Proper Tire Pressure is Important

We’ve all seen the pesky little light. It never appears at a convenient time… always when we’re in a hurry to get somewhere. And while it’s easy to ignore the little light, it’s not a good idea. This type of problem won’t go away on its own (most of the time).

Just as manufacturers determine the tire size to be used on the vehicles they make, they also determine the correct air pressure for those tires to perform optimally. When a vehicle is equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), a light on your dash will illuminate when your tire pressure is outside a range of the pressure specified by the manufacturer. TPMS sensors are required in all passenger cars in the United States built in model year 2008 and later.

So what causes the TPMS light to illuminate?

  • Your tire may have damage causing it to leak air. If it’s a slow leak, the warning may disappear for a few days after air is added. If it’s a bigger issue, the tire may go flat right away and require immediate attention.
  • All tires will lose pressure given enough time. Even a tire in good condition with no punctures will lose air, albeit slowly. The TPMS warning light can signal that the air pressure in your tire has finally reached the threshold to trigger the light.
  • Sometimes it’s the weather. A sudden drop in temperature can cause a pressure change in your tire. When this happens, it’s not uncommon for the light to go off after you begin driving and the tires get warmer. It’s still a good idea to check the tire pressure, as you’re probably right there on the threshold if a cold snap causes the issue.

How do we fix it?
So we know the common causes of a TPMS indicator light. What will fix it? Usually it’s pretty simple. You can add air to the tire and get it back to the correct pressure for your vehicle. With many cars, doing this turns off the light. Some require special steps to reset the light. For that, you’d need to consult your owners manual.

Is it really that important?
Yes. Keeping your tires properly inflated is important for safety as well as getting the most out of your tires.

  • Underinflated tires have increased friction with the roadway, which leads to heat build-up. Heat build-up can cause tire failure, especially during hot conditions.
  • Tires that are underinflated or overinflated can also affect the handling and stopping characteristics of your vehicle.
  • Proper tire inflation is one of the easiest ways to get more mileage out of your tires. When your tires are underinflated, wear occurs faster on the edges. Overinflated tires wear faster in the center. Proper inflation helps with even treadwear, making your tires perform better for more miles.
  • And if these other reasons aren’t enough, correctly inflated tires help you maximize fuel efficiency. When air pressure is low, the increased friction lessens your vehicle’s ability to roll freely, which reduces your fuel mileage.

You’re always welcome to stop at Plaza Tire Service if you need a tire (or all of them) aired up. We’re glad to assist you, and there’s no charge for the service. Click here to find your nearest Plaza Tire Service location.

If you have other tire questions, stop in one of our locations. We’re glad to help. You can also reach us through our webchat system by clicking the icon at the lower right of the page.