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Matthew Wright

Tire Pressure Sensors Bugging? Blame the Cold

By November 17, 2010

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As the weather turns colder, I always get a flurry of questions from customers who say their TPMS (Tire Pressure Management System) sensors have been activated telling them that one or more of their tires has experienced a drop in air pressure. Basically they go out to their car on one of the first colder mornings of the season and the warnings start. Understandably, these drivers are worried that one of their tires might have a leak, so they call or come to the shop to investigate. Don't panic, I tell them. When the temperature drops significantly, your tire pressure can actually go down without losing any air at all. I'll skip the physics lesson, but the warmer a tire is, the more pressure it will exhibit with the "same" volume of air inside. A sensitive TPMS sensor will see a drop in pressure with a drop in temperature. So before you freak out, fill your tires to the correct pressure, and give it a day. Chances are you are in the clear.

Comments
November 22, 2010 at 10:24 pm
(1) Rosario Fassler says:

My light is constantly on but the auto body shop says it is just the way my car is.

November 23, 2010 at 12:44 pm
(2) paul kozlowski says:

I own a 2008 kia rondo with P225-50R17 Michelin Energy MVX4S8 tires. I would like to replace these with 16 inch steel wheels with P205-60R16 tires. When you do the math, the overall tire dia. for the 17″ wheel is 25.86″. For the 16″, it would be 25.68″. This would mean that the speedo would be reading 0.7% higher for the 16″ wheel. I would like to purchase the 16″ wheels with no TPMS. I check tire pressure about every 2 weeks. I don’t like the 17″ alloy wheels because they are of poor quality from KIA. Can I eliminate the TPMS signal from the display on the dash? I don’t believe the TPMS factors into the ESC/ ABS system for control under icy conditions, unless you can tell me other….thanks..paul k

November 23, 2010 at 2:10 pm
(3) Charles says:

You can do whatever you want for the wheel- tire swap. Any good tire shop can get the tpms shut off, The tire swap you are wanting is a bit narrow for your vehicle. The maximun load will be lower, and you will have less contact area on the ground. You can do what you like, but this wheel tire swap, is problematic at best, and not one most tire places would recommend. Try a different combination, for the safety of your family. Don’t try to cheap out on this tire swap, if that’s what you had in mind. (I have long time tire expertise)

November 23, 2010 at 3:47 pm
(4) Geoff says:

I have a ’09 Aura. The other night, my wife hit something in the road. (really) What ever she hit bent the rim and broke the seal of the tire. The tire presssure sensor sent the message saying the passenger side rear tire was going soft. The only problem was it was the driver’s side front wheel that was damaged and leaking. Could the factory make the mistake of switching the plugs somewhere? Where are the sensors and can I straighten this out myself?

December 10, 2010 at 11:06 am
(5) Amy says:

Does a 2000 Chrysler LHS have tire pressure sensors?

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