Many drivers ask, “how do I reset my tire pressure monitoring system?” but not all of them do it for the right reasons. The majority just want to know how to do it so they can turn off the warning light.
Sometimes it’s nothing, but that warning light may also have popped up because something’s really wrong with the tire pressure and your vehicle isn’t driving at maximum efficiency. Don’t shrug off the warnings just because you know how to make the light go away.
What Causes Your Tire Pressure Light To Illuminate?
You may notice that your TPMS light is on when you start your car, or you may notice that it comes on while you're on the road. Alternatively, you can have a flashing or blinking light that shows tire pressure (more information below). It is usually the result of: whether you are in Bloomington or after you have started your car that your tire pressure light came on.
- Your tires will probably follow suit when your air pressure or temperature drop suddenly. TPMS lights can come on if you haven't kept up with regularly checking tire pressure.
- A leak is likely the cause of the lost air pressure if there is no sudden weather change. In addition to filling up the tire(s) with air, you will need to either patch or replace the tire(s).
Methods and Tools
There are five easy ways to reset the TPMS sensors and turn off the low tire pressure warning on your onboard computer.
Two of the methods won’t require any tools. The other two need a bit more work but they only require tools which every motorhome owner should own: an air pump and a wrench.
However, before you begin, make sure you know what type of TPMS your RV has.
There are two types of TPMS. There’s direct and indirect TPMS. Direct TPMS, or dTPMS uses pressure sensors on each wheel, which can be internal or external. Each sensor measures the tire pressure of one tire and sends the information to the corresponding monitor.
dTPMS can also notify you if any of the tires are underinflated and the more advanced systems are also able to detect and alert you of temperature changes (which can be the result of or cause pressure changes).
Indirect TPMS, or iTPMS, is mostly used by European car manufacturers. This type of sensor is built onto the speed sensors which allows the sensor to monitor the frequency of wheel revolutions (which can be used to calculate speed).
Wheels with underinflated tires will rotate faster than wheels with properly inflated tires. The warnings are estimates and may not be as accurate as dTPMS.
If your RV has direct TPMS, you may be in luck. Resetting the sensors is usually as easy as pushing a button on your dashboard. If not, other methods have to be used.
Inflate and Re-inflate Tires
After identifying the TPMS of your vehicle, it’s time to inflate the tires. You need to do this so that all sensors will calibrate properly. But before pumping air into any tire, you’ll want to deflate all of them.
Then inflate the tires to the appropriate PSI and drive a couple of miles at low speed and see if the sensors reset.
Check the Battery
TPMS sensors send signals to the onboard computer. This means that they’re also connected to the vehicle’s battery. As with anything electronic, there are sometimes glitches and false warnings. So, resetting your sensors may be as easy as reconnecting the RV battery.
Locate the battery and disconnect the negative cable. This is where you’ll need the wrench. With the battery unplugged, start your vehicle and press the horn for a few seconds in order to drain the remaining power.
After that, you can reconnect the negative battery cable. The sensors should be reset and the warning light should be off.
Press the Reset Button
There’s a reason why vehicles come with TPMS reset buttons. They can save you from having to deflate your tires or go to a garage to turn off your warning light.
Note that not all RVs have the TPMS reset button in the same place, so check your owner’s manual to find its location. Once you know where it is, put the key in the ignition and turn on the car.
Don’t start the ignition. With the key turned to the “on” position, press and hold the TPMS reset button. After a few seconds, the warning light should blink. Release the button and start the vehicle. Let it run for a few minutes to give the onboard computer enough time to recalibrate the sensors.
The Magnet Method
If you don’t have any tools and the reset button doesn’t work, there’s something else you could try. Turn on the RV’s electric system but not the ignition. Press the lock and unlock buttons on the key fob. Then, place a magnet over the valve stems in the following order: front left, front right, right back, left back.
If you hear a sound coming from the horn, it means that it worked. Note that this may not work on all campers.
Some RVs can reset their sensors when you’re driving at certain speeds. If the sensors are glitchy and you need a reset but you can’t stop and tinker with the previous methods, drive at a speed of 50 mph for about 10 miles and see if anything changes.
In this case, it’s best to check your instruction manual. Not all campers can reset sensors at 50 mph. Some may need a higher constant speed. After the first 10 miles, turn off the engine. When you turn it back on, the warning light should be off.
Tips and Warnings
If you want to avoid having to reset your TPMS sensors regularly, here are some servicing and buying tips that can help.
Brass valve-stem cores corrode easily. If you’re buying new sensors, go for those with stainless steel cores as they’re more resistant to road salts.
Keep the Cap On
Don’t forget to screw the cap onto the valve stem. Although it may not seem like much, that little cap can prevent most of the water, road salt, and mud from getting into the valve-stem core and damaging it.
Sensor-Safe Aerosol Flat Fixers
Usually, it’s best to avoid using an aerosol flat fixer, even one that comes with “Sensor Safe” on the label, because the fixer’s compound can make its way into the sensor hole that measures pressure. It can clog it and give you inaccurate readings or fail to give you any readings at all.
Service your TPMS sensors
It’s true that most of the time, your low pressure warning light turning on may not be signaling anything dangerous. But, that doesn’t mean that resetting the sensors is always the best way to go about it.
When you have the time, check to see if your tires are actually working properly.
Even if you’re not curious about how everything works in a motorhome, knowing how to reset and recalibrate your TPMS sensors is very important. It’s easy to do and it will help you avoid accidents due to low tire pressure.