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Can TPMS Cause Check Engine Light? Diagnosis and Fix

Can TPMS Cause Check Engine Light Diagnosis and Fix

Can TPMS cause check engine light? Certainly! Insufficient tire pressure may lead to the activation of the check engine light. The tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is responsible for continuously assessing the pressure in each tire. 

If the pressure in any tire falls below the prescribed level, it sends a signal to the car’s computer, prompting the illumination of the check engine light.

Yes, TPMS problems can potentially trigger the check engine light in certain cases. 

Here’s a breakdown of how it can happen:

Low Tire Pressure:

  • In some vehicles, significantly low tire pressure can activate the check engine light alongside the TPMS light. This is because excessively underinflated tires can affect vehicle performance and emissions, which the engine control module (ECM) monitors.
  • Refilling the tires to their recommended pressure often resolves this issue, causing both lights to turn off.

TPMS Sensor Faults:

  • Defective TPMS sensors, such as those with dead batteries or signal transmission issues, can trigger fault codes that illuminate the check engine light.
  • These faults typically require replacement of the faulty sensor(s) to resolve.

Steps to Take: Diagnosis and Fix

Table of Contents

  • Check Tire Pressure: Begin by verifying that all tires are inflated to their correct pressure levels. Rectifying low pressure might resolve the issue.
  • Scan for Codes: If the check engine light persists, use a diagnostic scan tool to retrieve any trouble codes stored in the vehicle’s computer. These codes can pinpoint the specific cause of the problem, whether related to TPMS or other systems.
  • TPMS System Malfunctions:
    • Broader issues within the TPMS system, such as wiring problems, module failures, or communication errors, can also lead to the check engine light coming on.
    • These issues usually necessitate professional diagnosis and repair.

Can TPMS Cause Check Engine Light?

The TPMS is a safety feature and is generally separate from the systems that control the engine and its emissions. However, in some cases, issues with the TPMS might indirectly lead to a check engine light (CEL) coming on.

While it’s less common for the TPMS itself to directly cause a check engine light, it’s not impossible. If your check engine light comes on, it’s essential to have the vehicle scanned for diagnostic trouble codes. 

Can TPMS Cause Check Engine Light

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What is a TPMS Sensor? 

A TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) sensor is a device that monitors air pressure in tires. It alerts drivers if the pressure drops below a certain level, helping to ensure proper tire inflation for safety and performance.

What Does TPMS Light Mean?

The TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) light indicates that one or more of a vehicle’s tires may have low pressure. It serves as a warning for the driver to check the tire pressures and inflate as necessary for safety and optimal performance.

Tire Pressure Check Engine Light

If your check engine light is on and you suspect it might be related to tire pressure:

  • Check tire pressures using a gauge.
  • Inflate or deflate as needed.
  • Drive for a short distance.
  • If light persists, consult a mechanic.

Signs And Causes Of Failure Tire Pressure Check Engine Light

Signs of Failure

  • Uneven tire wear.
  • Vehicle pulling to one side.
  • Excessive vibration or thumping.
  • Visible tire damage (cuts, bulges).
  • Reduced fuel efficiency.
  • Dashboard TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) warning light.


  • Natural air leakage over time.
  • Temperature changes affecting tire pressure.
  • Puncture or damage to the tire.
  • Faulty valve stem.
  • Aging tires.

TPMS Malfunction (Causes): Bad TPMS Sensor Symptoms

1. Erratic Tire Pressure Readings

  • Inconsistent pressure readings for a particular tire.
  • Display may show incorrect tire pressure values.

2. TPMS Warning Light

  • The TPMS warning light on the dashboard remains illuminated.
  • The light may flash or remain solidly lit, indicating a system malfunction.

3. Low or No Signal Reception

The TPMS system might not receive any signal from the malfunctioning sensor.

Some vehicles may display a message like “TPMS Sensor Malfunction.”

4. Reduced Battery Life

  • The TPMS sensor has a built-in battery that powers its operation.
  • A failing or dead battery can result in a sensor malfunction.

5. Unexpected Battery Drain

  • The TPMS sensor might draw excessive power, draining the vehicle’s battery more quickly than usual.

6. Temperature-Related Errors

  • The sensor might provide inaccurate readings due to extreme temperatures, especially cold conditions.
  • Inability to Reset
  • Despite trying to reset or recalibrate the TPMS system, the error persists.
  • The vehicle might not recognize the sensor even after multiple attempts to reprogram it.

7. Corrosion or Physical Damage

  • Visible physical damage to the sensor, such as cracks or breaks.
  • Corrosion around the valve stem or sensor body can interfere with its functionality.

TPMS Trigger System Problems

Here are some common TPMS trigger system problems and their potential causes:

TPMS Trigger System Problems

1. Warning Light Stays On

Low Tire Pressure: This is the most common reason. One or more tires may be underinflated.

