Tire Pressure Sensor Fault: Causes, Symptoms, and Fixes

Tire Pressure Sensor Fault: Causes, Symptoms, and Fixes

Tire pressure sensor fault is a common issue faced by many drivers in their vehicles. This malfunction can lead to inaccurate readings of tire pressure, which can affect the overall performance and safety of the vehicle. In this article, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and solutions for tire pressure sensor fault, providing valuable insights to help drivers troubleshoot and fix this problem.

Understanding the reasons behind this issue and knowing the signs to look out for can help prevent potential hazards on the road. Let us delve deeper into this topic and find out how to effectively address tire pressure sensor faults.

What Causes Tire Pressure Sensor Fault?

What Causes Tire Pressure Sensor Fault?

Tire pressure sensors are a crucial component of modern vehicles, as they monitor the air pressure within the tires and alert the driver if there is a significant deviation from the recommended pressure.

This helps ensure safety, fuel efficiency, and tire longevity. However, at times these sensors can malfunction, leading to a tire pressure sensor fault. This occurrence can be frustrating for drivers, as it may result in false readings or a constantly illuminated warning light on the dashboard.

There can be several reasons why a tire pressure sensor may fail, and they can be broadly categorized into three main causes: mechanical, electrical, and environmental factors.

1. Mechanical Causes

The most common issue that causes a tire pressure sensor fault is physical damage to the sensor itself. As the sensors are typically mounted on the inside of the tire, they are susceptible to damage from road debris, potholes, and even sharp objects during tire changes. This damage can lead to a break in the sensor’s wiring or an internal malfunction, resulting in a faulty reading or no reading at all.

Another mechanical cause of sensor failure could be corrosion or build-up of dirt or grime on the sensor’s surface. This can disrupt the sensor’s ability to accurately detect the tire pressure, leading to false readings.

2. Electrical Causes

Tire pressure sensors are electronic devices and are powered by a small battery. Over time, the battery may wear out or lose its charge, resulting in a faulty sensor. This can be a significant issue for vehicles that have been in use for several years, as the sensors may have reached the end of their lifespan.

Additionally, faulty wiring or a poor connection between the sensor and the vehicle’s onboard computer can also cause a tire pressure sensor fault. This can be caused by damage to the wiring, moisture buildup, or loose connections.

3. Environmental Causes

Extreme temperatures can also affect the functioning of tire pressure sensors. In very cold weather, the air inside the tire contracts, causing a drop in tire pressure. The sensors may not be able to accurately detect this change, resulting in a faulty reading. Similarly, in hot weather, the air expands, causing an increase in tire pressure, which may also not be accurately detected by the sensor.

Moreover, sensor failure can also be caused by exposure to moisture or water. If the vehicle is driven through deep water or heavy rain, water can enter the tire through the valve stem, potentially damaging the sensor.

Symptoms of Bad Tire Pressure Sensor

Symptoms of Bad Tire Pressure Sensor

The tire pressure sensor is an essential component in modern car tire systems that helps to ensure the safety and optimal performance of vehicles. It constantly monitors the air pressure in the tires and alerts the driver in case of any deviations, ensuring that the pressure remains within the recommended range.

However, like any other part, the tire pressure sensor is prone to wear and tear, which can result in problems with its functions. Here are some symptoms of a bad tire pressure sensor.

1. Warning Light Illumination

The most common symptom of a bad tire pressure sensor is the illumination of the tire pressure warning light on the dashboard. This light is usually in the shape of a flat tire with an exclamation mark inside, indicating a tire pressure issue.

If the warning light persists or comes on randomly even after checking and adjusting the tire pressure, it may indicate a faulty sensor.

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2. Incorrect Readings

A faulty tire pressure sensor may give incorrect readings or no readings at all. This can be dangerous as it can lead to driving with significantly underinflated or overinflated tires, which can impact the vehicle’s handling and fuel efficiency. Inaccurate readings can also be caused by other issues such as a faulty tire valve or a leak in the tire.

3. Delayed Warnings

A malfunctioning tire pressure sensor may cause a delay in the warning light coming on. This means that the driver may not be immediately alerted to changing tire pressure, potentially causing them to continue driving on unsafe tires. The sensor may also fail to detect rapid changes in tire pressure, leaving the driver unaware of an underinflated tire until it’s too late.

