Blinking Tire Pressure Light: How To Reset (Six Steps)

Vehicles are equipped with indicator lights that warn drivers if something is wrong or needs to be done, and one of which is the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) light. As the name implies, it helps you know if your tires have the right amount of pressure. At times, you’ll have a blinking tire pressure light that could indicate a few things and might require resetting.

But how do you reset a blinking tire pressure light? There are approximately six known and effective ways to reset your TPMS that you can use to troubleshoot the issue, as well as after replacing the sensors. Some are applicable for most cars, while others depend on the type of TPMS your car has.

Since there is no one-size-fits-all resetting technique, let’s learn how to go about each procedure. Let’s also look at two possible reasons your TPMS light is flashing or blinking and what you should and shouldn’t do when faced with the issue.

TPMS Low Tire Pressure Light Indicator

Why Is My Tire Pressure Light Flashing?

When your car’s tire pressure light flashes continuously or for about 60 to 90 seconds and remains illuminated, there could be a problem in the TPMS or tire pressure itself.

1. Low Tire Pressure

Of course, one of the main reasons you have flashing tire pressure lights is low tire pressure. Since there are other causes, you should check your tire pressure to make sure this is really the problem. Best if you use a tire pressure gauge and match the results with the manufacturer’s pressure recommendations.

Is It Dangerous to Drive With the Tire Pressure Light On?

Driving with the TPMS light on or flashing due to low tire pressure is dangerous and can lead to car damages. First, driving with under-inflated tire/s will wear and tear your tires quickly and prematurely. Second, it will affect your car’s fuel consumption.

Another is poor control since your car will pull in one direction, depending on which among your tires has low pressure. Lastly, there will be increased heat build-up that causes tire failure and blowout, leading to accidents or crashes.

How Long Can You Drive With Tire Light On?

With the dangers of driving with under-inflated or flat tire/s, there is no safe distance as to how far you can drive. Understandably, though, there would be times when your car’s low tire pressure light will illuminate or flash while you’re in the middle of the road. Thus, you’ve no choice but to drive or pull over to a safe location.

Experts advise that if your car’s tire pressure warning light illuminates, you should turn the hazard light on and drive your car out of harm’s way at the lowest speed, using only the right side of the road. Ensure that you also drive toward the nearest safe location so that you only drive at a very short distance.

Green Car Tire

Can I Drive on a Tire With 15 PSI?

With that in mind, you must remember that there is a difference between an under-inflated and flat tire. Flat tires or too low tire pressure (PSI) are very obvious, so you can evaluate them easily. According to experts, if that seems to be the case, just pull over and keep your hazard light on. Then, check your car tire’s pressure.

The minimum PSI that one can drive is 10, depending on your car tire’s size and condition. That’s because if you drive with a very low PSI, your car’s rim might come in contact with the ground. This will lead to expensive and sometimes irreparable damages. So, yes, you can most probably drive with a 15PSI tire, but again, at a very slow speed and short distance.

Why Is My Low Tire Pressure Light on but Tires Are Fine?

If you’ve a blinking or illuminating low tire pressure light, but tires are fine, there might be a slow leak in your tire. The issue might also be on the TPMS already.

2. TPMS Issues

Apart from low tire pressure, there are a few problems in the system’s sensor/s that result in a flashing tire pressure light. For cars with direct TPMS, one cause is a dead battery, so you would need to replace it. Another is your vehicle might have a damaged or missing sensor or faulty TPMS module.

For both direct and indirect TPMS, one reason the lights are flashing is that the wrong type of sensor might’ve been installed. So you need to check and have it replaced with the correct one.

Another is the so-called failure to initialize or to change the detection thresholds. Remember that initialization should be done each time you remove your car’s wheels and adjust the tire pressure.

How to Know if You Have a Bad TPMS Sensor?

Since issues in the TPMS sensor can initially be indicated by having a flashing or illuminated low tire pressure light but tires are fine, you would only detect the problem if you:

  • don’t receive a warning even if you have a flat tire, usually indicating sensor’s complete failure,
  • get an under-inflated warning even if you just inflated the tires with the correct pressure or overinflated it just to check.

In this case, there are different solutions, depending on how severe the problem is. One is to reset your car’s TPMS.

How to Reset Tire Pressure Light

Car Road Tire

There are a few processes that you can follow to reprogram or reset your car’s TPMS system, and the most popular ones are as follows:

1. Deflating and Inflating the Tires

The steps you need to follow are:

  1. Using a tire pressure gauge, check if each of your tires has the right PSI.
  2. Fill the tire with the right amount of air to achieve the correct PSI, and then deflate up to zero PSI.
  3. Re-inflate the tire and drive for a few minutes at a low speed, around 15MPH. This will calibrate your car’s tire pressure sensor the next time you drive your vehicle.

