Have a Problem with your Tire Pressure Sensor? Ask Yourself These 4 Questions:
Tire pressure sensors have been around since 2004 and became mandatory by the US government in 2008. That’s how important tire pressure is for safety and fuel economy. In most cars, your tire pressure light will blink when there is an issue with the tire pressure sensor. If one or more of your tires is low, the light will usually stay on without blinking.
1. How old are your tires? Tire pressure sensor batteries tend to last about 6 – 8 years. It may simply be time for a new battery. If this happens, you will need to go into a dealership, local mechanic or tire shop to get it replaced. Some sensors will need to be programmed to your car and will need to be serviced at a dealership.
2. Did you just have a tire replaced or repaired? Sensors can get broken in the process of changing or repairing a tire. If you just changed or repaired a tire, you may have found the reason for your bad sensor.
3. What type of sensor do you have? There are two types of sensors, direct and indirect. Direct sensors measure the actual air in your tire and indirect sensors measure the circumference of your tire. You should be able determine which you have by checking your owner’s manual. Direct sensors used to have a metal valve stem, although manufacturers are moving away from metal stems because they tend to break. If you do have a direct sensor with a metal valve stem cap, the valve can rust and you could break it when trying to remove the cap.
4. Are you missing valve stem caps? There are times when valve stem caps may not get put back on. It’s possible (though not probable), that not having a cap could cause damage to a direct sensor valve. During the winter, salt can get in the valve and possibly rust the metal valve. This can cause a leak or make it difficult for you to put air in your tire. You can purchase new caps at many stores such as Auto Zone, Walmart, etc. If you do purchase a cap, make sure it’s plastic and not metal so it won’t rust and get stuck. If you take your car in to get serviced, ask them to replace any missing caps. They might just do it for free.