In most vehicles, the tyre pressure warning light looks like the yellow icon below. It will come on when the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) senses that the pressure in one or more of your tyres is too low.
If you see this light illuminated on your dashboard, don't worry. We've created a visual guide to what to do if your tyre pressure warning light comes on.
First though, if you need it, here's a little background info on tyre pressure and why it's important to monitor it regularly.
What is tyre pressure?
Tyre pressure is the amount of air that is pumped into the inner lining of your vehicle's tyres. It's measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) or BAR pressure.
Each type of car and van has an optimum tyre pressure as set by the manufacturer - this is the tyre pressure to maintain to make sure the vehicle is safe and efficient to drive.
You can find the correct tyre pressure for your vehicle in your manufacturer's handbook.
Why is tyre pressure important?
First and foremost, the correct tyre pressure is vital for ensuring a vehicle is safe to drive. Under-inflation is one of the most common causes of a blown tyre, which can cause a loss of control and raise the risk of having an accident.
But did you know there are many other benefits to making sure your tyres are the right pressure? Tyres maintained at the optimum pressure:
- Last longer - when tyres are underinflated by just 5 PSI, it can reduce their life by around 25%
- Keep fuel consumption under control - driving with underinflated tyres burns more fuel, so you'll be filling up more often and producing more harmful emissions
- Handle better - especially in terms of steering and grip on the road. Underinflated tyres can increase stopping distances by up to eight metres.
Remember to check your vehicle's tyre pressure once a month and before any long journey.
What to do when your tyre pressure light comes on
Preparing to check your tyre pressure
1. Look up the correct tyre pressure for your vehicle in your owner's handbook. No handbook? You can also find your vehicle's tyre pressure either printed in the sill of the driver's door or on the inside of the fuel cap.
2. Drive to a petrol station where you can use the gauge and compressor to check and correct the tyre pressure. Don't worry, it's safe to drive, but drive carefully.
Checking your tyre pressure
Check the pressure when tyres are cold if you can - you'll get a more accurate reading. Let them cool for a bit.
3. Remove the screw caps from the valve of the first tyre.
4. Push the tyre pressure gauge on to the valve, using the lever to lock it in place.
5. Check the display for the pressure reading to decide on the next step:
Fixing the tyre pressure
Lower than your recommended tyre pressure? Add air until the gauge displays the right reading.
Got an overinflated tyre? You can use the gauge to remove air too.
6. Repeat for each tyre, not forgetting your spare, if you have one!
7. Replace all the tyre valve caps.
8. If your vehicle has a TPMS, you may have to reset it after correcting tyre pressure. Check your owner handbook for how to do this.
Vehicles have been fitted with Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems for several years now, but it's still important to manually check the pressure of your tyres every so often yourself.
This will ensure your car or van drives as safely, cost-effectively and smoothly as possible.
TPMS light still on even after correcting tyre pressure?
If you've corrected the pressure of each of your tyres and reset the TPMS, yet the warning light still shows, there could be something else causing the issue.
There could be something in one of your tyres, like a nail or a sharp stone. Have a good look at each one and if you find something lurking in your tyre treads, take your vehicle along to one of our Auto Centres. Our expert technicians will be able to repair or replace your tyre in no time.
If not, it could be that your TPMS is experiencing a fault - especially if it flashes for a while, then stays continuously lit. Book in at an Auto Centre and we'll take a look, getting to the bottom of the problem and getting you back on the road asap!