2. Faulty Sensor

TPMS sensors can fail over time or due to damage.

3. System Calibration

Sometimes, the TPMS system needs to be recalibrated, especially after tire rotations or replacements.

4. Warning Light Flashes On and Off

This can indicate an intermittent issue. It might be due to a loose connection, sensor battery issue, or interference.

5. Warning Light Fails to Illuminate When Starting the Car

Failed Bulb or LED: If the TPMS warning light itself is not illuminating, it could be a simple matter of a burned-out bulb or LED.

6. System Malfunction

There could be an issue with the TPMS control module or wiring.

7. Sensor Malfunction

A TPMS sensor might be giving incorrect pressure readings. Sometimes, the system might need recalibration to display accurate readings.

8. Battery Life Issues

TPMS sensors have internal batteries that can fail over time, especially in older vehicles. Some TPMS sensors have a separate low battery indicator, which can cause confusion.

9. TPMS Resetting Often

External sources or devices can interfere with the TPMS signals, causing the system to reset frequently.

How Do You Diagnose TPMS?

Here’s a step-by-step guide to diagnosing TPMS:

1. Check the Warning Light

If the TPMS warning light on your dashboard illuminates, it indicates there might be a problem with the system or the tire pressure in one or more tires.

2. Visual Inspection

Look for obvious signs of damage to the tires such as punctures, bulges, or excessive wear. Inspect the valve stems for damage or corrosion. Ensure that all tires appear to be properly inflated.

3. Manual Pressure Check

Use a tire pressure gauge to manually check the pressure in each tire. Compare the readings to the recommended pressure listed in your vehicle’s owner manual or on the sticker inside the driver’s door frame.

4. TPMS Diagnostic Tool

Connect the TPMS scan tool to the vehicle’s OBD-II port (usually located under the dashboard near the steering column) and follow the tool’s instructions to retrieve diagnostic information.

5. Inspect TPMS Sensors

If manual pressure checks and the diagnostic tool indicate a TPMS sensor issue, you may need to inspect or replace the TPMS sensor(s) inside the tire. These sensors are typically mounted on the inner side of the valve stem or attached to the rim.

6. Battery Check

TPMS sensors have internal batteries that can wear out over time. If a TPMS sensor is not functioning, it might be due to a dead battery. Some sensors are serviceable

How Do I Reset My Car After Check Engine Light?

Here’s how you can reset the check engine light:

How Do I Reset My Car After Check Engine Light

1. OBD-II Scanner

The most common method to reset the check engine light is by using an OBD-II scanner. Here’s a basic process:

  • Locate the OBD-II port in your car. This is usually found under the dashboard near the steering wheel.
  • Plug the OBD-II scanner into the port.
  • Turn on the ignition (don’t start the engine).
  • Follow the scanner’s instructions to read and clear the codes.
  • Once cleared, disconnect the scanner and turn off the ignition.

2. Battery Disconnection

Disconnecting the car’s battery can also reset the check engine light. However, be cautious as this method can also reset other systems in your car (like the radio settings). Here’s how to do it:

  • Turn off the ignition and remove the keys.
  • Open the hood and locate the car battery.
  • Disconnect the negative (usually black) battery terminal.
  • Wait for about 15 minutes.
  • Reconnect the battery terminal.
  • Start the car and see if the check engine light is off. If it doesn’t come back immediately, it may take a while before the light resets.

3. Drive Cycle

Sometimes, driving the car through a series of specific conditions can reset the check engine light. This method requires a specific set of driving conditions, which can vary based on the car’s make and model. 

4. Professional Service

If you’re uncomfortable or unsure about resetting the check engine light on your own, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional mechanic or technician. 

What Happens If You Ignore TPMS?

Ignoring the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) in your vehicle can lead to several potential consequences:

1. Safety Risks

Underinflated tires can overheat and increase the risk of a blowout, especially at high speeds. This can lead to loss of control of the vehicle and potentially dangerous situations, such as accidents.

2. Decreased Fuel Efficiency

Underinflated tires can reduce fuel efficiency. When tires are not properly inflated, the rolling resistance increases, which means the engine has to work harder to move the vehicle. 

3. Tire Wear

Improperly inflated tires can wear out unevenly and prematurely. Over time, this can lead to the need for more frequent tire replacements, which can be costly.

4. Reduced Tire Life

Underinflated tires can cause the sidewalls to flex more than they should, leading to increased heat and potential damage to the tire. This can reduce the overall lifespan of the tire.

5. Increased Risk of Accidents

As mentioned earlier, ignoring TPMS warnings can lead to dangerous situations on the road, increasing the risk of accidents, injuries, and even fatalities.

