The Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) was invented to prevent accidents on the road. It informs drivers if there is an overinflated or underinflated tire. It is undeniably an important invention, especially in terms of reducing accidents.

Driving a car with an improperly inflated tire is dangerous. For one, it can result in a tire blowout which can be deadly if it happens on freeways or motorways.

Before car manufacturers were required to install TPMS, accidents due to tire blowouts in the U.S. totalled around 78,000 per year. These 78,000 blowout-related accidents led to approximately 10,000 injuries and 400 deaths.

Having a TPMS in your vehicle can help you avoid getting embroiled in this kind of road mishap. It is worth mentioning, though, that the TPMS, like other electronic devices, can malfunction. If this happens, it can cause inaccuracies in your tire pressure readings.

One of the most common issues that car owners encounter is a flashing TPMS light. Located on your dashboard, this warning light looks like the cross-section of a tire with an exclamation point.

What Does a Flashing TPMS Light Mean?

Let’s be clear:

A solid TPMS light is different from a flashing TPMS light.

A solid light indicates that one (or more) of your wheels is not properly inflated.

Meanwhile, a flashing TPMS light can mean many things. For one, it may indicate a battery issue.

TPMS sensors or transponders use batteries. When the batteries are drained or nearing their service life, the TPMS light flashes to signal the driver that they need replacement. 

A flashing TPMS light can also mean that a part of the system is not working properly. In most cases, the issue stems from a damaged sensor.

Another possible cause is a missing sensor. If your tires were repaired or replaced recently, a sensor might not have been re-attached to the tires. It could also be that an incorrect or incompatible transponder was placed in your wheels.

In some cases, the sensor is not missing, but the TPMS is unable to detect it. This typically happens when a relearn was not done after a tire or sensor replacement.  

How to Fix a Flashing TPMS Light

Basically, a flashing TPMS light is generally harmless as it rarely has something to do with underinflated or overinflated tires. In fact, in most cases, the tires are properly inflated.

Still, this issue can be annoying as it prevents you from getting accurate TPMS readings. It can also be distracting to see the light blinking. As you know, distractions increase your risk of getting into an accident.

Even more frustrating is that this issue can keep recurring, and dealing with it can be tiring and expensive. To avoid the hassle and expenses associated with resolving this issue, some vehicle owners choose to disable their TPMS. When you go this route though, you will no longer get alerts regarding your tire pressure level.

But if you want to keep using your TPMS, then you need to resolve the flashing light issue. To do this, you need to identify what is causing it.

The first step is to check if all your tires have the correct tire pressure level. If they are correctly inflated, try doing a TPMS reset.

If doing a reset does not resolve the issue, you have to check the sensors. Thoroughly inspecting each one of them entails removing them from the tires. Replace any damaged or drained transponder.

Also, never forget to do a TPMS reset or relearn after installing the new sensors. The TPMS needs to learn the unique IDs of the transponders; otherwise, they won’t be able to communicate.

Admittedly, resolving a flashing TPMS light is not easy, especially if it already involves checking the sensors and relearning. You need to have the know-how and tools to do these tasks properly.

If you don’t have the capability to do these things, it is recommended that you bring your car to your trusted mechanic.

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