How to Reset a Stuck Low Tire Pressure (TPMS) Light

Updated on January 18, 2019
Wolfy profile image

Kate is a research enthusiast with a Bachelor of Science degree from Sonoma State University. Kate has a passion for the automotive field.


The low tire pressure light, also know as the TPMS system, on your car should turn off when you have filled your tires to the proper pressure, or "PSI."

Sometimes, it just doesn't work though. The light doesn't always reset, sticking you with an annoying amber light, or as with newer vehicles, a constant message on your display that your tire pressure is low.

If you have ensured that the tire pressures in all of your tires are fine, including your spare tire (yes they have sensors too), and the warning light refuses to turn off, here are a few methods you can try to reset it.

4 Ways to Turn off the Low Tire Pressure ("TPMS") Light

Tools Required
1. Drive at 50 mph for 10 miles.
2. Use Your Vehicle's TPMS Reset Button.
3. Deflate & Reinflate the Tires
Air pump
4. Disconnect and Reconnect the Car's Battery

1. Drive at 50 mph for 10 Miles

Probably the easiest method is to drive about 10 miles at 50 mph. Use the cruise control to keep the speed constant. Some vehicles reset the sensors at higher speeds than others. Shut off the car. The next time you start it, the light should go off.

2. Use Your Vehicle's TPMS Reset Button

Each tire has a sensor. Sometimes the sensor system simply needs resetting. Check your owner's manual for the location of the TPMS (or Tire Pressure Monitoring System) reset button.

Put the key in the ignition and turn it to the "on" position, but do not start the car. Press and hold down the reset button (sometimes located under the steering wheel) until the low-pressure light blinks three times. Release the button. Start the vehicle and let it run for 20 minutes to let its computer re-calibrate each sensor. Turn off the ignition.

3. Deflate and Reinflate the Tires

Some vehicles, like the Toyota Prius for example, feature a leeway of three pounds or so for tire pressure. If the reset button doesn't work, try inflating each tire to its proper PSI plus three, then deflate all the tires to near zero.

Re-inflate all the tires to the appropriate tire pressure noted on the sidewall. Don't forget the spare tire. It'II usually has a sensor attached also. Drive a few miles at 15 mph to reset the sensors.

4. Disconnect and Reconnect the Car's Battery

Your car has an on-board computer which checks all the sensors in the vehicle (such as the TPMS sensor) and decides what to do with that information. Just like your computer at home, sometimes the computer can have an unexplained glitch in the system. A quick and easy way to reset your computer is to disconnect and reconnect your car's battery.

First, open your vehicle's hood. Find the battery and disconnect the negative battery cable. You will need a wrench to do this. Once the battery is disconnected, turn your vehicle on and press the horn for approximately three seconds. This will drain any remaining energy stored in the vehicle's electrical system. Reconnect the negative battery cable.

An illuminated low tire pressure warning light. Also known as a "TPMS" light.
An illuminated low tire pressure warning light. Also known as a "TPMS" light.

If the Above Methods Do Not Fix the Problem

Sometimes the tires are fine, but the sensor became damaged, and it may be necessary to take it to the dealer or repair shop to have the sensor replaced.

A sensor can be damaged during:

  • Normal tire service
  • Tire replacement
  • Brake system work
  • Tire rotation
  • A CV boot/axle replacement
  • An oil change
  • A filter change

Additionally, the air pressure gauge may be mis-calibrated, or the battery that powers the sensor may have died. In these cases, the sensor needs recalibration or replacement. Take it to the dealership or a dealer recommended repair shop where they will likely fix it in minutes with a scan tool.

Other Concerns

Sometimes, the light will come back on and that indicates a larger problem. Any of the following may be true:

  • One of the tires may have a slow leak.
  • The system may have an internal fault that prevents it from properly functioning.
  • The wheel sensor requires replacing (in an Indirect Tire Pressure Management System).

In an Indirect system, if the wheel sensor has gone bad, the ABS Warning Light also illuminates.

In each case, it means the vehicle needs to go to a certified mechanic. The mechanic can detect and patch the leak or replace the tire. They will also be able to repair or replace the sensor system, if needed. Replacing the system can cost about $1,000.

Maintenance Tips

Once the problem is fixed, you probably don't want to have to go through a future malfunction. Following a few simple maintenance tips can keep your TPMS system running well.

First, if a tire requires a replacement valve-stem core, choose a stainless steel core. The brass cores corrode. The stainless steel core costs about $2 but a corrosion-damaged sensor can cost you about $100. It's worth investing in the stainless core.

Second, always keep the cap screwed onto the valve stem. This protects the sensor from water, mud and road salt damage.

Third, avoid using aerosol flat-fixer, if possible. It may say "Sensor Safe," but it can cause problems because the fixer compound can enter the sensor's hole that allows it to measure pressure. A plugged sensor hole means it can't take readings.

A stuck low tire pressure light can be annoying and distracting to the driver. Its malfunction also puts the driver and passengers at risk since it no longer accurately transmit tire inflation information. The quicker you fix it, the quicker you'll be driving safely again.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Kate Daily


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      • profile image


        41 hours ago

        please don’t fill tires to the pressure indicated on the tire sidewall! that is the /absolute maximum/ pressure the tire allows, and does not consider the vehicle they are fitted to, the weight of the chassis, cargo, etc. your car will have a sticker on the driver’s side door jamb that indicates what the appropriate tire pressure for your vehicle is. use this number and NOT the one referenced on the sidewall.

      • profile image

        George T 

        3 months ago

        Thank you so much. I forgot the spare tire also has a sensor. It was low. That was my only problem. Easy to fix myself. You saved me a bundle.

      • profile image

        Budbalentine13@gmail. com 

        12 months ago

        Very informative, well written article!

        Thank you very much!


      • profile image


        12 months ago

        I had my Toyota Camry in for an oil change last week and when I drove away i noticed the (!) light was on. Mind you it was an oil change & tire rotation. They also forgot to put the tire caps back on. Very sloppy! I took the car back today and the service advisor said her technicians couldn’t have broken it. She then told me it would be $250 to fix.

      • profile image

        kenneth l pancoast 

        12 months ago

        good "tips" thanks

      • profile image


        13 months ago

        Where is the Tpms reset button on a 2018 Dodge Ram 1500 or better yet how do I shut it off in the winter. Live in Canada and the dam thing stays on all winter even though the tires are at the proper inflation psi

      • profile image


        18 months ago

        The TPMS have internal non-replaceable batteries that usually last 5 years. I encourage those with TPMS older than 5 years to buy new ones when they get new tires.

      • profile image

        sonny whatcott 

        19 months ago

        my light keeps coming on ...i filled the tires to full and it went off...i went out and got in my car and the light came back on this time for the left rearon/. whats going on...

      • Wolfy profile imageAUTHOR

        Kate Daily 

        2 years ago from California

        Thank you for pointing that out to me. The intent of that section was to convey possibilities on how and when the tpms sensor could have been damaged (i.e. it could have been damaged inadvertently by the technicians during your last oil change). It was not listed as a method to fix the problem.

        Thank you for the feedback. I may change the wording to make that clearer to future readers.

      • WheelScene profile image


        2 years ago from U.S.A.

        Awesome article, very comprehensive. I like how you talked about how to diagnose other causes of a faulty TPMS but I have never heard of an oil change fixing the issue. Maybe just having it in the shop and doing a hard reset fixed the issue.

        Thanks for sharing!


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