2. Using Your Car’s TPMS Reset Button

Some car models have a TPMS reset button that you can usually find underneath the steering wheel. This is an easy way on how to reset tire pressure light. For most cars, all you need to do are the following:

  1. Put your vehicle key in the ignition to turn the battery on.
  2. Push the TPMS reset button until you see a flashing tire pressure light, which usually appears after approximately three seconds.
  3. Start your vehicle.
  4. Drive for about 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. Turn your car’s ignition off.

Some cars have a TPMS Calibration option on the instrument panel, usually found in the Settings. You can re-calibrate or reset the TPMS by simply pressing the correct options.

3. Driving at a Certain Speed and Distance

Another easy way to reset your car’s tire pressure sensor light is to simply drive your car at a designated speed and distance so that the computer can recognize the sensor. Just start your car and drive at a speed of 50MPH until you reach at least 10 miles of distance.

It’s best to use cruise control so that you can maintain the speed. Note that some cars, especially bigger ones, would require a higher speed level.

4. Removing and Reconnecting the Battery

If you’re experiencing tire pressure light flashing issues because of onboard computer system glitches, then all you have to do is reset it through the car’s battery.

  1. Open your vehicle’s hood and find the battery’s positive terminal.
  2. Disconnect the battery by unplugging the positive terminal.
  3. Press your car’s horn to drain any remaining power.
  4. Reconnect the positive terminal. If you succeeded in resetting your TPMS, the warning light would go off.

5 & 6. Utilizing a TPMS Reset or Relearn Tool

You can find lots of TPMS reset tools, like the Autel MaxiTPMS TS401 TPMS Tool (Check Amazon for Price), that can help you reset your car’s sensor with just a click of a button. Just follow the instructions provided. However, keep in mind that not all reset tools are compatible with your TPMS sensor.

Mostly, the steps you need to take are the following:

  1. Trigger and read the sensor information provided by the TPMS diagnostic tool.
  2. Perform the necessary service like tire rotation, air pressure adjustment, or sensor replacement.
  3. Perform the appropriate relearn process for your vehicle.

5. OBD2 Relearn Procedure

Most applicable to vehicles made in Asia and Europe, OBD2 relearning is a great way to transfer new sensor IDs directly to your car’s ECU. Since it’s easy to do, time-saving, and has a standard procedure for most units, most auto-shops offer this service.

An example of the steps involved when you want to reset a tire pressure light flashing Toyota Camry 2011 are:

  1. Inflate the tires.
  2. Read each sensor using an OBD2 scanner with a TPMS reset function (Check Amazon for Price).
  3. Connect the tool to your vehicle’s ODB port.
  4. Reset your car’s ECU with the help of the tool.
  5. Turn the ignition off, and then on.
  6. Drive for up to five minutes at a speed of 12MPH or less.

Do note that the steps might be similar for most cars, but steps four and up might differ, depending on the specific diagnostic tool model. Thus, make sure you follow the procedure in the tool’s manual.

6. Stationary or Manual Relearn

Like OBD2 relearn, this process also transfers new sensor IDs to your car’s ECU, but without the need to drive your car. You need to trigger the sensors using a TPMS diagnostic or diagnostic scan tool when your car is in its learn mode. Your car will then use RF signals to communicate with its ECU and determine where a specific sensor is.

An example of how to do this is:

  1. Inflate all the tires.
  2. Turn off the car’s ignition.
  3. Step on the brake pedal and release.
  4. Cycle your car’s ignition from off to run three times, making sure you end at run mode.
  5. Step on the brake pedal and release.
  6. Turn off the car’s ignition.
  7. Cycle your car’s ignition from off to run three times, making sure you end at run mode.
  8. Car’s horn should sound twice.
  9. Use the diagnostic tool to activate your car’s left front tire sensor.
  10. Car’s horn should sound once.

Repeat the steps for the right front tire sensor, right rear tire sensor, and the left rear tire sensor.

Resetting Your Blinking Tire Pressure Light

A tire pressure light flashing or blinking most of the time indicates an issue with your car’s TPMS. You might need to replace its battery or the sensor itself, but trying to reset it first is a good idea for you not to incur unnecessary expenses. As such, it’s always best to have a TPMS diagnostic tool on hand to easily figure out if the sensors, and which among them, are the cause.

There are several methods to reset your TPMS, and the effective one would usually depend on your car’s model. Most especially if the standard ones won’t work. Different car models require a different procedure, so check your car’s manual or call the manufacturer’s dealer for assistance.

Kris Peter

Adventure seeker and off-road enthusiast. I love the thrill of going off-road and taking on the elements.

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