Before a young couple left for a weekend road trip, they filled up the gas tank, checked the oil, buckled in the kids and hit the road. They took their kids on fun afternoon trip to a pumpkin farm. When they stopped in for a recent service visit, they shared how the pumpkin farm trip almost got squashed.
Shortly after driving on the highway, a glowing orange light on their dash came on and almost ruined their trip. They stopped at the nearest service station to check their owner’s manual and learned this was the tire pressure light, which was telling them one or all of their tires could be low.
Once they determined the tire pressure was within the normal range, they were off again to continue on their pumpkin-picking mission.
This light that usually looks like an exclamation point (!) is a warning indicator sign that your tire pressure may be low. With fluctuating temperatures as the season changes from summer to fall, dramatic changes in temperatures from daytime to nighttime can cause false low tire pressure warnings.
Why did the warning light go on?
Federal law required that all passenger cars and trucks beginning in model year 2006 be equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System or TPMS. This system alerts drivers when the tire pressure dips about 25 percent below the recommended specification. Some vehicles will trigger the TPMS light at less than 25 percent.
What causes tire pressure changes?
For every 10 degree change in ambient air temperature, your tire pressure will fluctuate about 1 psi.
If you or your auto shop last set the tire pressure when it was 90-plus degrees outside, imagine what it drops to when the overnight temperatures fall into the mid-40s. Your tire pressure could be changing 4-5 psi at night, which can cause the TPMS light to go on.
What to do when your TPMS indicator lights goes on:
- Check and adjust your tire pressure in the morning before the temperatures heat up and cause a false bump to the psi level of the tires.
- In most vehicles, your TPMS light will turn itself off once you’ve properly inflated the tires. (You may need to drive for a few minutes or miles first. Every vehicle varies slightly.) However, if your light is persistent, Auto Lab can help.
We’ll make sure the system is operating properly, and we can reset the light for you. In most cases, we can reset it within minutes. We even may have to go through a series of steps, including meeting specific driving conditions. There may be a minimal cost charged in those instances.
If you have any questions or the TPMS light is on consistently, call us at 847-367-4488 or schedule an appointment online, or stop by. Your vehicle may experience lower fuel economy, reduced safety and faster tire wear if you have underinflated tires.