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What Does The TPMS Light Mean & What Should I Do

What Does The TPMS Light Mean & What Should I Do | Cottman of Waldorf

As you cruise along the road, your car's dashboard serves as a screen of information, but sometimes, a mysterious light can flicker to life and create a sense of uncertainty. The Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) light is one such enigmatic signal that often leaves drivers pondering its significance - is it a tire or horseshoe? Let's find out.

Decoding the TPMS Light

The TPMS light resembles a symbol of a tire with an exclamation mark in the center. When this light illuminates on your dashboard, it signifies that the Tire Pressure Monitoring System has detected a deviation in tire pressure.

The Importance of TPMS

Tire pressure plays a pivotal role in vehicle safety and performance. Underinflated or overinflated tires can compromise traction, handling, and fuel efficiency while also increasing the risk of a blowout. The TPMS is a safety feature designed to alert you when tire pressure deviates from the recommended levels.

What to Do When TPMS Lights Up

When the TPMS light makes its presence known, it's essential to take immediate action. Follow these steps:

  • Check Tire Pressure: Use a reliable tire pressure gauge to check the pressure in each tire, including the spare. Refer to your vehicle's manual for the recommended pressure levels.
  • Inflate or Deflate as Needed: If you find any tire with significantly low or high pressure, adjust it accordingly. Many gas stations have air pumps for inflation.
  • Inspect for Damage: While checking tire pressure, inspect each tire for visible damage, such as punctures or bulges. Address any issues promptly.
  • Reset TPMS: After adjusting tire pressure or addressing any issues, you may need to reset the TPMS system. Consult your vehicle's manual for instructions on how to reset it.

Preventing TPMS Surprises

To avoid the recurrent appearance of the TPMS light, adopt a proactive approach to tire maintenance:

  • Check Tire Pressure Monthly: Make it a habit to check your tire pressure at least once a month, especially before long drives.
  • Rotate Tires Regularly: Regular tire rotations ensure even wear, contributing to consistent tire performance and longevity.

3 Common Questions about the TPMS light

  Can I drive with the TPMS light on?

While you can drive with the TPMS light on, it's not advisable to ignore it. Addressing the issue promptly ensures your tires are properly inflated, optimizing safety and performance.

  Why did the TPMS light come on after tire replacement?

Tire replacements or rotations may trigger the TPMS light if the sensors are not recalibrated. Follow the reset procedures in your vehicle's manual or consult a professional.

  Is it safe to rely on the TPMS instead of regular tire checks?

While TPMS is a valuable tool, it's essential to conduct regular visual inspections and manual pressure checks. TPMS serves as a backup but should not replace routine tire maintenance.


From tires to full-on diagnostics, the team at Cottman of Waldorf does it all! Give us a call if your car needs any maintenance procedures or repairs, and we will be glad to answer!

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