How To Know If a Tire Sensor Is Bad
Tire pressure is essential for the stability of your car and the longevity of tire tread.
Luckily, modern cars have a preinstalled sensor with an onboard computer system that keeps track of your tire’s pressure and signals if the pressure is not aligned with the manufacturer’s recommendation.
So, it is crucial to know if the pressure sensor is working correctly and gives you an indication before it is too late.
What Is TPMS Sensor?
TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) in your tire triggers the dashboard sensor light to blink when any of your tire’s pressure is lower than the recommended pressure range.
What Is TPMS Light?
TPMS light is a horseshoe-shaped light shown on your vehicle’s dashboard with an exclamation mark in the center. The light blinks at different places of the board according to the affected tire.
What Is The Tire Pressure Sensor Location?
The tire pressure sensor is located on the inner side of your vehicle’s tire. It is planted on the wheel’s rim. One may easily see the sensor by removing the tire from its rim.
Types of TPMS Sensors:
How Does The Indirect TPMS Sensor Work?
- The indirect TPMS typically uses the anti-lock brake system’s wheel-speed sensors to monitor tire pressure. It uses an ABS that monitors the wheel’s speed.
- Computer systems onboard the vehicle can use these sensors to compare data regarding the rate at which wheels are rotating and other vehicle operation parameters like speed and rotation.
- The vehicle’s onboard system gauges the size of the tires on your car from the rate of rotation of the wheels.
- The computers calculate that a tire is underinflated when wheel rotation speeds are not compatible and alert the driver accordingly.
- Rather than directly measuring the amount of air in the tire, a sensor in the rim keeps track of the tire’s speed. It ensures that each tire is working at the same rate. If a tire is moving faster than its counterparts, it’s a faulty tire.
How Does a Direct TPMS Sensor Work?
- The direct TPMS sensor collects direct data from the sensor in your vehicle’s rim and reports it to the ECU() in your computer.
- Unlike the Indirect sensor, it doesn’t track the rotation speed of the tire. And the sensor gives a signal when the tire pressure is below 25%.
- The sensor transmits tire information such as the unique sensor ID (To identify the exact tire), temperature, pressure, battery life, and more in this method.
- The ECU() keeps track of all the information, and once detected below the recommended range, it exhibits the warning.
How To Tell Which Tire Air Sensor Is Terrible Without a Tool
There are two methods to spot a bad sensor.
Putting It Under Test
The easiest way to determine your vehicle’s sensor is by putting it under test.
- First of all, fill the air in all the tires.
- Then begin releasing air manually one by one and observe your sensor working through the dashboard.
- If it gives a faulty reading, it’s a bad sensor.
Checking Via Using a Pressure Gauge
Using pressure gauges is probably the most reliable way of checking accurate tire pressure.
- In this method, you open your tire valve and put the pressure checking gauge there.
- The indicator will automatically give you the correct reading.
Observing Dashboard Panel
It is not always the abnormal tire pressure that triggers the dashboard light; sometimes, it signals the faulty TPMS. And as a result light on the board began to blink.
Q. What is the recommended pressure range after which it is unsafe to drive your vehicle?
If the pressure in your tire is under 25%, it means your tire is under inflation, and you should consider changing it.
Q. What causes damage to TPMS tire sensors?
Everyday dirt, dust, and heat may lead to the malfunction of your tire’s TPMS sensor.
Q. Could a defective TPMS tire sensor damage a tire?
A preinstalled sensor can barely damage your tire. But changing the sensor may cause damage to the sensor body or valve. Or it may tear the tread of your sidewalls.
Q. Can I change a faulty tire sensor without damaging my tire?
Yes, by removing the tread from the rim and inflating the tire again to its functioning. However, trouble may arise when the computer in the vehicle refuses to detect the sensor in its system.
Q. Does a direct TPMS work better than an indirect one?
The difference between the two types is that an indirect sensor can not generate simultaneous readings if all the tires lose pressure at once.
Q. How often does the TPMS sensor require its batteries to be changed?
It depends upon the timing of how often your sensor takes reading.
A sensor that transfers the force every 10 seconds will last shorter than the one which transmits it every 15 seconds.
Moreover, some sensors can last for ten years, while others may last only three to five years.
Q. Is it possible for tire sealants to damage TPMS sensors?
Tire sealants are used to patch the tires. Some tire manufacturers don’t support the use of sealants on tires. They are claiming that it may get tangled up with the sensor and disrupt its functioning.
Q. Can I drive a vehicle with the wrong tire pressure?
Yes, you can, but you shouldn’t be. Not only will it be dangerous for yourself but also the drivers around you.
Moreover, the US Department of Transportation has made it mandatory for all the vehicles manufactured after 2008 to have a TPMS sensor in them.
And it’s illegal to switch the sensor off under any circumstances except for resetting it when you have recently inflated your tires and still seeing the wrong indication.