You are driving your car and suddenly the message “Tire pressure sensor failure” appears on your dashboard.
What does this mean and how much will it cost to fix it? Will it go away once I inflate my tires to the correct pressure?
There are many possible questions about this, but don’t worry. In this article, you will learn what the tire pressure sensor error message means and how you can fix it.
What does “tire pressure sensor failure” mean?
The “Tire pressure sensor failure” message indicates that there is a problem with the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). Most likely, there is a problem with a tire pressure sensor or the connection to the sensor.
The error code may tell you that the tire air pressure is too low or too high or that one of the tire pressure sensors is faulty.
It can also be caused by a faulty TPMS control unit, faulty wiring, or a TPMS reset. The easiest way to find out is to read the TPMS control unit fault codes with an OBD2 scanner.
4 Causes of Tire Pressure Sensor Error Message
There are a few reasons that may cause the tire pressure sensor failure message to appear on your dashboards. Here is a list of the four most common causes.
However, remember to always check the trouble codes before jumping to conclusions.
1. Defective tire pressure sensor
Unfortunately, a faulty tire pressure sensor is the most common cause of this message. Tire pressure sensors are located in the tires and contain batteries. After a few years, these batteries may die and you will need to replace the entire sensor.
2. The tire pressure sensor has lost memory
Sometimes the tire pressure monitoring module and tire pressure sensors lose communication with each other. If this happens, reprogramming the sensors can sometimes work. To reprogram the sensors, you need a TPMS reset tool.
3. You changed wheels
If you live in a colder country with cold weather, you’ll probably switch between summer and winter tires. You may not know that you need to reset the TPMS after changing a tire, and if your car has never had these tires before, you need to program the sensors in your car. If the tire pressure sensor error message appears after changing the tire, you may need to program the sensors.
4. Low tire pressure
In some car models, the tire pressure sensor fault light may also mean that your car’s tire pressure is low. Inflating your car is quite easy, and if you don’t know how to do it, you can go to any workshop or service station and let it do it for you. Make sure you have the correct tire pressure, as too much pressure can also cause this warning light to come on.
How does a TPMS system work?
A TPMS system can work in two different ways. If you have a vehicle manufactured after 2007, chances are you have a TPMS system in your vehicle. Some vehicles have sensors in each tire of your vehicle. The sensors detect the pressure of your tires and send this information to your TPMS control unit.
If the tire pressure is too high or too low, or if the control unit does not communicate with the sensors, the message “Tire pressure sensor failure” appears on the dashboard.
Other cars do not have sensors in their tires and use ABS sensors to calculate the rotation of their wheels. If you have low pressure, the diameter of the wheel will be more compressed, and it will have to turn faster to reach the same speed as the car. If the speed of one wheel is different from the other wheels, the vehicle registers this as an error code in its TPMS or ABS.
For this reason, you have to drive a certain distance before the car shows you the tire pressure. This is just an estimate, not the exact tire pressure.
How to fix the message “Tire pressure sensor failure”?
Fixing your tire pressure sensor is usually pretty simple, and here are some tips to easily fix this message.
1. Check tire pressure
First, you need to make sure you have the correct inflation pressure in all of your tires. Check your tire pressure with a tire pressure gauge. To find the correct pressure, you must consult the tire pressure label. You can often find the label on the body behind the driver’s door. You can also find it in your repair manual.
2. Reset with the tire pressure button or with a scanner
Once you have inflated your tires to the correct pressure, you will often have to manually reset the system. Some cars have a reset button, and in some cars, you have to drive for about 15 minutes until the lights go off. Consult your repair manual to reset your vehicle’s TPMS system. On some vehicles, you need a diagnostic tool to reset it.
3. Read trouble codes
If the error persists, you will need to read the TPMS system error codes to see the error codes. It could be a communication error with one of the tire pressure sensors or a damaged tire pressure sensor. Only the diagnostic tool will be able to tell you. Remember that you need a diagnostic scanner to read enhanced trouble codes on your vehicle to read the TPMS control module.
4. Reprogram tire pressure sensors
Sometimes tire pressure sensors lose values when communicating or programming with the TPMS control module. If this happens, you must reprogram all the sensors in the control module. This can often be done with a quality TPMS reset tool.
5. Replace the faulty tire pressure sensor
If you have tried everything but the problem persists, you probably have a faulty tire pressure sensor. Check the fault codes for the sensor where the problem appears and replace that sensor. Don’t forget to reprogram the sensors after that.
Where is the tire pressure sensor located?
Tire pressure sensors are usually installed inside your car’s tires. You can usually see this when you look at the air valve on the tire. When a tire pressure sensor is installed, you can often see a nut placed around the valve, but not in all cases.
The only way to find out is to remove the tires from the rim or call your authorized dealer and ask them.