4. Erratic Behavior

A bad tire pressure sensor can sometimes cause erratic behavior in the tire warning system. This could include false alarms or no warnings at all. The tire pressure system may also fail to reset or give inconsistent readings, leading to confusion and potential safety risks.

5. Low Battery Life

Tire pressure sensors are powered by batteries that can last up to 7 to 10 years. However, if the battery is nearing the end of its lifespan, the sensor may start to act erratically or fail entirely. If the sensor battery dies, the whole sensor unit will need to be replaced.

How to Identify Which TPMS Sensor is Bad

How to Identify Which TPMS Sensor is Bad

TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) sensors are an essential component of modern vehicles. They are responsible for monitoring the air pressure inside the tires and providing a warning to the driver if the pressure drops below a safe level.

However, just like any other mechanical device, TPMS sensors can fail or malfunction over time. It is important to identify which TPMS sensor is bad to ensure proper functioning of the system and avoid potential safety hazards. Here are some steps to help you determine which TPMS sensor is faulty.

1. Check the TPMS warning light

The first step to identifying a bad TPMS sensor is to check your vehicle’s TPMS warning light. If the light is on, it indicates an issue with the system. However, this does not necessarily mean that a specific sensor is bad. It could also be a problem with the TPMS module or receiver. Hence, it is important to perform further checks to locate the faulty sensor.

2. Use a TPMS scan tool

A TPMS scan tool is a device that can read the tire pressure data from each sensor and display it on a screen. It is the most efficient way to identify a bad TPMS sensor. Simply connect the scan tool to the vehicle’s OBD II port and follow the instructions to read the sensor data. The tool will display the tire pressure readings from each sensor. If one of the sensors is reading significantly lower or higher than the others, it is likely the faulty one.

3. Compare the readings

If you do not have access to a TPMS scan tool, you can still compare the pressure readings of each tire manually. Use a tire pressure gauge to measure the air pressure in each tire and compare it to the recommended pressure listed on the driver’s side door jamb. If one tire has a significantly lower pressure than the others, it could indicate a failing sensor.

4. Inspect the sensors

If none of the above methods helps in identifying the faulty sensor, you can visually inspect the sensors for physical damage. Look for any signs of corrosion, water damage, or physical damage on the sensors. If you notice any damage, it is likely that the sensor has failed and needs to be replaced.

5. Rotate the tires

Another way to identify a bad TPMS sensor is to rotate the tires. If the TPMS warning light stays on after rotating the tires, it indicates that the issue is not with the tires and is most likely due to a bad sensor.

How Do You Fix a Tire Pressure Sensor Fault?

How Do You Fix a Tire Pressure Sensor Fault?

Tire pressure sensors are an essential component of modern vehicles that help ensure that the tires are properly inflated and therefore, provide optimum performance and safety. However, like any other electronic component, tire pressure sensors can also malfunction, leading to a tire pressure sensor fault. This can result in inaccurate readings and warnings, which can be frustrating and potentially dangerous.

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So, how do you fix a tire pressure sensor fault? Below are the steps that a mechanical engineer would take to troubleshoot and rectify the issue:

  • Identify the Faulty Sensor: The first step in fixing a tire pressure sensor fault is to identify the faulty sensor. Most modern vehicles have a tire pressure monitoring system that displays the readings of each tire on the instrument panel. If one of the readings is consistently low or shows dashes instead of numbers, it indicates a faulty sensor in that particular tire.
  • Check the Battery: Tire pressure sensors are powered by a small battery, which can wear out over time. A low battery can cause the sensor to fail, resulting in a tire pressure sensor fault. Therefore, it is essential to check the battery first and replace it if necessary.
  • Reset the Sensor: In some cases, the sensor may just need to be reset to fix the issue. This can be done by deflating the tire completely, waiting for a few minutes, and then reinflating it to the recommended pressure. Repeat this process a few times to allow the sensor to recalibrate.
  • Check for Physical Damage: Physical damage to the tire pressure sensor can also cause a fault. Inspect the sensor for any signs of damage, such as cracks or corrosion, and replace it if necessary.
  • Use a TPMS Tool: A TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) tool is a device that can read the data from the sensors and diagnose any issues. A mechanical engineer can use this tool to check the functionality of each sensor and determine which one needs to be replaced.
  • Replace the Faulty Sensor: If the above steps do not fix the tire pressure sensor fault, then the sensor will need to be replaced. This can be done by a mechanical engineer or a trained technician. The old sensor will need to be removed, and a new one will be installed in its place.
  • Recalibrate the TPMS: After replacing the sensor, the TPMS will need to be recalibrated to ensure that it is reading the correct data. This can be done with the help of the TPMS tool or by following the vehicle’s manual instructions.

