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How Do You Reset a Tire Pressure Light?

By Joe Ballard
Published on March 19th, 2024

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Maintaining the proper tire air pressure (inflation) in your vehicle's tires is critically important for extending the life of your tires and ensuring that you and your passengers are safe. An average of 33,000 accidents annually are caused by tire failures, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

How Do You Reset a Tire Pressure Light?

At least 2,000 can be traced back to a blowout, which is very common and much more dangerous than you would think. Whether it is you or a loved one behind the wheel, it is a good idea to do everything possible to minimize the chance of an accident due to a tire blowout, flat tire, underinflation, or other issues. This involves maintaining the proper tire inflation and taking the necessary action if your vehicle alerts you to a tire pressure issue.

This article will provide helpful information regarding the systems that help you maintain your tires so you can keep on rolling safely.

Checking Your Tire Pressure

Back in the day, it was common practice to check your tire air pressure regularly. Heck, way back when there were actual service stations…the attendant would check the tire air pressure for you, along with washing your windshield, checking your oil, and filling up your gas tank. Obviously, with the evolution of self-serve gas pumps, there is no longer an attendant to perform any of those services, so it is up to you to do them yourself.

Fortunately, today's vehicles include sophisticated sensors wired into the Engine Control Module (ECM) system that monitor your vehicle and deliver warnings if a system problem is encountered. One of those systems is called a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), and as of 2007, it was mandated to be standard equipment in all vehicles.

resetting a tire pressure light

This system comprises wireless sensors integrated into the tire stems that transmit tire conditions to the electronic control module (ECM). There are two types of TPMS systems:

  • Direct TPMS – utilizes integrated sensors
  • Indirect TPMS – relies on variations in rotations per mile and between each tire to identify pressure changes based on rolling circumference.

The good news is that all vehicles come with this system; the bad news is that up to 10% of drivers said they ignored the warning and kept driving as if there was no danger associated with underinflated tires. If safety is not important enough to get a driver's attention, then drivers should consider that underinflated tires cause higher fuel consumption and fuel costs.

What To Do If Your Tire Warning Light Comes On?

So, now you know that your vehicle has a TPMS that will provide a warning if there is a problem with your vehicle's tire pressures. So, what do you do if your tire warning light comes on? First, it is important to understand better how the system works. It consists of tiny sensors built into the valve stem of each tire (in some vehicles, this includes the spare).

When the tire pressure drops below a certain threshold that the vehicle manufacturer designates, the sensor will send an alert to the ECM and display a warning light on the dashboard. It will look like this symbol in most vehicles.

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Although the TPMS system is quite simple, its importance cannot be overstated. If this warning appears on your dashboard, you need to act ASAP. There are two scenarios associated with the warning light:

  • Flashing means that a sensor battery is low or there is something wrong with the sensor
  • Steady means that there is a problem with one or more of the tires and could pose a safety risk

It’s critical that you take a deeper look into the issue before proceeding to drive, whether that’s through going to your local mechanic or looking for issues yourself, such as a nail in your tire.

resetting tpms light

How To Reset Your Tire Pressure Light

Once you have taken the corrective action necessary to resolve the issue, you are now faced with resetting the TPMS dashboard light. Depending on your vehicle, there are several ways to do this, as follows:

  • If your vehicle has a reset button, then the procedure would be to turn your vehicle off, turn the key to the on position (if it has a push button start switch, then press it once), then hold down the TPMS reset switch until you see the warning light flash three times and then release the reset button. Restart the vehicle and wait for 20 minutes until the sensor resets and the dashboard light turns off.
  • If your vehicle does not have a reset button, you must drive at or above 50 MPH for 10 minutes, which should cause the sensor to reset the next time you turn on your vehicle.
  • Some Innova OBD2 scanners have the functionality to identify the tire sensor that has the issue. Once the issue has been corrected, the OBD2 scanner can reset the TPMS light by erasing the trouble code stored on the onboard computer.
using an OBD2 scanner to reset a TPMS light

Tips on Maintaining a Healthy Tire

If the TPMS light on the dashboard comes on, it is wise not to ignore it. The tire pressure of your tires is critically important to your safety and the safety of others. If you prefer to avoid the hassle of dealing with the issues associated with a warning light, here are some preventative measures you can take to keep you safer on the road:

  • Choose tires from a reputable manufacturer and ensure that your tires are rated for the type of driving you will primarily be doing with your vehicle.
  • Buy a tire gauge and keep it with you at all times. The air pumps at a gas station usually have a digital readout for tire pressure, but you can only count on these pumps being available in some places, so it is best to have your own tools.
  • Check your tire pressure at least once a month, especially if you plan a long trip. The recommended air pressure for your tires can be found on the driver's side door jamb or the owner's manual.
  • Check your tire tread regularly for wear using the penny method. Simply put the penny in the tread, and if Lincoln’s head is inside the tread, then you are OK, but if you can see his whole head, it might be a good time to replace your tires.
  • Check the age of your tires. Most tires should be replaced once they reach five years of age. Even if there is still a lot of tread remaining, the tires often have dry rot that weakens the sidewalls and could cause a blowout. This is especially important in hotter climates.
checking tire pressure for TPMS light

Conclusion

There are no guarantees that you will not have a flat tire or a blowout. Still, there are ways to minimize the risk significantly by performing some simple preventative maintenance. If your TPMS light comes on, it is a fair warning that there is an issue with one or more of your tires.

If you have kept up with the maintenance of your tires, you may never see the TPMS light, but if you do not keep up with regular maintenance, the light will surely come on at some point. If it does, you can now handle it and perform the necessary reset once the issue is resolved.

Innova's mission is to make diagnostics easier for DIYers and mechanics alike. If you have questions, we encourage you to visit our community page or contact us! We are always looking for ways to improve your experience.

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