How to Reset a Tire Pressure Light

July 18th, 2022 by

What is a tire pressure light?

A tire pressure light, also known as a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) light, is one of the indicators that illuminate on your vehicle’s gauge cluster in the event of a problem. The history of TPMS goes back to the 1980s. Originally installed in luxury vehicles in the European market, the technology eventually made its way to the United States. The 1997 Chevrolet Corvette was the first American vehicle to come equipped with TPMS. Later, after the passing of the TREAD Act, the feature came standard on all new vehicles for the U.S. market.

Sweeney Chevrolet tire gauge

Image by Brent Payne is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0

If the production year of your vehicle is 2008 or later, chances are that it has TPMS straight from the factory. Many vehicles produced between 2000 and 2008 may have TPMS, too. Typically, it appears as a yellow-lighted icon that resembles a cross-section of a tire viewed from the front, with an exclamation point within and slightly bulging sides to suggest either deflation or overinflation.

What’s the Meaning of an Illuminated Tire Pressure Light?

TPMS monitors the air pressure in your tires. When the TPMS light appears on your gauge cluster, it’s telling you that the pressure in one or more of your tires is under or over an appropriate level. The light serves as a signal to take action against a situation that can lead to further problems down the line. If your tires remain underinflated, they can wear out more quickly or cause increased fuel consumption. Worst-case scenarios would be destructive events such as tire blowouts or tread separation. Overinflation, too, can cause wear, as well as decreased traction and impact absorption.

You can determine the exact nature of the problem by observing the behavior of the TPMS light on your cluster. If it remains solidly illuminated as you’re driving, that means that at least one of your tires is low on air. In some cases, the light may repeatedly turn on and off. This behavior may indicate that weather conditions are causing fluctuations in tire pressure, as colder temperatures can cause pressure drops while warmer conditions cause increases. In either situation, you usually can resolve the problem by pulling over, checking the pressure of each tire, and adding air as necessary.

Troubleshooting Your Tire Pressure Light

A malfunctioning TPMS is a common occurrence. Even after you’ve filled your tires, you might see that the TPMS light remains illuminated and wonder, “Why won’t my tire pressure light go off?” Again, monitoring the behavior of the light can help you determine and troubleshoot the issue.

Two particular behaviors often indicate that you have an improperly functioning system or sensors. The first is that the light remains solidly illuminated, and the other is that the light flashes after you start the vehicle. In the case of the former, the system’s likely having difficulty determining whether your tires have the appropriate amount of air. In the latter, your battery may be dying, thereby starving your system’s sensors of the energy they need to operate. Or else the sensors themselves are broken.

When you suspect that your TPMS is malfunctioning, you have a couple of solutions to consider. If you drive a Chevy, Buick, or GMC, one option is to bring your vehicle in to our service center at Sweeney Chevrolet. Our team of certified service experts has the know-how and means to diagnose the issue and solve the problem. Another option is to reset the TPMS light on your own.

How To Reset a Tire Pressure Light

If you’ve already adjusted the air pressure of your tires and the TPMS light remains illuminated or flashing, resetting the light may finally resolve the problem. There are multiple methods of resetting the light. The simplest is just to get your vehicle moving, as the system may just need time to register that your tire pressure is correct. To that end, hit the highway, drive at or above 50 mph for at least 10 minutes, and then find someplace to stop. You’ll know the fix has been successful if the TPMS light is off when you next start the vehicle.

Should the first method prove unsuccessful, try deflating and reinflating all of your tires. Begin by overinflating the tires by 3 psi. Then remove all of the air from each tire before reinflating them all to their recommended levels. Often, a reset of the tires themselves can correct the malfunctioning system.

Failing the above, the last measure you can try is a hard reset of the TPMS. A method that may work for all GM models is to shut off the vehicle, disconnect the positive battery cable, restart the car, and discharge residual power by pressing on the horn for at least three seconds. Reconnect the battery cable

With the vehicle off, disconnect the positive battery cable. Turn the car on and honk the horn for about three seconds. This will discharge any power still stored in the vehicle. If successful, when you reconnect the battery cable, the TPMS should turn off. Another hard reset method is to use the TPMS reset or relearn option available on your GM vehicle. Consult your user’s manual for instructions specific to your model.

If you have any questions about your tires or any other system installed on your vehicle, feel free to reach out to one of our specialists. Use our online contact form to submit your question and an associate from our dealership will respond. If you’d prefer to speak directly with an associate, call our main line at 330-685-9047.

We’re also available to speak with you in person. Come see us at our dealership at 8010 Market St. here in Boardman, Ohio. Our service center operates six days a week. It’s open on Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., as well as 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. While you’re here, you can also take a look at our selection of new Chevys, Buicks, and GMCs or our inventory of used vehicles.

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