6. Potential Legal Consequences

In some jurisdictions, driving with a malfunctioning TPMS system or knowingly ignoring its warnings can result in fines or penalties.

How To Fix TPMS Light

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to address the TPMS light:

1. Pull Over Safely

If the TPMS light illuminates while you’re driving, safely pull over to a level spot away from traffic.

2. Check Tire Pressure

Use a tire pressure gauge to check the pressure of all four tires (and the spare if it’s installed). The recommended pressure for your tires can usually be found:

  • In the vehicle’s owner manual
  • On a sticker inside the driver’s side door jamb

3. Inflate Tires

If any tire’s pressure is below the recommended level, inflate it to the correct pressure using an air pump. Many gas stations have air pumps, and you can also purchase a portable one for convenience.

4. Check for Damage

While checking the tire pressure, inspect the tires for any visible damage, punctures, or signs of wear. If you find any issues, consult with a tire professional.

5. Drive and Monitor

After inflating the tires to the correct pressure, drive the vehicle for a short distance (a few miles) and monitor the TPMS light. 

TPMS Frequency By Car

Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) in vehicles use either a 315MHz or a 433MHz frequency for transmitting data from the sensors to the vehicle’s. 

1. 315MHz TPMS

This is commonly used in vehicles, especially in North America. The 315MHz frequency band is designated for TPMS and some other wireless applications. 

2. 433MHz TPMS

This frequency is more common in some European and Asian vehicles. It also operates within the ISM band and is designated for TPMS use in those regions. 

Can High Tire Pressure Cause Check Engine Light?

Yes, high tire pressure can indirectly cause the check engine light to come on in some vehicles. An overly inflated tire can affect the vehicle’s sensors and lead to inaccurate readings, which might trigger the check engine light or related warnings.

Can Low Tire Pressure Cause Check Engine Light To Come On?

Yes, low tire pressure can sometimes trigger the check engine light to come on. This can happen in certain modern vehicles where the TPMS is integrated with other vehicle systems that can influence the check engine light.

Can TPMS Cause Check Engine Light Chevy Silverado?

Yes, in some cases, a malfunctioning Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) can trigger the Check Engine Light (CEL) in a Chevy Silverado. It’s essential to diagnose the specific issue causing the CEL to determine if it’s related to TPMS or another system.

Can Flat Tire Cause Check Engine Light?

No, a flat tire cannot directly cause the check engine light to come on. The check engine light typically indicates issues related to the engine or emissions system. However, if the tire damage affects the vehicle’s sensors or wiring, it might indirectly lead to the light illuminating.

Can Flat Tire Cause Check Engine Light

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Can Alignment Cause Check Engine Light?

Yes, wheel alignment issues can sometimes cause a vehicle’s check engine light to illuminate. Misalignment can lead to uneven tire wear and other mechanical stresses, potentially affecting sensors or components related to the engine or emissions systems.

Can You Disable TPMS Light?

Yes, it is possible to disable the TPMS light. However, doing so might be illegal in some regions, and it’s essential to ensure your vehicle’s safety and compliance with local regulations before making any modifications.

Can A Bad TPMS Cause Engine Problems?

No, a malfunctioning Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is primarily related to tire pressure monitoring and should not directly cause engine problems. However, ignoring TPMS warnings could lead to tire-related issues that may indirectly affect vehicle performance and safety.


Is it OK to drive with the TPMS light on?

No, driving with the TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) light on indicates a potential tire pressure issue that could compromise safety. Inflate or check tires immediately.

Will A Tpms Light Fail Inspection?

A TPMS light may cause inspection failure depending on local regulations and requirements. It often indicates tire pressure issues, impacting safety.

Why Does The TPMS Light Stay On?

The TPMS light stays on when there’s a tire pressure discrepancy or a faulty sensor. Regularly checking and adjusting tire pressure can help.

Does TPMS affect acceleration?

TPMS primarily monitors tire pressure and does not directly affect acceleration. However, severely low tire pressure might impact vehicle performance.

What is the lifespan of a TPMS sensor?

The lifespan of a TPMS sensor varies. Generally, they can last 7 and 10 years or 100,000 miles, but environmental factors and usage can affect this.

What is the most common check engine light code?

The most common check engine light code is the “P0420,” indicating a catalytic converter efficiency issue. It’s essential to diagnose and address promptly.

How long can you drive with your TPMS light on?

Driving with the TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) light on is not advisable. Inflate tires to the correct pressure as soon as possible to avoid potential damage or hazards.


Can tpms cause check engine light? While(TPMS) primarily monitor tire pressure and alert drivers of under-inflation, they are distinct from the vehicle’s engine control unit (ECU) responsible for checking engine light. 

Typically, TPMS issues trigger a separate warning light on the dashboard, unrelated to the check engine light. Thus, TPMS malfunctions generally do not directly cause the check engine light to illuminate.

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