On a recent service visit at our Glenview location, a young couple expressed concern about how to maintain tire pressure on their family van. They stopped in after they returned from a weekend day trip to a corn maze. Before they left on this autumn adventure, they filled up their gas tank, checked the oil, buckled in the kids and then hit the highway.
A glowing orange light on their dash almost kept them from reaching the maze. After checking their owner’s manual, they discovered this was the tire pressure light indicating that one or all of their tires might be low.
Every time you stop to buy gas, you should check your tire pressure.
This light that usually looks like an exclamation point (!) is a warning indicator sign that your tire pressure may be low. With fluctuating temperatures as the season changes from summer to fall, dramatic changes in temperatures from daytime to nighttime can cause false low tire pressure warnings.
What caused the light to go on?
Federal law required that all passenger cars and trucks beginning in model year 2006 be equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System or TPMS. This system alerts drivers when the tire pressure dips about 25 percent below the recommended specification. Some vehicles will trigger the TPMS light at less than 25 percent.
Seasonal weather changes could lower tire pressure
For every 10 degree change in ambient air temperature, your tire pressure will fluctuate about 1 psi.
If you or your auto shop last set the tire pressure when it was 90-plus degrees outside, imagine what it drops to when the overnight temperatures fall into the mid-40s. Your tire pressure could be changing 4-5 psi at night, which can cause the TPMS light to go on.
What to do when your TPMS indicator lights goes on? Check and adjust your tire pressure in the morning before the temperatures heat up and cause a false bump to the psi level of the tires.
In most vehicles, your TPMS light will turn itself off once you’ve properly inflated the tires. (You may need to drive for a few minutes or miles first. Every vehicle varies slightly.) However, if your light is persistent, CARS of America can help!
We’ll make sure the system is operating properly, and we can reset the light for you. In most cases, we can reset it within minutes. We even may have to go through a series of steps, including meeting specific driving conditions. There may be a minimal cost charged in those instances.
If you have any questions or the TPMS light is on consistently, schedule an appointment online, or stop by. It’s important to check your tire pressure as part of your routine maintenance on your car. Underinflated tires can cause lower fuel economy, reduced safety and faster tire wear.