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Tire Pressure Monitor Fault: How to Resolve and Prevent Recurring Issues

by Apr 30, 2024TPMS Bypass

TPMS plays a critical role in vehicle safety. By making sure your tires are properly inflated, TPMS helps improve how your car handles, saves on fuel, and reduces the wear on your tires. More importantly, it keeps you safe on the road by reducing the risk of tire failures.

Despite its importance, a lot of people don’t really know that their TPMS and the fact that it can malfunction and give false alerts. Understanding the cause of the tire pressure monitor fault and how to address it can keep you safe on the road and ensure your car is running smoothly.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System: An Overview

There are two main types of TPMS: Direct and Indirect. A Direct TPMS measures the pressure in each tire directly and shows this info on your dashboard. Indirect TPMS, on the other hand, uses your car’s ABS system to figure out if a tire’s pressure is low, based on the speed it’s rotating at.

Each system has its own advantages. Direct TPMS gives you accurate readings but can cost more because of the sensors needed. Indirect TPMS is cheaper but doesn’t give you direct pressure readings, so it might not alert you as quickly to slow leaks.

Common Tire Pressure Monitor Issues and Their Causes

One of the most straightforward and common reasons for TPMS alerts is actual changes in tire pressure, which can occur due to punctures, leaks, or even significant shifts in weather conditions. As mentioned earlier, these alerts serve a crucial purpose: they prompt the driver to verify and adjust tire pressure as necessary to avoid potential tire failure.

However, there are times when the TPMS warning illuminates even if your tires are perfectly okay. This can happen due to variety or reasons.

Sensor failures, especially in Direct TPMS systems, are a common culprit. The batteries in these sensors can run out, usually after 5-10 years, leading to malfunctioning or non-responsive sensors. When sensors fail due to battery drainage, they stop providing accurate data to the TPMS, resulting in the activation of the warning light.

Sometimes, especially with Indirect TPMS, you might get alerts when there’s actually nothing wrong, due to uneven tire wear or other factors like misalignment or improper tire rotation. Misalignment can cause one side of the tire to wear down faster than the other, which might trigger the TPMS to mistakenly indicate that there is a difference in pressure. Similarly, irregular or infrequent tire rotations can lead to uneven tire wear, causing false readings.

External factors such as temperature changes significantly impact tire pressure. For example, dropping temperatures can reduce the air pressure in your tires, triggering a faulty TPMS alert. Conversely, a significant increase in temperature can cause the air inside the tires to expand, also altering the pressure readings.

Another common fault arises when the TPMS sensors become damaged or corroded. Sensors are susceptible to damage from road debris and can also corrode over time due to road salts and other chemicals. This damage can interfere with the sensor’s ability to accurately transmit tire pressure data to the vehicle’s computer system.

Lastly, improper installation of tires or sensors can also lead to TPMS faults. If a sensor is not correctly mounted during a tire change, or if the tires themselves are not suitable for the vehicle or the sensors, it can result in erroneous TPMS alerts.

Steps to Diagnose a Tire Pressure Monitor Fault

If your TPMS warning light comes on, follow these steps to accurately diagnose the problem:

  1. Check Tire Pressure:
    Begin by checking the pressure of all your tires, including the spare if it is monitored by TPMS, using a reliable tire pressure gauge. This will confirm whether the alert is due to an actual decrease in tire pressure or it’s a sensor-related issue.
  2. Inspect for Damage:
    Conduct a visual check of all tires for any signs of damage, such as cuts, punctures, or significant wear, which could be the cause of the pressure drop. Also, examine the valve stems for damage or corrosion, which can lead to air leakage.
  3. Use a Diagnostic Tool:
    For those with Direct TPMS, connect a TPMS diagnostic tool to the vehicle’s OBD-II port. This tool can read the specific error codes from the TPMS system, telling you which tire is problematic and the nature of the fault, such as a dead battery in the sensor or a communication error.
  4. Reset or Recalibrate the TPMS System:
    Some vehicles may require the TPMS to be reset or recalibrated after adjusting the tire pressures or rotating the tires. Consult the owner’s manual on how to reset or recalibrate your TPMS, as the procedure varies by make and model.
  5. Check Sensor Battery:
    In cases where the TPMS system reports a fault that does not seem to be related to tire pressure, consider the possibility that a sensor’s battery has depleted (common in systems that have been in operation for 5-10 years).
  6. Evaluate Ambient Temperature Changes:
    If the warning light appears during a drastic change in temperature, adjust the tire pressures accordingly and monitor if the light goes off. Air pressure can decrease in colder weather and increase in warmer weather, affecting the TPMS.
  7. Inspect for Aftermarket Changes:
    If aftermarket tires or wheels have been installed, check to see if they are compatible with the TPMS sensors. Sometimes, aftermarket parts can cause issues with sensor readings.
  8. Consult a Professional:
    If after these steps the problem remains unresolved, it may be time to take your vehicle to a professional. Tire shops or auto service centers equipped with advanced diagnostic tools can provide a more comprehensive analysis and remedy.

By following these steps, you will better understand whether the issue is simply due to tire pressure changes, sensor failure, or another component problem, enabling you to address the fault effectively.

