The “Low Tire” Light – Demystified

tpms_symbol
The Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) Light. This little yellow indicator may alarm you, yet it doesn’t mean you need to be afraid of it.

Winter. A word that can be described in many ways and by many elements. It can often times be the test of your vehicle’s ability to perform at its finest. Other than vehicle batteries failing in winter, one common issue that often comes up is the “low tire” light. The Tire Pressure Monitoring System indicator is available in all Toyota vehicles to let you know that your vehicle has loss a specific amount of air pressure. This is especially common in the winter months with fluctuating temperatures. And if you live in Michigan, it is no surprise to have one day be sixty degrees and twenty degrees the next. Scientifically, air expands and contracts with certain temperatures. The tire PSI (Pounds per square inch) may fluctuate from the starting of your vehicle on a cold day until a few minutes into your drive. Without getting into the science too deep, the driven tires create heat and the air (PSI) pressure will expand.

psi_guage
PSI indicator on a Air Compressor nozzle.

What does science, your tires and weather have to do with all of this?

The TPMS is a computer that reads PSI from each of your tire’s sensors (located in the tire’s valve stems) If the PSI number falls below a certain PSI threshold, the TPMS light goes on indicating that there is a loss in tire pressure. For example, your vehicle’s tires may have a PSI of 35. If the threshold in the system is set to 32 PSI and the tire loses 31 or more PSI, the indicator light may go on. (Please note, all tires, vehicles, systems and PSI thresholds are different. Check with Labadie Toyota or consult your Owner’s Manual for specifics on your particular vehicle.)

tire_sensor
A valve stem located on the tire of a Toyota vehicle. The tire sensor is located in the valve stem inside the tire of most Toyota vehicles.

If your TPMS light comes on, there’s no need to panic. Find a location to safely pull into, walk around the vehicle and look for significantly flat/low tire(s). If you do not see a tire that appears significantly low, drive your vehicle to Labadie Toyota into the Service department bays. A Service Adviser or technician will be able to assist you with inspection and inflation of your tires.

(Tip: It may also be helpful to purchase a tire gauge to keep in your vehicle’s glove compartment to gauge your tire PSI.)

If you are no where near Labadie Toyota, find a fuel station where air is available. Be sure to check the side wall of the tire to ensure the proper PSI for inflation. For example: if you see 40 PSI for proper inflation, inflate the tire a few pounds (PSI) less to allow room for air expansion. If the TPMS light does not go off right away, it may take a few miles down the road until it resets itself depending on the vehicle. (See Owner’s Manual)

In the case the TPMS light is blinking, contact Labadie Toyota to have it diagnosed. This anomaly can be couple of possible issues including a faulty sensor.

For more information, please contact Labadie Toyota on this or any other questions you may have in regards to your Toyota vehicle.

You can also read more about the TPMS on Toyota’s website here:

http://www.toyota.com/search/search.html?keyword=tpms&locale=en

 

 

 

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