What to Do When Your Tire Pressure Monitor Light Goes On?

During the cold mornings, some cars will illuminate a yellow warning light on the dash. Read the article to learn what it means and is it still safe to drive?

Tire Pressure Monitor Light


The tire pressure monitor light first started showing up in luxury car in the late 90's but now is standard in all cars sold in the United States as of Sept. 01. 2007. It is time to introduce you to the Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) and the sometimes pesky tire pressure monitor light.

Tire Pressure Monitor LightAs we come out of fall and winter arrives, our temperatures begin to drop drastically over night. When it comes to our cars, steep temperature drops can trigger a sign of fall that we don’t welcome: a yellow or orange low tire pressure warning light.

We have good news for you, though. When your light comes on, your car is simply telling you that you need more air in your and this time of year, the warning is usually related to chilly nights.

Here’s what’s happening:

  • Several vehicles that are 2000 and newer cars and trucks are equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitor System, which triggers your dashboard warning light when the air in your tires drops just a few PSI below the recommended tire psi.
  • Your tire pressure will decrease about 1 psi for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit the outside air temperature drops. (Likewise, it increases about 1 psi for every 10 degrees when the temperature rises.) If your tire pressure was last adjusted during the day or  after just coming off the road, the air pressure could be related to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. So now, the temperature drops over night overnight temperature hits the low 40s, your tire pressure will drop down by 5 psi, almost certainly turning on the tire pressure warning light .
  • To remedy your low tire pressure light, a simply check or adjustment of the air in your tires is all that is required. You can do this at a local gas station or bring it to your local mechanic. There shouldn't be a charge for this if you find a decent shop.
  • Make sure you let your mechanic know that the tire pressure light was on in the morning when it was cold. If you drive your car down to the local shop, the tire pressure will rise from where it was in the morning because the tires will heat up. Parking the car in the afternoon sun will also boost the tire pressure…falsely.
  • In most vehicles, your TPMS light will turn off once the tires are properly inflated.

If your light doesn't turn off or if have questions about checking and adjusting your tire pressure, the team at A+ Japanese Auto Repair can help! We can set the tire pressures for you, and we can usually reset the light in a couple of minutes. 

Whether you call on us for help or take care of it yourself, we urge you not to ignore the light because under inflated tires mean lower fuel economy, reduced safety and faster tire wear.

If Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) seem like overkill when it comes to automotive technology, consider this: A June 2012 study by the Rubber Manufacturers Association reports that more than 80 percent of vehicles on our highways have at least one under inflated tire, which can reduce safety and handling, raise your fuel consumption, and can wears out the tires faster costing you money. For more on tires... click here to our tire information page.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Amy Everpean March 07, 2013 at 05:53 PM
Thanks for the tips! I recently got a tire pressure monitor system from http://www.tirepressuremonitor.com/ and needed help knowing when to check my tires!!
Eric Sevim April 24, 2013 at 05:11 PM
Hi Robert, You are right about the drive up hill. Typically the temperature will drop as you go higher and that will lower the tire pressure, Eric Sevim - A+ Japanese Auto Repair
thobieaustin July 15, 2013 at 07:42 AM
Thanks for the information! I freshly got a tire pressure monitor system from and needed help knowing Office Liverpool when to check my tires!! For more information <a href="http://www.wmdc.org.uk/">Office Liverpool</a>,
Hbk Desir September 30, 2013 at 09:14 AM
When the low tire pressure light stay on it's mean your tire need air
Paul Kerrigan October 30, 2013 at 05:21 PM
My Toyota has the tire pressure monitor system. My light came on one morning after a cold night. Checked my tires. They were all ok. It dawned on me that my spare tire was a conventional spare and not one of those hard rubber ones. I checked the air pressure and it was 19 LBS. Filled it to 32 LBS. Started the car and the light went out. It seems a signal is also sent from the spare.


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