My TPMS Light Is On, What Does It Mean?— Wondering What to Do About It
Berning’s Auto Repair Answer:
If your TPMS light is on, it means that one or more of your tires has low air pressure. The dashboard warning light, which looks like a cross-section of a tire with some lines in it, comes on when the tire pressure is 20% below what the auto manufacturer recommends. So if your recommendation is for 35 psi (pounds per square inch), the light will come on when your pressure falls to 28 psi.
It’s vital to note that 20% below recommended pressure is significantly under-inflated. This means that you will be experiencing degraded handling and that your tire will be running hotter than it should. This can not only be a safety hazard, but your tires will wear prematurely and could even suffer a heat related failure.
Even though the idea is a great concept, in reality, drivers should not use their Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) warning light as their trigger for checking their tire pressure. They should still check their tire pressure at least once a month.
Some TPMS systems indicate tire pressures for individual wheels which will indicate which tire is low – as long as the system has been reset after rotating the tires. Other systems will simply give a warning and it is up to you to check all your tires (including the spare). For more information, talk to your friendly Berning’s Auto Repair service professional.
You TPMS does not have a regularly scheduled maintenance interval. However, be aware that the batteries in the sensors mounted in each wheel will eventually die, illuminating the warning light and necessitating replacing the sensor. Sensors can also be damaged by road salt and other contaminants.
The automotive professionals at Berning’s Auto Repair in St. Michael recommend that you have your tire pressure checked at least once a month to maintain your safety and increase tire life.
How do I know when I should get my tires rotated and balanced?— Good Question on Regular Vehicle Maintenance
Berning’s Auto Repair Answer:
The interval for tire rotation could depend on a recommendation from either the tire manufacturer or the vehicle manufacturer. The interval is typically around 5,000 miles but could range from 3,000 to 8,000 miles. The background question for vehicle owners is why do tires need to be rotated?
Front tires wear differently than the rear tires because steering wears the shoulders faster up front. Rotating the position of the tires allows for more even wear among all the tires. Now the suspension set-up on certain vehicles may also affect the relative wear between the front and rear. There are several rotation patterns – your friendly Berning’s Auto Repair service professional will see that you get the correct pattern for your particular vehicle.
Wheels and tires are not perfectly balanced due to slight variations in the manufacturing process and the placement of tire pressure monitoring sensors. So weights are strategically placed on the wheel to ensure that the tire spins true. When a wheel is out of balance it is essentially bouncing thousands of extra times every mile. Now this can result in an uncomfortable vibration for drivers and passengers in the steering wheel or through the seats. An unbalanced tire will also wear quicker and it is hard on your shocks and struts.
You should have your wheels balanced if they detect a vibration or uneven wear. A wheel balance check every year is a good idea. Because tires cost so much, it’s a great idea to do everything you can to make them last as long as possible. Proper tire inflation, regular tire rotation and wheel balancing are important keys to long tire life. The team at Berning’s Auto Repair in St. Michael can survey your tires for signs of uneven wear and diagnose and correct the problem.