How To Tell Which TPMS Sensor Is Bad Using 8 Easy Methods

Learning how to tell which TPMS sensor is bad is essential since keeping track of tire pressure is made easier by the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). This is an important safety component in contemporary automobiles.

Bad TPMS Sensor

The safety of the vehicle might be jeopardized and fuel consumption could rise as a result of erroneous readings from a defective tire pressure sensor. In this step-by-step guide, our team will discuss how to identify the problematic TPMS sensor using manual and digital techniques.

How Can You Determine Which TPMS Sensor Is Bad?

You can determine which TPMS sensor is bad by checking the TPMS warning light, using the TPMS diagnostic tool, measuring pressure using a digital gauge, inflating and deflating each tire, visually inspecting the TPMS sensor, consulting a mechanic, checking for incorrect warnings, and checking fuel consumption and control difficulty.

  • Check the TPMS Warning Light

An essential sign that might assist in locating a potential problem with the TPMS sensor is the warning light for the TPMS system. The warning indicator, which is usually visible on the dashboard, is fashioned like a tire with a horseshoe inside it.

The moment the warning light illuminates, action must be taken. A TPMS light often signals that one or more tires may not be properly inflated, but it might also mean that the tire pressure sensor isn’t working properly. In either scenario, it’s critical to examine the tires and sensor to figure out what caused the signal.

Start the engine, and while it is running, watch for the TPMS warning light to illuminate. Turn off the engine and examine the warning light bulb if it doesn’t glow. The bulb might need to be replaced if it is not working.
Use a tire pressure gauge to thoroughly check the tire pressure if the TPMS warning light is on.

Any underinflated bad tires must be inflated to the proper pressure in order to prevent damage or an accident. If the tires are properly inflated, the TPMS sensor could be the problem, necessitating additional evaluation. TPMS warning lights should never be ignored as they might result in major problems like tire breakdown or decreased fuel economy. Thus, it is essential to monitor the warning light and act quickly if necessary.

  • Use a TPMS Diagnostic Tool

An efficient technique to find a bad TPMS sensor is by using a diagnostic tool. These tools are easily accessible and may be bought online or at a trusted auto parts store. The OBD-II port, which is often found below the dashboard on the driver’s side, must first be turned on in order to utilize TPMS diagnostic equipment.

TPMS Diagnostic Tool

The tool will then speak to the car’s computer system and offer data on the operation of the tire pressure sensor. The diagnostic tool may give details on the air pressure, battery life, and temperature measurements of each sensor. Also, it is capable of locating any damaged sensors that may require replacement.

The ability to save both time and cash is among the main advantages of employing a TPMS diagnostic instrument. The necessity to replace all four sensors or to randomly replace one and hope for the best is removed by precisely recognizing which sensor is broken. The cost and effort involved with this strategy may be higher.

The accuracy of the results provided by a TPMS diagnostic tool is another advantage as it can assist avert additional TPMS sensor problems. Correct measurements may verify that the sensors are operating properly and enable preventative maintenance, lowering the chance of tire failure or decreasing fuel economy.

  • Measure Pressure Using a Digital Gauge

A malfunctioning TPMS sensor can be found by utilizing a digital tire pressure gauge to measure tire pressure. This simple procedure needs a digital pressure gauge, which may be bought online or at an auto parts store. In order to attach the pressure gauge to the valve stem, first remove the tire’s valve stem cap. The tire’s air pressure will be indicated by the gauge.

Repeat this specific procedure for each of the four tires, noting their individual pressures. The required pressure for the vehicle may often be found in the owner’s handbook or on a label inside the driver’s side door jamb. Compare the readings to that pressure. If the tire pressure is below the suggested pressure, you should use a portable air compressor to pump it up to the right level.

A tire pressure sensor’s dysfunction may make it difficult for it to detect changes in tire pressure, thus utilizing a digital gauge to measure tire pressure might assist determine if it is defective. The presence of the TPMS warning light despite proper tire pressure may be a sign of a malfunctioning sensor.

Using a digital gauge to measure tire pressure may not only detect malfunctioning sensors but also assist avoid problems with tire wear, handling, and fuel efficiency. Overinflated tires can impair handling and result in uneven tire wear in the center, while underinflated tires can lower fuel economy and produce uneven wear.

  • Inflate and Deflate Each Tire

A defective TPMS sensor can be located by inflating and deflating each tire. A portable air compressor is necessary for this stage and may be leased or purchased at an auto parts store. Each tire should first have its valve stem cap removed before being inflated with the portable air compressor to the appropriate air pressure.

Deflate Car Tire

This is often listed in the owner’s handbook or on a label in the driver’s side door jamb. Be sure to maintain the same tire pressure throughout. The pressure of each tire should then be checked using a tire pressure gauge.

Use the portable air compressor to adjust the pressure if it differs from the recommended pressure in either direction. Remove the valve stem cover from each tire’s valve stem and squeeze the valve stem until air emerges after the tires have been inflated to the proper pressure.

