Tire Pressure System Malfunction (TPMS Causes, Solutions)

tire pressure system malfunction

Modern vehicles are equipped with advanced safety features, including the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), designed to ensure optimal tire pressure and prevent potential hazards on the road.

However, despite the benefits of TPMS, occasional faults can occur, leading to warning messages or lights on the dashboard.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the causes of tire pressure sensor faults, discuss their implications, and provide solutions to address these issues effectively.

What is a Tire Pressure Sensor Fault?

The Tire Pressure Monitoring System relies on sensors installed in each tire to transmit data about the tire pressure to the vehicle’s central management unit.

A tire pressure sensor fault occurs when one or more of these sensors fail to transmit accurate data, compromising the effectiveness of the TPMS.

This fault can manifest as a warning message or a light on the dashboard, indicating a problem with the tire pressure monitoring system.

Common Causes of Tire Pressure Sensor Faults

1. Diminished Sensor Battery Charge

One of the most common causes of tire pressure sensor faults is a loss of battery charge within the TPMS sensor itself.

Over time, the batteries in these sensors discharge and require replacement. When the battery charge is low, the sensor may fail to transmit accurate data, resulting in a sensor fault.

2. Damaged Sensor Assembly

Tire pressure sensors can become damaged due to tire-to-curb impact or incorrect tire mounting and dismounting procedures.

These damages can affect the functionality of the sensor, leading to a sensor fault. In such cases, replacing the affected sensor is usually necessary to resolve the issue.

3. Loss of Tire Pressure

While modern vehicles are designed to differentiate between a low tire warning and a tire pressure sensor fault, some earlier models may not have this capability.

As a result, a tire pressure sensor fault may indicate low tire pressure instead of an actual sensor issue. In such situations, it is crucial to diagnose the source of the air loss and address it accordingly.

Read also >> Tire Malfunction (Here Is How To Fix)

Importance of Addressing Tire Pressure Sensor Faults

Ignoring a tire pressure sensor fault can have serious implications for both your safety and the longevity of your tires. Here are some reasons why it is essential to address these issues promptly:

  1. Safety: Driving with an unresolved tire pressure sensor fault can compromise your safety on the road. The TPMS is designed to alert you when tire pressure is too low, preventing potential accidents and tire failures. Ignoring this warning system can put you at risk of losing control of your vehicle or experiencing a blowout.
  2. Tire Longevity: Proper tire pressure is crucial for preserving the lifespan of your tires. When tires are underinflated or overinflated, they experience uneven wear, reduced traction, and decreased fuel efficiency. By addressing tire pressure sensor faults, you can ensure that your tires wear evenly and last longer.
  3. Fuel Efficiency: Maintaining the correct tire pressure improves fuel efficiency. Underinflated tires create additional rolling resistance, causing your vehicle to consume more fuel. By resolving tire pressure sensor faults, you can optimize your vehicle’s fuel economy and save money at the pump.

How to Handle a Tire Pressure Sensor Fault

When faced with a tire pressure sensor fault, it is important to take appropriate steps to resolve the issue. Here are some recommended actions to address a TPMS fault effectively:

1. Check Tire Pressure Manually

The first step in addressing a tire pressure sensor fault is to manually check the tire pressure using a gauge.

Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual or the driver’s door jamb for the recommended tire pressure. Compare the measured pressure to the manufacturer’s specifications and adjust as necessary.

2. Inflate Tires to Correct Pressure

If the manual tire pressure check reveals that the tires are underinflated, use an air compressor to inflate them to the recommended pressure. Be cautious not to overinflate the tires, as this can lead to other issues and affect the vehicle’s handling.

3. Replace Faulty TPMS Sensors

If the tire pressure sensor fault persists even after confirming proper tire inflation, it may indicate a faulty TPMS sensor.

In such cases, it is advisable to consult a qualified tire shop or service center equipped with TPMS diagnostic tools. They can identify the faulty sensor and replace it, ensuring accurate monitoring of tire pressure.

4. Perform TPMS Reset Procedure

After replacing a faulty TPMS sensor, it is crucial to perform a TPMS reset procedure to reestablish communication between the sensors and the vehicle’s receiver.

The reset procedure varies depending on the vehicle make and model. Consult the vehicle’s owner’s manual or seek assistance from a professional to ensure the reset is performed correctly.

5. Seek Professional Assistance

If you are unable to resolve the tire pressure sensor fault on your own, or if the fault persists despite your efforts, it is recommended to seek professional assistance.

A reputable tire shop or dealership can diagnose the issue using specialized equipment and provide appropriate solutions to resolve the TPMS fault.

The Cost of Tire Pressure Sensor Replacement

The exact cost of replacing a tire pressure sensor can vary depending on factors such as the vehicle make and model, sensor type, and labor charges.

On average, the cost of replacing a single TPMS sensor and reprogramming it ranges from $70 to $200. However, luxury vehicles or non-domestic makes may have higher costs associated with TPMS sensor replacement.

It is important to note that some tire service centers or automotive retailers offer TPMS sensor replacement services at competitive prices. Researching and comparing prices from different service providers can help you find the best deal for your specific vehicle.


Maintaining optimal tire pressure is crucial for safe and efficient driving. When faced with a tire pressure sensor fault, it is important to take immediate action to address the issue.

By understanding the causes of TPMS faults and following the recommended solutions, you can ensure accurate tire pressure monitoring and enhance your overall driving experience.

Remember, proper tire pressure not only improves safety but also extends the lifespan of your tires and enhances fuel efficiency. Stay proactive in maintaining your TPMS to enjoy a smooth and worry-free journey on the road.

Steve P.

Steve is an automotive technician, technical writer, and Managing Editor. He has held a lifelong passion for cars, with a particular interest in cars like the Buick Riviera. Steve is based in Boise, Idaho.

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