Tire pressure sensors are a common part of car maintenance, and oftentimes they go unnoticed. The sensors monitor the air pressure in your tires and warn you when the pressure drops below a certain threshold. The downside is that these sensors can fail, which can lead to dangerous driving conditions. In this blog post, we will explore how to diagnose and fix a tire pressure sensor. We will also discuss some common causes and remedies for when the sensor fails.
What is a Tire Pressure Sensor?
A tire pressure sensor is a small device located on the side of a tire that measures the air pressure in the tire. When the air pressure in a tire falls below a certain level, the sensor sends a signal to the vehicle’s computer, which then tells the engine to start or stop. This system ensures that your car is running at its optimum performance and prevents you from getting stranded because your tires are too low on air.
If your car has an automatic transmission, it will also use this information to determine when to shift gears. In some cases, if your car has an automatic climate control system, it may also use this data to maintain your preset temperature. If your car doesn’t have an automatic transmission or climate control, you will need to check with your vehicle’s manufacturer for specific instructions on how to reset or change the sensor.
Regularly checking your tire pressure and replacing any worn or damaged tires is important for maintaining optimal driving performance and reducing the risk of getting stranded. To check your tire’s pressure, turn off all electrical gadgets and lights in the car before attempting to measure air pressure. Use a reliable gauge like those made by Pirelli or Continental; don’t trust “honking” gauges found at convenience stores or garages. Check your PSI as soon as possible after driving in order to avoid over-inflating your tires in cold weather conditions (this can cause premature wear).
How Does a Tire Pressure Sensor Work?
A tire pressure sensor is a small, electronic device that sends a signal to the car’s computer when the air pressure in the tire decreases below a preset level. The signal will cause the car’s engine to automatically stop and/or decrease the speed of the vehicle. If you have a low-air-pressure warning light on your dashboard, your tire pressure sensor may be malfunctioning. To check if your tire pressure sensor is malfunctioning, first try inflating the tire to its maximum psi (psi is measured in pounds per square inch) and checking for the low-air-pressure warning light. If the light still stays on, your sensor is probably malfunctioning and needs to be replaced. Some car models can be started without a functioning TPMS; in this case, the car will indicate low air pressure by other means (e.g., sounding an alarm).
How to Fix a Tire Pressure Sensor
If your car’s tire pressure sensor isn’t working, it may be due to a broken wire or a dirty sensor. If the sensor is clean and the wire looks good, but the tire pressure still isn’t reading correctly, then you may need to replace the sensor. Here are instructions on how to do both repairs.
To repair a broken wire:
1) Remove the wheel and tire from the car.
2) Use a flat head screwdriver to pry off the plastic cover over the sensor.
3) Look for a broken wire near one of the connector plugs on the sensor. If you find it, replace the wire with a new one from your kit.
4) Replace the plastic cover and screw it back in place.
5) Reattach the wheel and tire to the car.
6) Drive your car for at least 10 minutes to check for leaks and adjust your air pressure if necessary.
When to Replace a Tire Pressure Sensor
If your car’s warning light comes on and you can’t seem to get the tire pressure sensor (TPMS) to cooperate, it might be time to replace it. Follow these steps:
1. Confirm that your TPMS is actually malfunctioning. If the light comes on in response to low tire pressure, but the sensor appears to be working properly, there isn’t necessarily a problem with the sensor itself. Check for a clogged or damaged filter next.
2. Test your TPMS by inflating the tires to 30 psi (2 bar). The warning light should come on if the air pressure falls below 26 psi (1 bar). If it doesn’t, your TPMS may need replacement.
3. Inspect your TPMS for damage and/or signs of abuse, such as screws that are missing or bent, burned-out LEDs, or broken wires near the connector. Replace any damaged parts before continuing.
4. Remove and reinstall the offending tirepressure sensors according to your car’s manual instructions. Be sure to tighten all bolts firmly before reusing them—a loose sensor could result in another warning light coming on!