A tire pressure sensor light illuminating means you need to check on your tires. But except for a flat or a puncture, it shouldn’t be too worrisome.

When the tire pressure sensor light comes on, it may mean a few different things. Here’s a look at what to do if putting air in one of your tires isn’t enough to deactivate the sensor.

Cold Weather

Cold weather can cause some or all of your tires to drop in pressure below the factory recommended levels. In addition, some sensors are set to alert the driver when the pressures vary too much between tires, even if they haven’t dropped too low. So instead of correctly inflating just one tire, inflating all four of them to the proper level may help turn the light off.

Failed Sensor

If filling your tires to their proper inflation isn’t enough to reset the light, you may simply have a failed sensor. While some do-it-yourselfers will have the proper equipment available to remove the tire, replace the sensor, and then the tire, most people won’t. It’s a repair best left to the pros. In that case, any new- or used-car dealership service center (or any repair shop) should be able to perform the repair. It also shouldn’t be too expensive, depending on parts and your local shop’s labor rate. In the case of many newer vehicles, you will most likely be in luck, and it will be covered under warranty. Tire pressure sensors typically last five to seven years regardless of wear and tear. In addition to age, corrosion can cause them to fail, as well.

Spare Tire

If you recently replaced a blown tire with a spare, the different size of the spare (or if it’s a “donut”) can also cause the light to stay on. In this case, it’s not faulty, and the technician should be able to reset the light after installing a new tire.

No Need to Worry

Yes, a tire pressure sensor light illuminating means you need to check on your tires. With the exception of a flat or puncture, it shouldn’t be too worrisome. A quick visit to a repair shop will let you know if the sensor is faulty, should there be any doubt.

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About the AuthorTim Healey

Tim Healey is a writer and reporter specializing in covering the automotive industry and reviewing new cars. He also has experience covering sports in a past journalistic life. The Chicago-based journalist loves cars, sports, and music, and can write passionately and knowledgeably about all three topics.