When you acquire a new or a low mileage vehicle and imbibe regular car maintenance, you often think you are immune to car problems. The truth is, cars develop problems even when we least expect them.
It’s okay to panic or worry when a warning message pops up in the driver’s information center. Car manufacturers install several car sensors on a car’s interior and exterior parts, which monitor and notify you when a problem exists. Some warning messages may be strange, and we may not understand them.
No doubt, we all know that the illumination of the check engine light signifies an underlying issue in one or several system components. But what about other warning messages like the service tire monitor system?
What does a service tire monitor system mean, anyway? Do you need a new tire replacement when the light pops up? Does it mean the tires are under or overinflated? Do you need to replace or program the tire pressure monitor system? RXmechanic expert team has conducted hair-splitting research on this, and the subsequent sections are what we have found. Here you go.
What does it mean when it says Service tire monitor system?
When a service tire monitor system light pops up on the dashboard, it means you have issues related to TPMS, caused by a tire sensor failure, flat sensor battery, or a sensor that needs reprogramming.
The tire monitor system will activate on some vehicles when your car tires are low. You’ll have a service tire monitor system light blinking on the dashboard, or an error message will display on the dashboard, telling you what’s wrong. Depending on your car model, the service tire monitor system may even tell you the amount of air pressure on each tire.
Usually, the light will appear and disappear shortly if you have low tire pressure. However, if the warning light stays lit, you have a severe issue that needs urgent attention.
Here are other probable causes of a service tire monitor system on Chevy Malibu and other car models.
Damaged tire sensor monitor
Every car sensor plays a specific role. For instance, the tire sensor monitors the air pressure in the tire. If the car tire sensor fails, It will not send a consistent signal to the car computer concerning the tire pressure. The sensor can fail for various reasons, most likely due to sealant on the stem valves. Other reasons include corrosion in and around the TPMS.
Dead tire monitor sensor battery
The TPMS has a radio signal sensor mounted on the tire rim. This sensor monitors the tire air pressure. Once it detects low pressure, it will ignite the service tire monitor system on Chevy dashboard or your respective car model.
Each tire pressure monitor sensor has a Lithium-ion battery that should last around five years. Once the battery runs out of juice, the sensor will not communicate with the powertrain control module about the air pressure in your tire.
If the car computer does not receive any signal from the TMPS, you may project a service tire monitor system on Chevy Silverado or your respective car model.
New tires that need calibration
Some vehicles require you to calibrate the tire pressure monitor after installing a new one. So it’s okay if the service tire monitor system warning appears on your dashboard after installing a new sensor. You only need to calibrate the sensor.
How do I fix my service tire monitor?
Knowing how to fix a service tire monitor system is an essential DIYer skill that’ll save you some bucks when the error message pops up on the dashboard. Here are the possible ways to fix the service tire monitor system on GMC and other car models.
Replace dead tire sensor battery
If a dead battery on any tire sensors causes the car computer to trigger a service tire monitor system warning light on your dashboard, the only way to fix it is to replace the dead battery.
However, some TPMS have in-built batteries, meaning you can’t replace the battery alone. Instead, you’ll have to replace the entire sensor. Watch this YouTube video for a visual presentation on how to replace the tire pressure monitor sensor.
Replace faulty tire sensor
If a sensor is damaged for any reason, the best fix is to replace it as soon as you can. However, you have to ensure it is not a battery issue before replacing the sensor. After that, you can either decide to replace all the tire pressure monitor sensors or replace only the defective ones.
Calibrate the new tire sensor
If the service tire monitor system warning messages appears on your dashboard after replacing a lousy sensor, you need to recalibrate it. Installing a new tire sensor is different from calibrating the sensor. Follow the below guide to calibrate your TPMS if you suspect it needs to be calibrated.
- Insert the key into the ignition hole and turn it ON
- Find the tire pressure data on your driver information center. Locate and select the “Relearn Tire Position” option.
- Press and hold the unlock and lock buttons on your key fob. Hold the buttons until the horn beep twice. After that, a “Tire Learn active” should appear on the dashboard.
- Switch off automatic headlights if your vehicle has them.
- You’ll see a marker light on the front left tire. This means you’ll start the calibration with the front left tire.
- Point the GM relearn tool at the front left sensor and depress the reset button until you hear the horn. If the horn is heard, rest assured that the reset has been completed.
- The marker light on the front left tire sensor will disappear. Follow the lights to reset other tire sensors by repeating the suggested.
This guide is only for Chevy users. However, other car models may have a similar reset approach.
Q: Is it safe to drive with a service tire monitor system?
Driving with a service tire monitor system light blinking on the dashboard is not safe. Since several issues can cause the car computer to trigger a service tire monitor system on Chevy Equinox and other car models, it can pose a bad omen. It may mean you have overinflated or underinflated tires, which can cause tire blowouts on the highway.
Q: How much does it cost to service a tire monitor?
No doubt, the tire pressure monitor sensor is a valuable diagnostic tool that measures the air pressure in the tire and relays the data to the ECM. But, like every other system, it can fail and require replacement. Luckily, the service tire monitor system cost for replacement is between $80 to $145, depending on your car’s make and model.
If your baby ride is under warranty, drive to your dealership and have them replace it for no extra cost.
Q: Why is my low tire pressure light on, but the tires are fine?
As reiterated above, several factors can cause the ECU to trigger the low tire pressure light on the dashboard. For example, the light may be activated by a tire that is 10% to 15% low on air pressure. The light may also be triggered by a dead TPMS battery and a defective tire pressure sensor.
So, do not limit your check on the health of the tires. Instead, once the light comes on, locate the nearest gas station and measure the air in your tire. It could be you need some air or nitrogen in your tires.
Q: Will Overinflated tires cause TPMS light to come on?
The tire pressure monitor sensor light comes up when the tire is underinflated or overinflated. Here’s what you need to know. When a tire is overinflated, it will not hug the road perfectly. The tire will bounce about instead of gripping the road. As a result, the stopping distances increase, the traction suffers, and the ride comfort reduces.
Q: What is the difference between TPMS and low tire pressure?
Auto manufacturers equip cars with tire pressure monitoring sensors (TPMS) on each wheel. The system turns on a low tire pressure light on the dashboard once it notices any of the tires are low. The illuminated light will stay on the dash until you adjust the tire pressures correctly.
On the flip side, the TPMS light projects on the dash when there’s a problem with the system itself. For instance, it usually pops up when the TPMS battery is dead or you have a faulty tire pressure sensor.
There’s no need to panic when you see a service tire monitor system pop up on your driver information center. But you have to determine why the light came up and fix it as soon as possible.
It could mean you have bad tires that need to be repaired or replaced, or the TMPS needs replacement. Also, a service tire monitor system reset may be all you need to resolve the problem. Once you track and rectify the root cause, your baby will move smoothly again, and you’ll gain confidence on the wheel.