For each tire, repeat these steps. The tire pressure sensors can detect a change in pressure when you reinflate the tires by first deflating them. If a TPMS sensor is broken, it will not notice a change in pressure and the warning light will continue to be on.

  • Visually Inspect the TPMS Sensor

The TPMS sensor may be visually inspected to help find any physical problems or damage that might be causing the sensor to malfunction. You don’t need any specialized tools or equipment to complete this stage. Find each TPMS sensor first — they are normally fastened to each tire’s valve stem.

Look for physical damage on the sensor, such as cracks or corrosion, that might be contributing to its dysfunction. There should be no defects or damage to the sensor. Next, look for any wear or damage on the valve stem.

The TPMS sensor may stop working if the valve stem is damaged or worn. Check the sensor’s battery if the sensor seems to be in good physical condition and if the valve stem is undamaged. Batteries in certain TPMS sensors need to be frequently changed.

The TPMS sensor could stop working if the battery is failing or dead. Another crucial factor is making sure the TPMS sensor is firmly fastened to the valve stem. The sensor may not be able to effectively gauge tire pressure if it is loose, which might result in the TPMS warning light turning on.

  • Consult a Mechanic

Consult with a mechanic if you have tried the preceding procedures and are still unable to determine which TPMS sensor is malfunctioning. Any problems with the TPMS system may be identified and fixed by a technician because they have the tools and specific knowledge to do so.

Repair Car Sensor

The technician will use TPMS diagnostic equipment to scan the system’s data and identify the problematic sensor during the consultation. They will also determine any further TPMS system problems, including a broken control module. If the technician finds that the TPMS sensor has to be replaced, they will do so.

The type of sensor required and the make type and model of your car will determine the sensor replacement cost. It’s crucial to remember, though, that it’s frequently less expensive to replace a TPMS sensor than it is to cope with any potential implications of driving with a defective sensor, including reduced fuel economy or an elevated risk of accidents.

  • Check for Incorrect Warnings

When the TPMS sensor transmits inaccurate data to the car’s computer, the warning light may flash even when the car’s tire pressure is within the standard range. A defective sensor is a typical source of inaccurate alerts, although other elements like electromagnetic interference or a low battery can also contribute to this issue.

It’s crucial to properly inspect the system to prevent changing the erroneous part. Start by looking at the tires and using a digital gauge to check for any false alerts. If the readings fall within the usual range but the warning light is still on, look up how to do a system reset in your car’s owner’s handbook.

This can assist in eliminating any error codes that might have been brought on by a transient problem. If the warning light doesn’t go away after the reset, you may attempt to read the error codes from the car’s computer with a diagnostic tool. This can assist you in locating the issue’s root cause and deciding what remedies are required.

The inaccurate warnings may occasionally be brought on by a software problem that calls for a firmware upgrade from the vendor. Although it might take some time, this procedure is necessary to guarantee the correctness of your TPMS system.

  • Check Fuel Consumption and Control Difficulty

The performance of your precious vehicle as a whole may be impacted by TPMS sensor issues in addition to tire pressure. Increased fuel consumption is one sign that the sensor is malfunctioning. The computer system of the car may get misleading readings from a faulty TPMS sensor, which might cause the engine to work harder to make up for the inaccurate data.

Controlling Fuel Consumption

The car may use more gasoline than normal as a result. A defective TPMS sensor will also make it difficult to manage the car. Underinflated tires can result from a pressure sensor fault that causes the tire pressure to drop below the acceptable level. Underinflated tires can cause poor handling, less traction, and challenging vehicle control.

Inclement weather, such as rain or snow, might make this more troublesome. Track the performance of the vehicle over time to establish whether the TPMS or tire sensor is the source of increasing fuel consumption or controlling trouble. It could be time to get the TPMS sensors examined if the car’s performance is continuously subpar.

You may use your car’s fuel economy meter to examine the amount of fuel it uses. The amount of gasoline being consumed is displayed on many modern automobiles’ fuel economy displays. A faulty tire pressure sensor might be revealed if the fuel consumption is higher than usual. Keep a close eye on how the vehicle handles to look for control issues.

Are TPMS Sensors and ABS Sensors Similar in Terms of Identifying Faulty Sensors?

TPMS sensors and ABS sensors differ in their functions. While TPMS sensors monitor tire pressures, ABS sensors detect wheel speed to prevent locking. However, like TPMS sensors, there are easy ways to identify bad ABS sensors. Professional technicians typically use scan tools or diagnostic codes to diagnose faulty ABS sensors accurately.


The easy methods in this TPMS sensor article will help you quickly determine which TPMS or tire sensors are malfunctioning and replace it as necessary.

In summary, we’ve explored several important points, including:

  • A defective sensor or low tire pressure are both indicated by the TPMS warning light.
  • The sensor that is having problems can be found utilizing a TPMS diagnostic tool.
  • To measure the tire pressure precisely, use a digital pressure gauge.
  • To eliminate the chance of a false warning, inflate and deflate each tire.

In conclusion, maintain your TPMS system in good working order to keep your car safe and efficient.

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