Why Is My Tire Pressure Light Flashing? (The 7 Causes)

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Your tire pressure light is flashing because the air pressure in one or more of your tires is too low. This can happen due to a leak or gradual loss of pressure over time. Check each tire’s pressure using a gauge and inflate them to the recommended level.

Maintaining proper tire pressure is more than just a routine task—it’s a key factor in ensuring optimal fuel efficiency. When tires are underinflated, the vehicle’s gas mileage decreases, ultimately costing you more at the pump.

Understanding the importance of tire pressure goes beyond monetary concerns; it directly impacts your driving experience and overall safety.

Driving enthusiasts often ponder, “Why is my tire pressure light flashing?” This crucial indicator demands our attention, signaling potential issues with the vehicle’s tire pressure.

How the Tire Pressure System Works?

The Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is designed to monitor the air pressure in a vehicle’s tires and alert the driver when the pressure is either too low or too high. There are two main types of TPMS: direct TPMS and indirect TPMS.

Direct TPMS:

  • Sensors: Direct TPMS uses sensors mounted inside each tire to measure the air pressure. These sensors can be either internal or external to the tire.
  • Pressure Sensors: Internal sensors directly measure the tire pressure and transmit the data to a central receiver in the vehicle.
  • Transmitters: External sensors, attached to the tire valve stem, transmit pressure data wirelessly to the receiver.
  • Receiver: The receiver collects and processes the data from the sensors. If the pressure falls below or exceeds the recommended level, it triggers a warning indicator on the dashboard.

Indirect TPMS:

  • Wheel Speed Sensors: Indirect TPMS relies on the vehicle’s anti-lock braking system (ABS) to monitor wheel speed.
  • Comparison Algorithm: The system compares the rotational speed of each wheel. A significant difference in speed among the wheels can indicate low tire pressure.
  • Warning Indicator: If the system detects an abnormality in wheel speed that suggests low tire pressure, it activates the warning indicator on the dashboard.

How does TPMS work in general?

how TPMS work
  1. Initialization: When the vehicle is started, the TPMS goes through an initialization process, during which it checks each sensor’s status.
  2. Pressure Monitoring: As the vehicle is driven, the TPMS continuously monitors tire pressure.
  3. Warning Indication: If the system detects a significant pressure drop or increase, it triggers a warning light on the dashboard, indicating which tire is affected.
  4. Alerts: The warning light may be a steady indicator or a flashing one, depending on the severity of the pressure issue. Some systems also provide a direct pressure reading for each tire.

Signs of Low Tire Pressure

Low tire pressure can lead to various issues with your vehicle’s performance and safety. Here are some signs that your tires may be underinflated:

  1. TPMS Warning Light: Most modern vehicles are equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), which will illuminate a warning light on your dashboard if it detects low tire pressure.
  2. Spongy or Soft Handling: If your vehicle feels less responsive or the steering feels spongy, it could be a sign of low tire pressure. Underinflated tires can affect the handling and stability of your vehicle.
  3. Uneven Tire Wear: Low tire pressure can cause uneven wear on the tread of your tires. Check for signs of wear on the edges or center of the tire tread.
  4. Increased Fuel Consumption: Underinflated tires can decrease fuel efficiency, causing your vehicle to consume more fuel than usual. If you notice a sudden drop in gas mileage, it’s worth checking your tire pressure.
  5. Visible Tire Bulge: In extreme cases, low tire pressure can lead to a bulging or sagging appearance on the sides of the tire. This is a serious issue and requires immediate attention.
  6. Tire Sidewall Damage: Inspect the sidewalls of your tires for any visible damage or bulges. Low tire pressure can lead to structural damage in the sidewalls.
  7. Excessive Heat Buildup: Underinflated tires generate more heat than properly inflated ones. If you notice your tires are unusually hot after driving, it may be a sign of low pressure.
  8. Loss of Grip or Traction: Reduced tire pressure can affect the tire’s contact with the road, leading to a loss of grip or traction. This can be particularly noticeable during turns or sudden maneuvers.
  9. Frequent Punctures: Underinflated tires are more susceptible to punctures and damage. If you find yourself dealing with frequent flat tires, it may be an indication of low tire pressure.

