Do You Know What This Warning Light Means?

August 5th, 2010 by

Have you ever seen this light before on your dashboard? Do you know what it means? If not, don’t worry you aren’t alone. There are many people who don’t know what that light means. 

It’s a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) light. When this light goes off on your dashboard it means one of your tires has low pressure. 

TPMS is an electronic system designed to monitor the air pressure inside all the pneumatic tires on automobiles, aeroplane undercarriage, straddle-lift carriers, forklifts and other vehicles. The system is also sometimes referred to as a tire-pressure indication system (TPIS). These systems report real-time tire-pressure information to the driver of the vehicle, either via a gauge, a pictogram display, or a simple low-pressure warning light. – Wikipedia came out with a very interesting article on this warning light that I thought I should share with you. 

A recent survey conducted by Schrader, a major manufacturer of the systems, found that one in three drivers are not sure what the icon is. If you have a vehicle older than 2008, don’t feel too bad — your car may not even have one. 

In 2000, after the rollover incidents involving the Ford Explorer and Firestone tires, Congress enacted the TREAD Act, which eventually made TPMS a requirement for 2008 and newer vehicles. But for consumers who do have these systems, Schrader has a dedicated a website to expain how TPMS works and what to do if the warning light comes on.

A separate Schrader study reported that 44 percent of drivers admit they rarely check tire pressure. Maintaining proper tire pressure is important for improving your fuel economy and reducing excessive wear on your tires.  While it’s convenient to have a TPMS to warn you when your tires are low, these systems aren’t meant to replace a monthly check — whether the light is on or not. Most tire pressure monitoring systems are calibrated to come on when you are 25 percent below the manufacturer’s recommendation, which is much too low to safely operate a vehicle. A loss of  only five PSI can lead to greatly diminished handling in your vehicle.

It is very important that you keep an eye out on your tires. I know I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. You must keep a vigilant eye on your tires. The littlest thing could cause an accident, poor handling, a blow out etc.

When traveling in your car, if a warning light goes off and you aren’t sure what it means feel free to contact your local Cincinnati Cadillac dealer and we will make sure you are safely back on the road in no time. 

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