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FAQ - Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

414654 Views 394 Replies 170 Participants Last post by  ichheibeangel
Since there has been, what seems to be, an influx of questions regarding this system I figured it would be good to make a sticky with as much useful info as possible. I am by no means an expert... but Ive been dealing with the system enough to heave learned a few things here or there.

I'll be updating this over the course of the next few days since I can only write a bit at a time in between work and/or other things. If you feel there is something I missed that should be added, type it up and I'll put it in the 1st post. Also, if you feel some of the info I have is misleading or erroneous... let me know and we'll see about correcting it.


First things first, there are 2 different indicator lights associated with the TPMS system. It is useful to know which light is which and know what causes each one so that if/when you see them, you know what to check for.

Indicator Lights:

Low Tire Pressure - This light is supposed ot look like a tire with a '!' over it but looks more like a horseshoe.
This indicator means one of your tires (or all) are below the allowable threshold. This light can be a faulty
sensor, but is most likely a low tire, be it from a slow leak, time, or temperature change. Fill your tires up to
the recommended 32psi (or more), and drive for 5 minutes, the light should shut itself off. If it does not,
take car to dealer, it's a faulty sensor.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System - This indicator is actually the yellow letters TPMS located in the upper-right
portion of your dash. This indicator means there is a fault in the system itself, be it a faulty sensor, a dead
module, sensors cannot be found or what have you. Take it to the dealer, they will pull an error code (or not if the module is dead),
and replace the affected item.

Onto the FAQ:

1. My Low Tire Pressure light came on but all of my tires look and feel fine. What is wrong?

Please do not be fooled by what you can 'see' and 'feel' by looking at your tires. Every tire is different...
but when it comes to stock wheels/tires, it is likely at 32-33psi. The threshold for setting off the
Low Tire Pressure light begins at 27-28psi.

The different in look/feel between 33 and 27psi would barely be noticeable to the human eye.
So please, before you assume its fine, buy yourself a tire pressure gauge at your local auto store.
They are cheap and very useful.

2. My Low Tire Pressure Light was on, I found the tire that needed air and fix it, but the light is still on when I turn the car back on.

Once the light is on, it stays on until the car can gather enough information to determine that the issue has been fixed. The TPMS system
cannot gather info while the car is not in motion.

If you are 100% sure you remedied the issue, drive your car around for a minute or two making sure you get it up to at least 20mph. After
a minute or so, the sensors should be activated and should have gathered enough info to know that there is the proper pressure inside the tire.

3. My tires dont have any leaks, why did my Low Pressure Light go on?

Most likely, the cause of this is the change in air temperatures as the seasons
change. As it gets colder, the air inside your tires will get more dense, causing
less pressure and possible setting off the indicator.

4. If I get new wheels, will my TPMS still work?

No, with new wheels, the system will not work because the sensors are not attached
to the wheels and thus, the system cannot function, resulting in a 'TPMS' light.

However, you do have a few options:
Option A - Ignore the light and just drive/check your pressure like you would before TPMS was made mandatory.
This is NOT recommended since the system is their for your safety, and should anything happen to you and/or
your car, you may end up at fault for driving with a system that is not functioning. Also, in many states you will
not pass inspection with this light on.
Option B - Buy new sensors and have them installed in your new wheels. This option will allow you to have a multiple sets of wheels
with the system intact. However, the car can only be programmed to recognize one set of sensors at a time. So, you will have to go to a
honda dealership and have the reprogram the system each time you change wheels. People have reported that the cost of this at the dealership
is roughly $100.
Option C - Have the stock TPMS sensor swapped into your new wheels. This option is sort of tricky, because not all wheels are shaped
the same on the inside. Our system has the sensors connect to the valve stem and the sensor must sit flush against the inside of the wheel.
If, due to the shape of your wheel, the sensor will not sit flush... you can create some kind of spacer that will allow the sensor to sit flush.

5. Ive heard that if my TPMS or Low Pressure light is on, I cannot turn VSA on/off. Is this true?

This seems to be the question that has caused the most confusion about the whole TPMS system.
Now, I have tested this numerous times in order to try and understand it as much as possible.

Thanks to tests by myself and other members, it seems as if the manual is NOT correct
when it describes how VSA is always enabled when either light is present.

Again... (on US models 08+), if either light (TPMS) or (!) is on... your VSA will still function as it normally does

6. I have a new set of wheels that I did not put the TPMS sensors in. But the TPMS light did not come on. What gives?

Dont fret... the light will come on eventually. Why there is a delay, I am not sure. The few times I have tested this it
will not turn on until you have driven roughly 40-50 miles.

7. I have a new set of wheels that I did not put the TPMS sensors in. I still have my stock wheels with the sensors
for the winter. Will the TPMS light go off when I put my stock wheels back on?

Yes, when you put on a set of wheels that has the registered sensors onto the vehicle, after a couple minutes of
driving the TPMS light will turn off.
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also the light will turn on if the tires are OVER-inflated
For what its worth...

I have been able to confirm what GSXRSpeed said about the (!) light and VSA. Thanks to the cold weather my (!) light as come on a few times and I was able to test it yesterday.

Yesterday, I launched my car (in an isolated, empty, parking lot) with the (!) light present and while switching VSA on/off multiple times.

When VSA was enabled, it acted normally in trying to prevent my wheels from spinning.
When VSA was disabled, my tires were allowed ot spin freely until I let off the gas to gain traction.
but thats when you have a tire pressure light and NOT the TPMS light illuminated, the vsa will still function normally with a low pressure situation, but if you have wheels WITHOUT tpms sensors, the system will go into dummy mode and will keep vsa on as it thinks you are now driving WITHOUT wheels...

you can check this by swapping out the wheels with wheels without sensors

at least this is what happened in the 06RL i drove, it had no sensors.. couldnt shut a darn thing off
uggg i thought we setteled this argument^ phalanx
no he confirmed that IF you have the (!) light on, and NOT the TPMS light on, you can deactivate the vsa, but if you have the TPMS light on, you cannot deactivate vsa
According to Honda, not so.
well inflate your tires to 50psi and try it out.. ive seen this happen on about 5 cars at the dealership..

maybe the vsa function is different on the si than on other models
i have verified the tpms/vsa function on other models outside of the civic, and yes you will not be able to disable vsa if the tire pressure light is on.. on NON-civics, like the accord or cr-v, tl, rl, pilot, element... and most of the civics, the si probablly has different parameters
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