Why Is My Tire Pressure Light Blinking?

A flashing tire pressure light usually indicates a more urgent issue compared to a steady light. Here are some potential reasons why is my tire pressure light blinking:

1. Significant Pressure Variation

If your tire pressure light is flashing, it may signal a significant pressure variation among your tires. This means some tires have noticeably different air levels. Such imbalances could result from air loss due to a puncture or gradual leakage.

To address this, check each tire’s pressure using a gauge, and if needed, add air to match the recommended levels. This helps ensure even pressure distribution, promoting safer driving conditions and preventing potential damage to your tires.

2. Rapid Pressure Loss

Sudden and fast tire pressure drops are a serious concern, often triggered by a puncture, leak, or other unexpected damage. When a tire rapidly loses air, the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) reacts with a flashing warning light.

This active response signals an urgent need for immediate attention. Ignoring it can lead to compromised vehicle handling, reduced fuel efficiency, and, in extreme cases, pose safety risks.

3. Faulty Sensor

A malfunctioning sensor could be the culprit behind your flashing tire pressure light. When the sensor goes haywire, it may give incorrect readings, causing the warning light to act up. This glitch can lead to a false alarm, making it crucial to inspect and possibly replace the faulty sensor.

4. Cold Weather

In chilly temperatures, your vehicle’s tire pressure can drop, triggering the tire pressure warning light. Cold weather causes air to contract, leading to reduced tire pressure.

This drop is normal, but it’s essential to check and adjust tire pressure accordingly. If the tire pressure light flashes, it may indicate a significant pressure decrease that requires immediate attention.

Keep tires properly inflated to ensure optimal performance and safety during cold spells, preventing potential issues associated with underinflated tires.

5. TPMS System Malfunction

If your tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) malfunctions, it can lead to inaccurate readings and potential safety issues. A glitch in the TPMS may cause the tire pressure light to flash, indicating a problem.

This malfunction can stem from sensor errors, module failures, or electrical issues. Promptly addressing TPMS malfunctions is crucial to ensure your tires are properly inflated and to prevent any compromise in vehicle safety.

6. Low Spare Tire Pressure

Ensure your spare tire is road-ready! Low spare tire pressure can trigger the flashing warning light. Check spare tire pressure regularly using a gauge, and inflate if needed. A well-inflated spare is crucial for emergencies, preventing potential hassles on the road.

7. Battery or Power Issues

If your tire pressure light is flashing, it might be due to battery or power issues. The system relies on a healthy power supply to function properly.

A weakened battery or power problem can disrupt the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), causing it to give inaccurate readings and trigger the flashing warning light.


Can I drive with a blinking tire pressure light?

It’s not safe to drive with a flashing tire pressure light. A blinking light means there’s a serious issue with your tire pressure that requires immediate attention. Ignoring it could lead to a flat tire or even a blowout, posing a risk to your safety on the road. Pull over, check your tire pressure, and address the problem before continuing to drive.

Where is the TPMS reset button?

The TPMS reset button is typically located under the dashboard near the steering wheel. Look for a small button labeled “TPMS” or “Reset” to recalibrate your tire pressure monitoring system. If you can’t find it, consult your vehicle’s manual for specific instructions on resetting the TPMS.

Is the tire pressure light in immediate danger?

A lit tire pressure warning is serious. Low pressure affects control and can lead to accidents. High-pressure risks tire blowouts. Immediate action—checking and adjusting pressure—is vital for safe driving. Don’t ignore it; it’s a red flag for your safety on the road.

Can the tire pressure light be turned off manually?

You can’t manually turn off the tire pressure light. It’s an automatic system that alerts you when the tire pressure is low. To resolve the issue, check and adjust the tire pressure to the recommended levels. If the light persists, consult the vehicle manual or visit a mechanic for further assistance.

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