Our service department team has been taking numerous calls about tire warning lights lately. Known as the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), the indicator light is a horseshoe-shaped light with an exclamation point found on your dashboard.
If the light is illuminated, it means your tires may be underinflated, which can lead to unsafe driving conditions and undue tire wear. Maintaining proper tire inflation is essential to vehicle handling, overall tire performance, and load carrying capability.
What to do if your tire pressure warning light is on
First of all, check the pressure of each tire with a tire gauge. Some systems indicate which tire is potentially low, and even may register a PSI reading. Regardless, check each tire and fill with air to the manufacturer’s specifications.
If you’re not comfortable checking the pressures of your tires, have them looked at by a professional. Once your tires are properly inflated, the tire pressure warning light should turn off. Keep in mind, however, that the TPMS is simply an indicator that your tire pressure is too low or too high, and shouldn’t replace routine tire maintenance checks.
Why does tire pressure fluctuate so much in the spring?
Because air expands and contracts based on temperature, your tires may be over- or under-inflated more often come spring. As a general rule, a 10-degree change in outside air temperature equals a 1 lb. change of pressure at each wheel. During the transition from winter to spring, warmer temperatures often lead to tire pressure changes, which signals the TPMS.
Both overinflation and underinflation can cause the tire pressure warning light to illuminate, and both issues can lead to a lack of performance, fuel economy issues, premature wear, and tire failure.
What if your tire pressure warning light is flashing?
In some vehicles, the TPMS will flash for approximately 60 to 90 seconds every time you start the car and then remains illuminated. This means your tire pressure monitoring system isn’t functioning properly and you should have it inspected. If this is the case, check the air pressure of all of the tires with a gauge manually before having the system checked by a professional.
Stay diligent with tire pressure checks
Understanding what your tire pressure warning light means is important. However, the TPMS is not a replacement for regular tire pressure checks. Should you have any concerns regarding the functionality of your TPMS or about your tires in general, feel free to contact our service department team at Poquet Auto Golden Valley or at Poquet Auto Lakeville.