tire pressure sensor

What does the “Tire Pressure Sensor Fault” message mean?

In Tires by Magnus Sellén6 Comments

tire pressure sensor

You are driving your car and suddenly the message “Tire Pressure Sensor Fault” appears on your instrument cluster. 

But, what does this mean and how expensive will it be to fix it? Will it disappear once I have inflated my tires to the correct pressure?

There are a lot of possible questions about this, but don’t worry.

In this article, you will learn what it means and how you can repair it the fastest and best way.

What does “Tire Pressure Sensor Fault” mean?

The “Tire Pressure Sensor Fault” message is displayed if an error code is present in your TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System). The error code may tell you that the air pressure in the tires is too low or too high, or the tire pressure sensor is defective. It could also be caused by a faulty TPMS control unit, faulty wiring, or a TPMS reset. The easiest way to find out is to read the error codes from your TPMS ECU with an OBD2 scanner.

If you see the tire pressure sensor fault message on your dashboard, I would recommend that you make sure that the tire pressure is correct in all tires, then reset the TPMS system and drive for a while to see if the message disappears.

You can also scan the TPMS control unit and read the error codes with a scanner. The cheapest OBD2 scanners can only read the ECU. If you want an OBD2 reader that can read your TPMS system, you will need to look for slightly more expensive OBD2 scanners that are compatible with your vehicle.

How does a TPMS system work?

A TPMS system can operate in two different ways. If you have a vehicle manufactured after 2007, you will most likely have a TPMS system in your vehicle. Some vehicles have sensors in each tire of your vehicle. The sensors sense what tire pressure you have and send that information to your TPMS control unit. If the tire pressure is too high or too low, or if the control unit cannot communicate with your sensors, the message “Tire Pressure Sensor Fault” appears on your dashboard.

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Other cars have no sensors in their tires, and they use the ABS sensors to calculate your wheel rotation. If you have low pressure, the wheel diameter will be more compressed and must rotate faster to reach the same speed as the car. If the speed at one wheel is different than the other wheels, the vehicle stores this as an error code in your TPMS or ABS system. For this reason, you must drive for a distance before the car displays the tire pressure for you. This is only a simple estimation and not the exact tire pressure.

Tire Pressure Sensor Fault Troubleshooting

ProblemSymptomsCausesSolutions
Tire Pressure Sensor fault on the cluster displayWarning light

Higher fuel economy

Wear on the tires
Low tire pressure

Faulty TPMS Sensor

Programming Fault TPMS Sensors

Not reseted TPMS

TPMS control modul fault
Check and fill tire pressure

Reset TPMS

Reprogram TPMS Sensors

Replace TPMS control unit

How to fix a Tire Pressure Sensor Fault code?

First, you should make sure that you have the correct tire pressure in all your tires. Check your tire pressure with a tire pressure gauge. To find the correct pressure you should check the tire pressure label. You can often find the label on the body behind the driver’s door. You can also find it in your repair manual. When the tires are warm, you should always inflate a little more pressure than the label says. Tire pressure can vary greatly depending on the temperature of the tire.

If the label states that the tire pressure is 220 kpa, the TPMS system stores this as an error code when the pressure drops below that level. If you inflate it to 220 kpa when the tire is hot, it can drop to 200 kpa when the tire is cold, and the error code is triggered. In this case, it is better to inflate a little more than the label indicates.

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Once you have inflated your tires to the correct pressure, you often have to reset the system manually. Some cars have a reset button and some cars you should drive for around 15 minutes until the lights go out. Refer to your repair manual to reset the TPMS system on your vehicle.

If the error still occurs, you will need to read the TPMS system error codes to see what the error codes are. It could be a communication error with one of your tire pressure sensors or a damaged tire pressure sensor. Sometimes the sensors lose communication with the ECU, and you must try to reprogram them with a TPMS activation tool compatible with your vehicle.

Where is the tire pressure sensor located?

Tire pressure sensors are typically installed inside car tires. You can usually see it when you look at the tire air valve. When a tire pressure sensor is installed, you can often see a nut placed around the valve, but not in all cases.

The only way to find this out is to remove the tires from the rim or call your authorized dealer and ask him. Many cars do not use tire pressure sensors, they take the speed from the ABS sensors and calculate the speed of each tire and calculate the tire pressure. These are typically BMW, Mercedes, VW, etc.

Conclusion

  • If the Tire Pressure Sensor Fault message appears on your instrument panel, make sure you have the correct tire pressure and reset the TPMS system first.
  • Always inflate slightly more tire pressure than indicated on the label when your tires are not cold.
  • Sometimes you may need to activate/re-program your TPMS sensors with a TPMS activation tool
  • Read the error code memory with an OBD2 scanner to find out why the tire pressure sensor error message is occurring.

If you have further questions about the TPMS system or would like to tell us how you solved your problem, please comment below and I will respond as soon as possible. If you have other questions about the vehicle that you’d like answers to, you can ask us for free on our website.

Comments
  1. Tire pressure sensors have been replaced. After 17 miles dash light comes on, and says “tire pressure fault”. Turn key off, when engine restarts, the tire pressure light is off. Will come back on randomly after 17 miles. Have taken the vehicle and tire pressure sensors test good. Undercarriage is clean, tires are clean. Stored in a garage. This problem has been continuing for months, bordering years.

    1. Author

      It may be an intermittent problem with one sensor that is causing it to lose connection with the tire pressure control module. Impossible to say from here without some real testing, but I have seen this problem before.

      1. Does replacing struts affect your tire pressure sensor. I had my back struts replaced today. Then, on the way home my tire pressure sensor fault occurred on my dashvoard

  2. by tapping on the each valve stem would it to retore the sensor monitor .Also if one sensor is not working does it affect all other three sensor comminication also ?

  3. If the fault still occurs, you have to read the error codes of the TPMS system to see what the trouble codes are. If you are looking for quality and affordable wheels and tires, you can check 4WheelOnline and choose what’s the best for you.

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