’s tires.
However, at times frayed wiring or defect in the system’s control unit is the culprit behind the display of the error code. Simply resetting the TPMS will solve the problem, while in other cases, the system may need replacement.
How Does a TPMS System Work?
The working of the TPMS system can be categorized into two. The system is already equipped in the cars bought in or after 2007. In some models, the sensors are located in the vehicle’s tires. The sensors keep track of the tire pressure, and the same information is transmitted to the system’s control unit. The “Tire Pressure Sensor Fault” message occurs on the system’s dashboard if the pressure is exceptionally high or low high.
The car models that don’t have in-built sensors in their tires calculate the tire pressure with the help of the wheel’s rotation and ABS sensors. In the case of low pressure, the wheel’s diameter becomes depressed. As a result, it rotates faster than usual for obtaining the speed needed for the vehicle to move.
If the wheel rotation rate of one of the wheels is equal to the rest of the wheels, the ABS or TPMS system will show an error code. The system showcases the tire pressure after the car covers a short distance.
How to Troubleshoot TPMS?
A sensor being an electrical component starts underperforming as it ages. The other potential reasons for its deterioration are dust, heat, irregular power supply, and dirt. When this situation occurs, you’ll find the below-listed alterations in the car’s working –
#Step 1 – Flat Tires Due to Low Pressure – The sensors are meant for notifying the driver about the low air pressure in the tire. If you feel that the tires of your car are low in pressure or flat, and if you are facing some problems while driving, there are high possibilities of Tire Pressure Monitor Fault.
The sensor must be in the perfect working condition so that it can assess the tire pressure accurately. If the dashboard of your car doesn’t show any warning signs, get it checked/repaired by a mechanic.
#Step 2 – Sensors Illuminate Warning Light in the Dashboard – If there is some fault in the tire pressure or the system, the sensors trigger warning light. The sensors send the information to the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) and Engine Control Unit (ECU), and the warning is showed up on the dashboard.
For example – If there is some problem with the tire pressure sensor and it is failing to meet the usual working standards, then the Check Engine Light is illuminated by the ECU. However, there could be other possible reasons for the illumination of the Check Engine Light. So it’s better to visit a certified mechanic for the diagnosis of the issue.
#Step 3 – Faulty Valve Stems – Corrosion, damage, or leakage in the TPMS valve stems result in faulty sensors. Plus, these issues affect the working of the complete valve system. Inspect the valve stems on all the wheels to find the source of the problem.
#Step 4 – Aging Tire Pressure Sensor – The mileage and age of the vehicle is the next important thing to consider when diagnosing tire pressure sensor fault. The sensor’s battery life is more or less eight years. The more you use your car, the more will be the consumption of TPMS sensors’ battery. In simple words, TPMS sensors will generate more signals with extensive use of the vehicle, which will eventually lower its battery life. It increases the possibility of faulty sensors.
How to Fix Tire Pressure Sensor Fault?
To fix a tire pressure sensor fault code, first, diagnose the tire pressure of all the tires of your vehicle. Use a tire pressure gauge for checking the tire pressure. Check the label to ensure whether all the tires of your car have the right pressure. The label is located towards the backside of the driver’s door. Use the repair manual of your vehicle if you encounter any issues. Note that the tire pressure differs according to the tire’s temperature.
Let’s understand this better with the help of an example. If, according to the label, the standard tire pressure is 220 kph tire pressure, then any figure below this level will be triggered as an error code by the TPMS system.
Also, if the pressure is filled to 220 kph when your car’s tires are warm, then the pressure level will go down when the tires come down to average temperature, and the system will display error code. Therefore it’s best to fill extra air pressure than the level mentioned on the label.
Manual resetting of the system is essential after filling the tires with the recommended pressure level. Alternatively, you may use the reset button if it’s featured in your car. While in some vehicles, a 20 minutes ride at 50 mph is needed for a system reset. Go through the repair manual to know about the TPMS system resetting procedure of your vehicle and about the different error codes.
There is an onboard computer in a car that is connected to the sensor system. Any glitches in the computer affect the working of the system. Computer resetting is the only solution to fix this error. You have to disable the tire pressure monitoring system on the dodge, disconnect the battery, drain out the power by pressing the horn of the vehicle and then reconnect the battery’s positive terminal. The warning light on the dash should go will most probably go away with this measure.
Can You Drive With Tire Pressure Sensor Fault?
No, it isn’t safe to drive with the TPMS fault. If there is an error code on the dashboard, it means one of the tires of your vehicle is overinflated or underinflated. It may result in tire wear and tear, tire failure, or a dangerous blowout. Therefore, it is essential to fix the fault at the earliest and avoid driving with the faulty system.
How Long Can You Drive After the Tire Pressure Light Comes On?
Check the below-listed scenarios for detailed information
- When TPMS Light Illuminates While Driving – Turning on of TPMS light when the vehicle is moving signifies incorrect pressure level in the tires. In this case, you can safely drive for 45 – 60 minutes. Reach out to a gas station at the earliest to get the issue sorted.
- When TPMS Light Becomes Stable After a Few Minutes of Flashing – In this case, you shouldn’t don’t drive your vehicle beyond 60 – 90 minutes. Look for the nearest service station as soon as you discover this issue. If you have to cover a long distance to reach a mechanic, inspect the tires of your car and add the needed pressure as you’ll no longer get alerts from the TPMS system. So it’s better to be on the safer side until you reach the service center.
Where is the Tire Pressure Sensor Located?
The tire pressure sensor is located inside the car’s tires. Usually, they can be seen when checking the air valve of the tire which is secured with a nut. You need to separate the rim from the tires to find the sensors. However, cars like Mercedes and BMW don’t have tire pressure sensors as they have ABS sensors for calculating air pressure in the tires.
How to Replace TPMS Sensor?
Follow the steps below to replace the sensor –
- Turn off the TPMS System and remove the car’s tire using the necessary tools
- Separate the tire and the wheel rim with the help of levers to access the tire pressure sensor
- Now separate the connectors and the tire pressure sensor
- Unscrew your car’s sensor to detach it from the wheel rim. Keep it in a safe place
- Clean the sensor if it’s dirty and install it back
- Replace the sensor if it’s worn out with a compatible new sensor
- Clean the rim’s inside using an alcohol solution before placing the new sensor
- Install the electric connectors once you the sensor is installed back
- Place back the rubber tire to its place and then install the tire again
- Add air pressure to the tire and then test the repaired/replaced sensor using a gauge
- Reset the tire pressure sensor fault with the help of the manual
- Go for a test drive to confirm whether or not the issue is fixed.
How Much Does it Cost to Fix Pressure Sensor Fault?
The cost of fixing a tire pressure sensor depends on the car’s model. Luxury brands including Land Rover and Audi have higher sensor repair/replacement cost in comparison to models like Honda and Toyota.
The average repair/replacement cost of a single sensor starts from $50 and can go up to hundreds of dollars. Note that the cost of labor isn’t included in it. This cost varies from one repair shop to another. Also, some of them charge sensor reprogramming fee.
You need to understand that TPMS systems don’t have any standardization. It is still considered a new system; hence the manufacturers keep trying and adding new features to relearn and reduce the system’s complications. Before you try your hand on repairing or replacing the sensors, make sure to gather the necessary tools and knowledge of the system’s working installed in your car.