As winter temperatures creep in, drivers may notice rising activity from their TPMS warning light. This is a common but baffling occurrence that is potentially sending many vehicle owners looking for repair options without need. During the winter season, the TPMS mechanism is inclined to be inaccurate—and the reason for this is the cold weather. For safer driving, every vehicle owner should remain well informed of the relationship between tire pressure and warning lights.
What is TPMS or a Tire Pressure Monitoring System?
TPMS is best defined as a mechanism that reads the amount of air pressure present in a vehicle’s tires. The TPMS derives its readings from special transmitting devices placed inside of a tire that keeps track of the air pressure inside. It takes a decrease of 25% or lower to make the TPMS light flash.
TPMS mechanisms are most commonly found in vehicles manufactured since September 1, 2007. However, some earlier models possess TPMS thanks to the TREAD Act issued in 2000. This mandate ensures that vehicles manufactured from 2007 onward possess TPMS at a 100% ratio. Vehicles produced from the second half of 2006 through the first half of 2007 have a 70% ratio of TPMS possession. Vehicles manufactured from the second half of 2005 through the first half of 2006 have the lowest ratio of TPMS possession at 20%. Any vehicle owner can easily find whether or not their car features TPMS by examining the dashboard display when starting the engine, or browsing the manual that came with their vehicle on purchase.
The TPMS Light is Potentially Triggered by Winter Weather.
There is a reason as to why cold weather causes warning lights to illuminate. When the weather is cold, the pressure in a vehicle’s tires may naturally fall. The TPMS light can be easily activated because of this, flickering on automatically the moment the tire pressure falls below its 25% threshold. However, as the vehicle operates, any air that is already inside the tires will gain heat, causing the pressure in the tires to rise again.
The decision to either heed or disregard the TPMS light produces the potential for hazards. If a driver adds extra air to their tires to make up for the lost pressure unnecessarily, they risk overinflation of their tires. However, if the air present in the tires is truly low but a driver believes the TPMS light is giving off a false positive, blowouts are the next result.
How to Interpret a Reading and What to Do.
The first step any vehicle owner must follow involves checking over the tires of their vehicle for low air. If any of the tires seem reduced, the next step would be to add enough air until the tire(s) have returned to a safe level of pressure. After that, it is fine to reboot the TPMS mechanism and drive normally. A reappearing TPMS light can signal other problems, either with the light itself or with the vehicle’s tires.
To learn more about how to protect your TPMS system and the best measures for tire maintenance during the winter season, . We can provide you with further information and services to remain safe on the road.