The Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) alerts you when the tire pressure is too low. If the tire pressure is too low, it can cause unsafe driving conditions. Low tire pressure can also cause the tires to wear prematurely, and lead to tire failure. If the tire fails, this could lead to a blowout causing you to potentially lose control of the vehicle.
When the TPMS Light is on, it is important to take the following precautions:
As soon as the TPMS Light comes on, check the tire pressure in all four of your tires. If one of the tires has low air, add air until the pressure reaches the manufacturer’s specifications, which can be found on the inside of the driver's side door panel. In addition, the TPMS Light may come on if the tire pressure is too high. If this is the case, check the pressure of all four tires and take air out as needed.
If the TPMS Light comes on while you are driving, find the nearest gas station and check the pressure of the tires. Driving too long on underinflated tires can cause the tires undue wear, reduce gas mileage, and present safety hazards.
Sometimes the TPMS Light goes on and off, which can be due to fluctuating temperatures. If the pressure drops overnight, then increases during the day, the light may turn off once the vehicle warms up or once the temperature rises during the day. If the light comes back on once the temperatures cools down, you will know the weather is causing the pressure in the tires to fluctuate. It is a good idea to check the tires and add or take away any air as needed.
If the TPMS Light flashes for 1 to 1.5 minutes after you start your car, then remains on, this means the system is not functioning correctly. A mechanic should look at your vehicle as soon as possible. If you do need to drive, be careful as the TPMS system will no longer alert you of low tire pressure.
Driving with the TPMS Light on is not a good idea as it means one of your tires is underinflated. This can cause undue wear on the tire and potentially lead to a tire failure. Be sure to refer to your owner’s manual for specific instructions for monitoring your TPMS system, as manufacturers may set their TPMS lights to trigger differently.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Is it Safe to Drive With the TPMS Light On? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.