Tire Pressure Light

Vehicles have different safety and warning features to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. Lights are one such feature that call attention to issues with the vehicle. Pay attention if you see a horseshoe-shaped yellow light blinking on the dashboard. It is an indicator of tire pressure (or the lack of it).

We know tires should have the recommended air pressure to carry the car’s weight and drive smoothly. You need to regularly monitor and ensure that the tire pressure is not less (or more). Underinflated tires will become too hot and blow out. Manufacturers install TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) to monitor the tire pressure and alert you when it is low or high.

But a blinking tire pressure light can indicate quite a few issues. Let’s find out more about the blinking tire pressure light and ways to fix it.

What is TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System)?

All vehicles manufactured after 2008 are fitted with TPMS. This system alerts drivers about low/ high tire pressure to prevent tire blowouts and accidents. Always keep a tab on the dashboard lights to track the air pressure in the tires.

Older vehicles have direct or indirect TPMS. Direct-TPMS is reliable. You can find third-party direct-TPMS online and install it in your vehicle. Indirect-TMPS is not entirely reliable as it relies on the rotation speed of the wheels to measure the tire pressure. This might lead to false alerts, especially with smaller tires.

The changing temperatures also affect the air pressure in the tires. Use the gauge and measure tire pressure when going on long drives.

Quick Fix Solutions to Reset Tire Pressure Light

Automobile manufacturers offer a few easy solutions to reset the blinking tire pressure light. Follow the below steps if the light blinks even after inflating the tires.

Driving with the Blinking Tire Pressure Light

It is best to stop driving and regulate the tire pressure if the light blinks. However, this is not always possible. You should turn on the hazard light and ride slowly on the right side of the road. Also, get to the nearest safe spot and stop until the issue is solved.

Driving with a blinking tire pressure light is dangerous for you and others on the road. Underinflated tires will wear out faster and increase fuel consumption. Furthermore, the tires will rub against the road’s surface, and the steering wheel will become heavier. It feels as if you are dragging the car on the road. You will also lose control over the car’s direction. The underinflated tires will pull the car in their direction and create a steering imbalance.

If you continue to drive for long despite the warning light, you might even end up with a blown tire. However, remember that an underinflated tire is not the same as a flat tire. Flat tires are easy to identify. Super low tire pressure is also identifiable as the tires stick to the ground instead of standing tall and round. You should not drive long if the wheel’s rim is in close contact with the road. Change the tire as soon as possible.

Reasons for Blinking Tire Pressure Light

There are more than a couple of reasons for the tire pressure light to blink on your vehicle’s dashboard.

Low Tire Pressure

Since TPMS was designed to detect and alert you about low or excess tire pressure, this is the most common reason for the blinking light. Stop the car on the side and get down to inspect the tires. Carry an air pressure gauge with you to check the tire pressure.

You cannot always see or notice low tire pressure with naked eyes. A tire inflator will help solve the problem of an underinflated tire. You can replace it with the spare tire if there’s one in the vehicle. If not, drive slowly to the nearest tire shop and do the needful.

Initialization Failure

The blinking TPMS light can also be because of initialization issues seen in indirect TPMS. It can also occur in direct-TPMS if it has to be initialized each time you adjust the tire pressure or change the tires. Re-initialization will set the tire pressure threshold correctly and prevent false alarms.

Defective TPMS

Sometimes, the issue is not with the tires and air pressure but with the TPMS itself. If the sensor is faulty, it will take erratic readings and send false alerts. The tire pressure light will blink even when there is no problem with the air pressure. A low or dead battery in the sensor or a damaged module can be the cause.

That said, you should first inspect the tire to confirm the air pressure and eliminate the reason. Continue driving and observe if the TPMS blinks after inflating the tires. At times, you may not get an alert about flat tires. Defective TPMS is entirely unreliable. Repair or replace as soon as possible.

How to Fix Blinking Tire Pressure Light

Fixing the blinking tire pressure light can be easy or annoying. Unfortunately, you won’t know until you get started. Here are a few methods to help you solve the problem.

Reset TPMS

The TPMS sensor comes with a reset button for emergencies. If the blinking tire pressure light continues even after you inflate the tires, use the reset button. It recalibrates the sensor and removes previous data. TPMS will read fresh data from the inflated tires and compare it with the threshold air pressure limit.

The reset button is found under the steering wheel in many cars. However, its location changes depending on the manufacturer. Refer to the manual to find where it is and press the reset button until the blinking light flickers thrice and turns off. Once you have released the button, wait for a few seconds, and then turn on the engine.

Keep a copy of the car manual in the glove box to help you in these situations. You can also call customer support or your mechanic and ask for help.

Deflate and Inflate the Tires

Sometimes, the TPMS sensor doesn’t notice that the tires are properly inflated and in good condition. The issue might continue even after resetting the sensor. A feasible solution in such instances is to deflate the tires and inflate them again.

Go to the nearest tire shop and take their help. Remove the air from the tires completely. Inflate them again to the recommended air pressure. Reset the TPMS sensor if necessary. Drive around at a low speed (less than 20 mph) for a couple of minutes. The blinking light should vanish when TPMS recalibrates itself.

Manufacturers recommend slightly overinflating the tires before deflating them. That means you inflate the tires by 3 psi more than the recommended air pressure. Then you remove the air from the tires. Finally, you inflate them to the right air pressure. It’s a three-step process and takes time.

Disconnecting and Reconnecting the Battery

We are talking about the car’s battery here. Make sure the engine is off before you try this method. First, you should disconnect the positive wench from the battery. Turn on the key (don’t start the car) and press the horn for three or four seconds.

The aim is to discharge the power circulating the car after the battery connection is removed. This will break the circuit loop and abort the connection between TPMS and the power supply. Turn off the key.

Then, go back and connect the cable to the battery. Make sure it is secure. Power on the engine and wait for TPMS to reset on its own. This should happen automatically. When it reads the tire pressure of an inflated tire, it should make the correct recording (and there won’t be a blinking light because the tires are inflated).

Final Words

A blinking tire pressure light can indicate low tire pressure or a defective TPMS sensor. Whatever the reason, you should never ignore the warning light without finding out the exact reason. Spend a couple of minutes checking the air pressure in all the tires to prevent major issues.

Take the vehicle to a mechanic if you aren’t sure about resetting the TPMS sensor. The standard procedures don’t work in some models. It’s safer to talk to an expert before you continue to drive with the blinking tire pressure light.