The tire pressure sensor measures the pressure in the tires of your car. It sends the information to the car’s onboard computer, which analyses the information and makes the correct adjustments.
If the problem is irreparable, the ECU turns on a warning light in your dashboard. The failure of the tire pressure sensor can have several causes, particularly heat. The location of the tire pressure sensor means that a lot of heat is generated around it. Heat can easily damage an electronic component, especially if it is small. Secondly, dirt and dust can prove damaging to the tire pressure sensor. Pollutants such as dirt and dust creep into the tire and cause damage to the tire pressure sensor.
Perhaps the most significant and probably the rarest reason for a tire pressure sensor failure is water. Normally we don’t drive our cars on water, but puddles of water on the road, which are deposited after heavy rainfall, can be a danger to the tire pressure sensor. Water can cause a short circuit, which can completely destroy the tire pressure sensor. A defective sensor should either be repaired or replaced, depending on its current condition. If it is too worn, it is better to replace it, as replacement is not very expensive.
What is a Tire Pressure Sensor?
The tire pressure sensor plays an important role in ensuring that your vehicle remains in perfect condition at all times. It calculates the air pressure in your car’s tyres and alerts you if the air pressure is insufficient. In this case you can take the appropriate measures.
The tire pressure sensor also works together with the tire inflator in some vehicles. The tire inflator in modern cars is a mechanism that allows you to inflate your tires with air when the air pressure becomes too low. When the tire pressure is low, the tire pressure sensor on the dashboard tells you that air needs to be topped up. In this case, you can inflate your tires at the touch of a button. Remember, however, that tire pressure sensors can malfunction if they are not working or if their performance is affected by pollutants such as dust and dirt.
Tire Pressure Sensor Symptoms
A sensor is an electrical component and therefore something that can deteriorate with age. Not only that but an irregular power supply, dirt, heat, and dust can greatly affect the performance of the sensor. There are some noticeable changes to the car when this happens.
Low Air Pressure in the Tires
The function of the tire pressure sensor is to alert you when the tire is low. So if you find that your tires are flat or you have difficulty driving your car, the tire pressure sensor has failed or is not working properly. The sensor must be in proper operating condition to make a correct assessment. Therefore, if you do not see warning signs on your dashboard, you must have the sensor checked by a certified mechanic. Check your tire pressure with a Tire Pressure Gauge.
Warning Light Illuminates
Sensors usually trigger a light in the dashboard if something is wrong with them or the system. The ECU or PCM, which receives all the information from the sensors, triggers a warning on your dashboard indicating that something is wrong with the sensors. If a sensor, such as a tire pressure sensor, is not operating in accordance with the standard, the ECU illuminates the check engine light. The check engine light may illuminate for a number of problems, so it is better to be very sure about the problem. Consult a mechanic to diagnose the real reason for the check engine light symbol. You may also receive the message “Tire pressure sensor fault” on your dashboard.
If the tire pressure sensor is not functioning properly, you may receive improper warnings on the DIC. The sensor could indicate that you have a flat tire, even if there is nothing wrong with the tire. It may also indicate low tire pressure even if you have recently inflated the tires to the optimum pressure. However, these warnings should not be taken lightly as they may cause future problems.
Tire Pressure Sensor Location
The tire pressure sensor is located inside a tire where it is attached to the inner part of the rim. You can easily find it by removing the tire from the rim. It looks like a small cylinder.
Cleaning/Inspecting a Tire Pressure Sensor
Due to its placement, the tire pressure sensor is exposed to dirt, dust, heat and deposits. All these pollutants can cause a drop in the performance of the sensor. If the sensor is not in optimal condition, the performance of your car may be affected. Therefore, you should do everything in your power to ensure that a tire pressure sensor is functioning properly. Here we will look at the methods for cleaning the sensor.
Fill air into tires and reset TPMS
First you should try to inflate the tires with the correct tire pressure. Then you should reset the TPMS system. If the light on the dashboard is still blinking, you can try cleaning it using the methods described below. If the problem persists, replace the sensor and recalibrate.
Remove the Sensor
The tire pressure sensor is located in the tire pressure valve or in the rim of the wheel, from where it sends valuable information to the central computer of the car. As you may have guessed, removing a tire pressure sensor is easy, but the first step can be a little difficult if you don’t have the right equipment. To remove the sensor, you need to remove the wheel from your car and then slightly remove the tire so that you can find the tire pressure sensor hidden behind it. When you have found it, loosen its screws with a screwdriver.
Use Alcohol or Cleaner to Clean
The next step is to place the sensor in a plastic bag and use a special cleaning agent or alcohol to remove all dirt and excess deposits from the sensor. This work requires a lot of skill, so make sure you have plenty of time because the last thing you want to do is damage the sensor and buy a new one. Be sure to allow the sensor to dry for a good 20 minutes after cleaning before reinstalling it.
Reinstall the Sensor
To reinstall the sensor, repeat the procedure you used to remove the sensor. This time, however, you must ensure that the sensor is firmly seated and the area where it is located is clean.
Repairing/Replacing the Tire Pressure Sensor
Because of its easy positioning, you can replace the sensor without the need for a mechanic. However, before you try to become a home mechanic, you need to learn what you do and how to do it. Here are some tips on how you can try to replace a tire pressure sensor:
- Gather the necessary equipment for removing the tire from the rim
- Remove the tire from the car and place it on one side
- Using two levers, separate the tire from the wheel rim
- Locate the tire pressure sensor on the rim
- Remove the connectors from the tire pressure sensor
- Use a screwdriver to unscrew the sensor from the wheel rim and place it somewhere safe
- If the sensor looks dirty and worn out you could clean it and place it back again
- If the sensor looks in bad condition you need a replacement
- Clean the inside of the rim with an alcohol solution, especially in the sensor’s location
- Match the new sensor with the old one and put it safely in its place
- Screw the sensor and place the electric connectors to it
- Install the rubber tire back on the rim and attach the tire to the car
- Test the sensor after adding air to the tires
- Reset the tire pressure sensor using the settings found in your car’s infotainment system
- Drive the car around and check if the prompt appears again
Diagnosing a Failing Tire Pressure Sensor
In most cases you will learn that a failure of the tire pressure sensor is easy to detect. Sometimes you will get a prompt on your dashboard or DIC, and when you check your tires for pressure, everything is fine. This means that the tire pressure sensor is not working properly. In other cases, you may get a flat tire and not be warned by a warning light on your dashboard. This happens rarely, but if it does happen, you are dealing with a complete failure of the sensor.
Tire Pressure Sensor Replacement Cost
The tire pressure sensor costs $150 – $270, and when the labor costs of $75 – $140 are added, the cumulative cost is $200 – $430.
Before you make a decision about replacing your tire pressure sensor, it is best to consider the many mechanics in your area. Not all mechanics are the same, which means that not every person who calls himself a mechanic is actually one. Inexperienced mechanics cost less, so you would naturally be attracted to them for your work. However, this is, frankly, a bad decision that could cost you dearly in the future. It is, therefore, best to entrust your car problems to a certified mechanic, regardless of the amount of work involved.
Then there is the fluctuating price of the sensor.
There is no fixed price for a sensor. Every sensor is different and every car is different. The price you pay for the tire pressure sensor depends on the make, model, and year of your car. The older the car is, the harder it is to find its part and the more you pay. The more modern the car, the less you pay. However, this may not always be the case. For example, imported car parts cost more than locally produced parts. Also, the price you pay depends on the number of sensors that need to be replaced. Your car has a tire pressure sensor for each tire, so you can imagine if two or three sensors are defective, you will easily pay about a thousand dollars for the replacement.