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The Tire-Pressure Monitoring Light and What it Means

Ever noticed a yellow light with an exclamation mark flashing on your dashboard? If you have, that means you take your car for a tire-pressure monitoring and refill the appropriate wheels. If you haven’t, it means you are driving dangerously. Congress passed the TREAD Act that made tire-pressure monitoring standard in all vehicles manufactured after 2008. Frequent rollover accidents prompted the action where low tire pressure was found to be the main culprit. Yet, 10% of all US car owners do not know that such a warning exists on their dashboard. And almost 25% do not bother about tire pressure until the light is on. Both ways are wrong and put your safety at risk.

The tire-pressure monitoring system or TMPS

If you buy modern used cars from dealers, the TMPS will come included. Models manufactured before 2008 had the feature as an option. Typically, a tire-pressure monitoring system continuously checks the air pressure inside all your tires and flashes the warning light on the dashboard if the level is 25% below the manufacturer’s recommended rating. This can either mean that one or more of your vehicle’s tires have deflated over time or are losing air due to a passive leak. Driving with low pressure can cause accidents, as already stated, and lower your car’s fuel efficiency, reduce tire longevity, and adversely affect the suspension.

What does the light mean?

Although installed as a warning system, you should not treat your TMPS light as your checkengine light. The top auto dealership in Spartanburg suggests a monthly tire-pressure monitoring by a service agency irrespective of the status of the light. Depending on the model that you are driving, you may have an indirect TMPS or a direct one. The former is highly inaccurate and returns faulty results. In other words, your tire pressure may already be dangerously low but the indirect system will not sound the warning as it compares the pressure of one against all the others and will see no difference if pressure on all tires is similarly low.

Also, the TMPS light itself might be defective, unless you are shopping for quality used cars in Spartanburg. If the light is off, you will ignore its presence easily and no warning will come on despite the low tire pressure. Damaged electronics in poorly maintained used cars can also wreck up the whole system. So, pay special attention to the TMPS while buying used cars. Check the recommended setting and monitor the pressure frequently. The light is just an adverse condition signal. Do not blindly depend on it.


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