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What to Do When Your Low Tire Pressure Light Comes On

BY: Keith Benline
Close up of woman crouching on the gas station and inflating tire

Driving down the road only to see a light suddenly switch on within your dashboard can be a disconcerting experience. After all, if you’ve never seen this happen before, you may think drastic action needs to be taken. There are various warning lights on your automotive dashboard, though, and not all require you to immediately get your vehicle off the road.

One light that most drivers are bound to see at one point or another is the low tire pressure light. Knowing what steps to take can make you a better driver, whether that light flips on due to a flat or simply because it’s time to add some air to your tires.

Learn everything you need to know about your tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) and what to do if your tires are getting low.

Immediate Steps When the Low Tire Pressure Light Comes On

The first thing to do when your low tire pressure light comes on is to remain calm. The light most likely flipped on because the air pressure sensor detected an underinflated tire that dropped beneath the benchmark level. In most cases, this doesn’t mean your tire is about to blow out or go flat, so take your time and drive home safely.

Once you’ve returned home, visually inspect your tires and take a reading of the tire pressure with a tire pressure gauge to see which one tripped the TPMS light. Modern vehicles may allow you to detect the tire pressure on your dashboard, so feel free to use that method if available. Beyond checking the tire pressure, be sure to look around the tire to see if there is a nail or some other object that punctured your tire and is causing the loss.

Safety Precautions and Measures to Remember

When inspecting your tires, it’s always best to remember a few best practices and safety measures that should be taken:

  • Ensure your vehicle is parked and off when inspecting your tires
  • Don’t attempt to remove anything that is stuck within your tires without the proper tools
  • Don’t drive for too long on tires with low air, as this can lead to a blowout or flat tire
  • If one tire appears visibility deflated compared to the other tires, don’t drive your vehicle
  • Avoid trusting your low tire pressure detector without testing it yourself

Troubleshooting Low Tire Pressure Causes

New tires can be expensive, so troubleshooting the cause of your consistently low tire pressure can potentially save you some money. The quickest and easiest way is to conduct a visual inspection of all four tires to see if you can spot anything puncturing the tire. Don’t forget to slightly back your car up after checking so that the underside of your tires can also be inspected.

Assuming you can’t see anything puncturing your tires, inflate your car tires to an adequate level and continue your daily business. If there is an underlying problem, you will likely see that the low tire pressure indicator illuminates again quickly. This may mean that something punctured your tire slightly but is no longer in your tire. In this situation, it’s best to take your vehicle to a repair shop so that you don’t get a flat tire. They may be able to repair the tire so that you don’t need to purchase a new one.

Also, remember that the weather can cause tire pressure changes. Your tire pressure will drop 1 PSI per 10 degrees as the weather cools. If it is a particularly cool day, then this may be why the time pressure warning light switched on; however, that means your tires were likely close to being too low anyway and should still be filled back up with air.

Another issue that tends to be rare but can still occur is a problem with your TPMS sensor TPMS system itself. If your low tire pressure indicator switches on, but your tire pressure isn’t low when you check manually, it’s possible that there’s an issue with the system itself. Consider taking your vehicle into the shop to have the reset button clicked on the system and watch to see if it switches on again in the future.

How to Fill It Up: Correct Tire Inflation

Assuming the cause of your tire pressure sensor light going off is just a normal reduction in the air over time, learning how to inflate tires by yourself is beneficial. Once you have measured the tire pressure of each to determine how much air to add in, remove the tire valve caps from the affected tires and place them in your pocket so that you don’t lose them.

Place the air compressor (turned on) against the opening that has been exposed by taking off the valve cap. Keep it firmly against this for a few seconds and listen to ensure air enters the tire. After a few seconds, check the pressure level again to determine if it aligns with the owner’s manual recommended tire pressure for your vehicle. Once you have reached this level successfully, re-screw the tire valve cap tightly.

The Importance of Regular Tire Maintenance and Pressure Checks

The tires on a vehicle are some of the most important parts as they allow you to move down the road. Even a single tire having an issue can leave your car as a glorified paperweight. Handling tire maintenance is something you should remember if you hope to avoid the hefty replacement cost for those tires. To that end, utilize the following tire maintenance schedule to protect your vehicle:

  • Rotate the tires on your vehicle every 6,000 to 8,000 miles as a best practice
  • Check the treads on your tires at least once a month to ensure they aren’t worn down
  • Get your wheels professionally aligned once every two to three years
  • Inspect your tire pressure level at least once a month manually or with your vehicle’s dashboard

Not taking good care of your tires can quickly lead to the degradation of those tires. Considering the cost of a new tire on a compact car averages nearly $150, with higher-end tires potentially costing hundreds more, it’s clear why tire maintenance is crucial.

How to Address Recurring Tire Pressure Issues

Sometimes, you may notice that no matter how often you re-inflate your tires, you quickly notice a new issue popping up. It’s possible that the tire brand you currently have on your vehicle is sub-par, though this issue is most often seen with used vehicles that may have had their tires replaced in the past. Inspect your vehicle’s tires to see the brand, and look up reviews online to take note of the common issues.

If the tires on your vehicle are of good quality, yet you are still running into consistent tire pressure issues, it’s best to take your vehicle to a repair shop for a diagnosis. There may be something affecting the tires that you cannot detect with the naked eye, but a professional may be able to locate the source of the issue.

Tire Coverage with Elite Benefits

The cost to replace your tires can be frustrating, but sometimes road hazards are unavoidable, and your tires may be severely damaged. Endurance Warranty customers enjoy reimbursements for up to four tires per year due to damage from road hazards via our Elite Benefits. This means you can get back on the road and save hundreds of dollars if not more. Elite Benefits are available to all those with an active Endurance contract.

Protect Your Vehicle’s Health with Endurance

Maintaining your vehicle over time can be a hassle, but taking care of these preventive tasks is of the utmost importance. Allowing your tires to continue to deflate long after the low tire pressure warning light has turned on can result in damaged tires and thousands of dollars in replacement costs. That’s one example of how ignoring maintenance can lead to additional costly problems.

An extended warranty, more accurately called a vehicle service contract, with Endurance can alleviate some of this burden by offering financial protection against certain covered repairs. Additionally, there are different and customizable options, meaning there’s a plan for any driver. The Superior package covers the parts that most commonly break down, such as the engine, electrics, and fuel system. On the other hand, the Secure Plus offers stated coverage designed for older vehicles specifically. Those seeking maximum coverage, including everything on the former packages and smaller components such as gaskets and more, can also opt for the Supreme plan.

To learn more about how Endurance can help protect your vehicle, call our award-winning customer service team at (800) 253-8203 to request a FREE quote. You can also simply shop online to see your price now.

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