Technology can be a “love it and hate” type scenario. We can love all the bells and whistles that our vehicle comes with, especially when it can alert us about a potential problem and thereby helping us avoid a costly repair. On the other side of the coin, all those lights that are on the dash can be a bit confusing. Yes, information about all those lights and what they mean are in your owners manual, but how many of us actually read the manual? That’s okay – and the three of you who did raise your hands can put them down now…
One the most “loved / hated” lights on the dash is the tire pressure monitoring system light (TPMS for short) or what is also known as the Low Tire Indicator light. Most people are familiar with the infamous yellow light that has an outline of a tire with an exclamation point in the middle of it. This light comes on when the air pressure in your tires is either a certain percentage (usually about 10%) too high or too low. The TPMS system was devised to help consumers get the most wear out of their tires by helping them keep tabs on proper air pressure. It can also help immensely if you get a nail or screw in a tire and can alert you of low tire pressure before the tire goes completely flat.
On the outside of the tire and rim, these TPMS sensors can look like regular valve stems. However, if one were to remove the sensor, you would see either a very small box-shaped piece of hardened plastic or a rounded end of the same material that actually sends information to your car’s computer. The TPMS or low tire indicator light will also come on if one of the sensors wears out and fails. With the weather we have here in Maine, including if you factor in all the salt used on the roads in winter, most TPMS sensors should last approximately five years.
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