Fixing Common TPMS Faults: A DIY Approach

Before resorting to professional help, there are a few DIY fixes you can attempt:

  1. Check and Adjust Tyre Pressure: This is the simplest solution. Use a reliable pressure gauge and inflate your tyres to the recommended level as indicated in your car manual. If the light persists after inflating, proceed to the next step.
  2. Re-programming TPMS Sensors (if applicable): Some TPMS systems require re-programming after tyre rotations or sensor replacements. Consult your car’s manual for specific instructions on this procedure.
  3. Replacing Faulty Sensors: If the above steps don’t solve the problem, you might have a faulty sensor. Replacing them can be a DIY project, but it’s important to choose the right sensor type for your vehicle and follow proper installation procedures. Refer to your car manual or a trusted online resource for guidance.

While these DIY solutions can address some TPMS faults, it’s crucial to prioritise safety. If you’re unsure about any aspect of the process or suspect a more complex issue, consulting a qualified mechanic is always the best course of action.

How to Prevent TPMS Faults

Avoiding frequent TPMS faults primarily involves proactive vehicle care and maintenance. Implementing the following practices can help ensure your TPMS functions correctly and reliably:

  1. Regular Tire Pressure Checks:
    Make it a routine to inspect your tire pressure at least once a month. This simple task can help you catch and correct pressure deviations before they trigger your TPMS warning light.
  2. Seasonal Adjustments:
    Be aware of how temperature changes affect tire pressure. Colder weather can lead to lower tire pressure, while warmer weather can significantly increase it. Adjusting your tire pressure to compensate for these changes can preempt TPMS alerts.
  3. Tire Rotation and Alignment:
    Follow your vehicle’s recommended service intervals for tire rotations and alignments. This prevents uneven tire wear, which can cause false readings from both direct and indirect TPMS.
  4. Battery Checks for Sensors:
    Be mindful of the sensor batteries’ lifespan in direct TPMS systems. If your vehicle is approaching the 5-10 year mark, consider preemptive battery checks or replacements during tire servicing to avoid sudden sensor failures.
  5. Avoid Damage During Tire Servicing:
    Whenever you have your tires serviced or replaced, ensure that the technicians are careful with the TPMS sensors. Improper handling can damage these delicate components, leading to malfunctions.
  6. Use TPMS-Friendly Tire Sealants:
    If you choose to use a tire sealant for minor punctures, make sure it’s labeled as TPMS safe. Some sealants can damage the sensors, so look for products specifically designed to be sensor-friendly.
  7. Visual Inspections for Damage or Corrosion:
    Regularly inspect your tires and valve stems for any signs of damage or corrosion. Catching these issues early can prevent sensor damage and subsequent TPMS alerts.
  8. Ensure Compatible Tire and Wheel Installations:
    If you’re considering aftermarket tires or wheels, check that they are compatible with your vehicle’s TPMS. Non-compatible components can lead to persistent TPMS warnings.
  9. Familiarise with Your TPMS System:
    Understand the type of TPMS your vehicle is equipped with (direct or indirect) and how it operates. Knowing how your system functions can help you quickly recognise if an alert is due to a maintenance issue or a system fault.
  10. Use a TPMS Bypass Emulator:A TPMS bypass emulator is a device that can be used to override the TPMS warning light even when there are issues with the tire pressure.

By taking these steps, you not only prevent TPMS faults but also extend the life of your tires, improve fuel efficiency, and maintain safe driving conditions. Regular maintenance, along with a keen eye for changes in tire performance and condition, are your best defenses against recurring TPMS issues.

TPMS Bypass Emulator: An Alternative Fix to a Recurring Tire Pressure Monitor Fault

While addressing the root cause of a TPMS issue is always the recommended approach, some car owners explore alternative solutions like using TPMS bypass emulator. Designed for scenarios where traditional fixes have repeatedly failed or are impractical, this device can come with several considerations.

Using a bypass device can be appealing for a few reasons:

  1. Convenience: A TPMS bypass emulator eliminates the need for dealer intervention to silence the TPMS light. You can install it yourself and avoid potential repair costs.
  2. Sensor Reliability Concerns: Some argue that original TPMS sensors are a common source of warranty returns, and aftermarket sensor batteries might only last 1-2 years. A bypass emulator, on the other hand, offers a potentially long-term solution.
  3. Cost-Effectiveness: Depending on the number of sensors needed and labour costs, a bypass emulator can be a cheaper upfront solution compared to replacing multiple sensors. Additionally, if you later decide to reinstall functional sensors, there’s no need for hardware or software modifications in your vehicle.
  4. Customisable Pressure Settings: With a bypass emulator, you can theoretically set your desired tyre pressure without triggering the TPMS light. This can be tempting for drivers who prefer to run pressures outside the manufacturer’s recommendations.

In conclusion, your tire pressure monitoring system is there to keep you safe, making sure your tires are properly inflated and your car is ready for the road. But remember that like other systems, the TPMS can malfunction.

TPMS faults, which range from simple sensor battery failures to complex issues with system communication, can significantly impact your driving experience if not promptly tackled. Recognising these common faults, coupled with routine checks and an awareness of the signals your TPMS might send, equips you with the knowledge to prevent minor issues from escalating into potential hazards. Timely intervention like using a TPMS bypass emulator not only ensures the longevity of your tires but also maintains the overall health of your vehicle.

Are you tired of constantly dealing with a tire pressure monitor fault that disrupt your driving experience? Take control of your vehicle’s safety and efficiency by exploring our online shop for a compatible TPMS bypass emulator. Discover the perfect solution today and drive with confidence, knowing your TPMS concerns are addressed.


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