What happens if you Ignore the Tire Pressure Sensor Warning?

What happens if you Ignore the Tire Pressure Sensor Warning

Ignoring the tire pressure sensor warning on your vehicle can have serious consequences that can affect your safety, vehicle performance, and financial costs.

The tire pressure sensor is a small device located inside each tire that measures the air pressure and sends a signal to your vehicle’s computer system. When the tire pressure is too low, the sensor triggers a warning light on your dashboard, typically in the shape of an exclamation mark inside a horseshoe.

If you choose to ignore this warning, here are some potential consequences that could occur:

1. Safety Risks

Driving with low tire pressure can increase your risk of getting into an accident. Under-inflated tires can affect handling, steering, and braking abilities, making it more challenging to control your vehicle. They also have less traction on the road, which can lead to loss of control or skidding, especially in wet or slippery conditions.

2. Tire Damage

Under-inflated tires can cause uneven wear, leading to premature tire damage. This can result in a blowout while driving, putting your safety at risk. Additionally, improper tire pressure can cause the sidewalls to flex, weakening the tire’s structure, and reducing its lifespan.

3. Reduced Fuel Efficiency

When your tires are not properly inflated, it creates more rolling resistance, which means your vehicle will need more power to move forward. This can result in a decrease in fuel efficiency and cost you more in gasoline expenses over time.

4. Expensive Repairs

Ignoring a tire pressure warning for an extended period can result in damage to your vehicle’s suspension and steering systems. The extra strain on these components can lead to premature wear, resulting in costly repairs.

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5. Tire Replacement Costs

Failing to maintain proper tire pressure can cause your tires to wear out faster, leading to the need for more frequent replacements. This can add up to significant expenses over time, especially if you have a larger vehicle or expensive tires.

6. Legal Consequences

Driving with under-inflated tires is considered a safety violation in many states. If you are caught with low tire pressure during a routine vehicle inspection, you could face fines or even have your license suspended.


In conclusion, tire pressure sensor faults can be a major safety concern for drivers and should not be ignored. Understanding the causes and symptoms of a faulty tire pressure sensor can help identify the issue early on and prevent any potential accidents. Regular maintenance and proper tire inflation can also help prevent sensor faults.

If a tire pressure sensor fault is detected, it is important to address it immediately by either replacing the faulty sensor or recalibrating the system. Ignoring the issue can lead to tire damage, decreased fuel efficiency, and potential safety hazards on the road. With proper care and attention, tire pressure sensor faults can be easily fixed, ensuring a safe and enjoyable driving experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main causes of tire pressure sensor faults?

Tire pressure sensor faults can be caused by mechanical issues such as physical damage, corrosion, or dirt buildup; electrical problems like battery wear or faulty wiring; and environmental factors, including extreme temperatures and exposure to moisture.

What are the symptoms of a bad tire pressure sensor?

Common symptoms include the illumination of the tire pressure warning light, incorrect or no pressure readings, delayed warnings, erratic behavior in the tire warning system, and low battery life in the sensor.

How can you identify which TPMS sensor is bad?

You can use a TPMS scan tool to read tire pressure data from each sensor, compare pressure readings manually, inspect sensors for physical damage, rotate tires to identify the faulty one, and check the TPMS warning light on the dashboard.

How do you fix a tire pressure sensor fault?

Steps include identifying the faulty sensor, checking the battery, resetting the sensor, inspecting for physical damage, using a TPMS tool for diagnosis, replacing the faulty sensor, and recalibrating the TPMS.

What happens if you ignore the tire pressure sensor warning?

Ignoring the warning can lead to safety risks, tire damage, reduced fuel efficiency, expensive repairs, increased tire replacement costs, and legal consequences, as low tire pressure is considered a safety violation in many states.

Why is it important to address tire pressure sensor faults promptly?

Promptly addressing tire pressure sensor faults is crucial to prevent accidents, minimize tire damage, maintain fuel efficiency, avoid expensive repairs, and comply with legal regulations regarding vehicle safety.

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