Improperly inflated tires can lead to blowouts, flat tires, and crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Under- and over-inflating can also cause tires to wear unevenly, shortening their lifespan and costing you money. If that wasn’t enough, you’ll also pay at the pump. You can save up to 3 percent on fuel by inflating your tires to the PSI (pounds per square inch) listed on the frame of the driver’s door, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Since 2008, auto manufacturers have been required to install tire pressure sensors, also called a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), on all new vehicles in the hopes that a visual reminder would decrease the likelihood of people driving on dangerous under- or over-inflated tires. Here’s what you need to know about your vehicle’s TPMS and what to do if the light comes on.
What does TPMS mean and how does it work?
The tire pressure monitoring system, often shortened to TPMS, comes in two types: a sensor on each wheel’s air valve or one that’s built into your car’s anti-lock braking system. The valve-monitoring system is most common, but you may be able to see which system your vehicle uses in your owner’s manual. If the sensor is part of your valve, it may need to be maintained when replacing tires.
What does the TPMS light look like?
The warning light appearance varies depending on your vehicle. However, it will usually be either an exclamation point surrounded by what’s supposed to look like the walls of a tire or a simple light that says TPMS. On some cars, the pressure on each wheel may also show up on your dashboard separately to indicate which wheel has the problem.