What does the TPMS light mean?
When the dreaded engine light or any light we don’t recognize comes on in your car, it can incite a feeling of panic. Fortunately, it’s not always a bad thing and later model cars are equipped with a variety of alert lights and sensors that can help prevent issues before they happen to your vehicle. Over the past two decades, the federal government has implemented legislation mandating that automobile manufacturers equip new cars with various safety mechanisms designed to increase motor vehicle safety.
One such mechanism is the tire pressure monitoring system, commonly referred to as the TPMS. As a result of the Transportation Recall Enhancement Accountability and Documentation Act (TREAD) passed in 2000 by the US Congress, automobile manufacturers are required to equip all new passenger vehicles and light duty trucks with a TPMS. If you aren’t sure if your car has TPMS, check your owner’s manual but typically you will see the TPMS warning light on your dashboard when you turn on your car.
The TPMS does just what it implies. It monitors the tire pressure in all four tires and alerts the driver with a warning light when tire pressure drops by 25% or more. Underinflated tires are a serious hazard that can cause your car to skid or hydroplane in wet conditions and increases your chance of a tire blowout and subsequent crash. If your TMPS light comes on for only a moment but flashes and goes off, you may have a malfunctioning bulb but if the light stays on, carefully check the air pressure on each tire and be sure to add air to your tires to the correct inflation point recommended for your vehicle. Check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended pressure or you can usually find it on the interior of your driver’s side door panel. It is important to note that over inflated tires can be equally hazardous so check your tire pressure regularly even if the TPMS light does not come on. No system is foolproof so simply having a TPMS system on your vehicle should not replace regular, manual tire pressure checks.
Vehicles are safer than ever thanks to evolving automotive technology, making getting where you’re going safer too! Are you interested in learning more about automotive technology or ever thought about a career as an automotive technician? Check out the Automotive and Diesel Technology Programs at J-Tech Institute. J-Tech is helping students get the training they need to become qualified automotive and diesel mechanics. Or if you’re more interested in being behind the wheel, J-Tech’s Commercial Truck Driving Program might be right for you. Call J-Tech today and jump start your future!