Tire Pressure Monitoring System Failure

If you are noticing that your TPMS warning light is flashing, but you are not aware of what is wrong, then you are not alone. Most vehicles today come with a TPMS system that works to alert you when a tire is dangerously low on air pressure. The good news is that there are ways to prevent this from happening.


In the world of auto tech, a TPMS is not something to be taken for granted. While the system is not prone to catastrophic failure, it does require regular maintenance. If you have had your vehicle in for service, you may have received the dreaded dreaded message, “TPMS system failed.” This may be the result of an aging battery, a malfunctioning RDC module or a broken or malfunctioning sensor. Fortunately, it is not the end of the world. You can get the TPMS back in working order with a few simple steps.

First, the most obvious step is to remove all four tires from your rig. This is a great time to look up the tire pressure gauge. After you have done so, take a peek at your tires. The next best thing is to do a cold inflation of your tires.

Sensor signal not getting through to the module

If you have a TPMS sensor that has not received a signal from the module, it is possible that the problem is with the antenna, wiring, or signal strength. You can get more information on this from your vehicle manufacturer’s Repair Manual.

The Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is a safety feature that alerts drivers when a tire is under- or over-inflated. TPMS is based on a set of sensors mounted on the wheels. These sensors send messages to the Control Module J502, which transmits the data to the instrument cluster. When the actual pressure in a wheel is lower than the specified pressure, the computer displays a message to the driver.

Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems are simple to use. They are activated and deactivated by the driver through a menu in the DIS. DIS will display a warning light, and will prompt the driver to check the four different tire pressure positions.

TPMS warning light remains on or flashing

There are numerous reasons why a TPMS warning light may remain on or flash. One of the most common is when one or more tires are underinflated. Fortunately, this is not a permanent condition and can be corrected. It’s a good idea to check the tire pressure every time you fill your tires.

Another common reason for the light to flash is when the temperature in the car drops. The TPMS module is able to sense that the temperature has dropped. To trigger the light, the tire pressure needs to drop by 8 to 10 PSI. If the pressure falls below this amount, it is considered underinflated.

A faulty TPMS sensor is another cause of the light. You can determine if it’s a problem by testing your TPMS with a diagnostic tool.

TPMS telltale requirements

The low tire pressure warning telltale must activate when the tire pressure drops below 25 percent of the cold inflation pressure for the corresponding type of tire. If the tire pressure reaches this threshold, the telltale must remain lit. However, if the tire pressure is still below this threshold, the TPMS will not be able to alert the driver that the tire is under-inflated.

In the final rule, the test procedures were modified to allow the TPMS to detect low tire pressure without requiring the entire detection time. The new time period is appropriate for the detection of one to four under-inflated tires. It is also adequate for the calibration of a TPMS.

Manufacturers such as Volkswagen and Audi requested modifications to the time period and/or to the TPMS test procedure. They argued that a longer time period would result in unnecessary deterioration of the tire. Alternatively, they argued that a shorter time period is necessary for detecting under-inflation in multiple tires.

How to prevent a tire pressure monitoring system malfunction

If your car has a tire pressure monitoring system, you should take note of its functionality. It does a number of things, including indicating low or high tire pressure, or other important warnings.

The TPMS system is a good safety feature, and you may want to consider having it serviced. Having the right pressures on your tires will make it easier to drive and help you avoid accidents. A good rule of thumb is to check your tires before each long trip or if you’re carrying an extra load.

However, your TPMS system may not be able to detect a low tire pressure as accurately as you’d like. This is because you may be losing the same amount of pressure from other wheels on your vehicle.