How Your Toyota’s Tire Pressure Monitor Works

September 16th, 2016 by

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It has been a frustrating problem since air-filled rubber tires became the norm on cars. You go out to drive your car, whether to the store, to work, or anywhere else, and you find that your tire pressure is low. Or, your tire might be completely flat.

So now you have to find a source of air to top up your tires. You pull out the tire pressure gauge from the depths of your glove box and go around, checking them all. Service stations often charge for air, and good luck borrowing a tire gauge that actually works. And if you haven’t damaged your tire by driving on it low or flat, your doing alright.

Tire Pressure Monitor Systems (TPMS) were developed to prevent accidents due to flat tires. As of 2008, all vehicles manufactured for sale in North America have one is some form or another, including your Toyota. Here’s how they work:

Each of your tires has a sensor inside, attached to the valve stem. It is battery-operated and transmits your tire pressure by radio frequency ID (RFID).

A module receives the RFID from each of your tire pressure sensors. It compares the pressure reading from each sensor against an allowable threshold.

A warning light on your dashboard illuminates solid when your tire pressure is outside of the threshold. The warning light flashes if there is a problem with the system such as a faulty sensor.

There are two types of TPMS: Indirect TPMS and Direct TPMS.
The indirect TPMS system simply operates with the light on the dash, and a general warning may appear on some models when there is a low tire. In the indirect system, you are made aware of a tire pressure issue, but you still need to determine which tire is low.
With a direct TPMS system, the light illuminates like on the indirect TPMS system. In addition, your Toyota indicates which tire is low on pressure. Not only that, but direct TPMS systems can give you precise tire pressures on all your tires so you are aware of their condition.

Whether your Toyota is equipped with a direct or indirect TPMS system, you should take all warnings seriously. Driving on a low or flat tire can be dangerous, not to mention expensive if the tire gets damaged. If you have a nail in your tire, a TPMS warning on or your system isn’t working, visit Jay Wolfe Toyota to have your system serviced. We can help with all your tire needs.

Posted in Maintenance, Service