Low tire pressure - TPMS indicator light
Low tire pressure can affect poor vehicle control, which can ultimately lead to dangerous driving situations. To reduce the risk of their occurrence, newly manufactured cars sold in the European Union are required to be equipped with a TPMS sensor. How does the low tire pressure indicator work? What to do if it lights up while driving and will it mean a serious fault every time?
What is TPMS?
TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) is a system that measures tire pressure while driving. From November 1, 2014, it is mandatory for every new car sold in the EU. Regardless of whether we are talking about premium class cars, mid-range or lower-priced models. The tire pressure indicator informs the driver about the pressure drop on a given wheel, expressed in bars, which causes its abnormal road traction. Installing the system in cars allows you to be warned about incorrect tire pressure levels in good time, significantly increasing the level of driving safety.
The system constantly monitors the tire pressure thanks to the installed sensors and then sends the information to the onboard computer. Messages about failures are displayed on the car’s dashboard by lighting up the indicator light. The TPMS indicator light may be solid or blinking. Later in the article, we explain the differences between the two types of messages.
The consequences of improper tire pressure, in addition to less control over the vehicle while driving, may also be uneven tire wear on individual wheels or accelerated tread wear. Each of these situations also affects the loss of traction properties, which may be the direct cause of an accident. Therefore, taking care of the correct tire pressure is one of the basic duties of every driver.
Advantages of equipping the car with TPMS sensors
- Improving driving safety and comfort,
- Better protection of tires and wheels against damage,
- Shortening the braking distance,
- Lower fuel consumption,
- The ability to effectively drive the vehicle,
- Preventing rapid wear of tires.
What does the flashing TPMS light mean?
The signal lamp of the tire pressure monitoring system looks like an exclamation mark in a horseshoe. Unlike a similar indicator that indicates the use of the handbrake, it is yellow, not red. A driver with a car with TPMS may notice that the tire pressure light is flashing on the dashboard. This means that the tire is fitted without the tire pressure sensor. The flashing control lamp may also indicate that there is a failure in the measuring system.
What does the TPMS indicator light mean?
In a situation where the low tire pressure warning light is not flashing but is steadily on, most likely the pressure has dropped in one of the wheels. This is a sign that the system has picked up a drop in tire pressure below a safe level. In such a situation, if, apart from the lighting up of the indicator, you do not feel other symptoms, such as the vehicle drift to one side or vibrations on the steering wheel, just use the compressor. When the air in the tires is refilled, the TPMS sensor light will turn off. However, if the burning light is accompanied by the symptoms described above, stop in a safe place as soon as possible, and then carefully inspect the tires. If the tires are punctured or worn, it may be necessary to use a tire repair kit or tire service.
If the tire pressure indicator lights up frequently and tire inflation only helps for a while, it is worth checking the tires carefully at the vulcanizer. If the naked eye shows no signs of damage or visible wear, a hidden tire defect may be responsible for incorrect tire pressure.