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2006 Acura MDX flat tire symbol won't go off

I just bought a 2006 Acura MDX touring edition with 88K miles. I have driven it about 1000 miles. The flat tire lights now come on pretty consistent. Tires are relatively new, pressure is good, etc Is there a way to make this light go off permanently? Why does it keep coming on? It’s just recently been cold here in NC. Does that have anything to do with it? Thanks in advance

There are a couple of possibilities, as I see it–from afar:

If this car has a full-size spare tire, then there is probably a TPMS sensor on that wheel, and because most people never bother to check the pressure in their spare tire, it is entirely possible that the spare’s pressure is low.

If the spare is one of those compact “donut” spare tires, then there is no pressure sensor on it, and my next suspicion would be that one or more of the TPMS sensors has had its battery die. In fact, after 10 years, it is very likely that the batteries are dying and that you need to replace the TPMS sensors.

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Let’s also make sure that “pressure is good” means “I checked it with a tire gauge,” and not “I eyeballed the tires.”


I am always amazed at how many people assume that their tire pressure is…okay…as long as the tires are not already flat. I have no idea whether the OP fits into that category, but it definitely behooves him to get a good-quality, dial-type tire pressure gauge if he doesn’t already own one.

You may be assuming it’s a ‘flat tire symbol’, but in reality, it’s a ‘I’m 5 psi or more lower than I should be’ symbol. Which you can’t eyeball-need a good gauge as mentioned. Since you mentioned it just turned cold, that’s your first check. And, as mentioned, if the sensors inside the tires are 10 years old, their batteries are near the end of their life, which would also turn that light on.

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Well, in the old days I could tell if a tire was low to the degree that today would trigger the TPMS warning. But then the narrow sidewall craze caught on. I put the winter tires on one of the cars this past weekend, and they all looked great even though when I put the gauge on them one read 15 pounds.

Yeah it may have relatively new tires but I’ll bet they never spent the extra $100 for new tire sensors when they put them on. Likely one of the sensors batteries need to be replaced, but the tires need to come off again to do that.

Off topic, but does anybody here know how those inexpensive tire pressure gauges work? Looks sort of like a pencil, and how far the inner slide thing pops out corresponds to the tire pressure. Those type seem to be the most accurate for some reason, and if not absolutely accurate, at least consistent.

You’d think it would be just a column of air pressing against a calibrated spring. But the one I use, it has no obvious spring action to it. The slide gadget slides in and out with little to no resistance and no spring pushing it back in as far as I can tell. Any ideas how that clever thing works?

Never had one apart but assume its just air pressure pushing the rod up like one of those bell ringer things at the fair. I think they are pretty accurate but just hard to read and sometimes hard to fit on the valve stem to get it to work.

Short story I’m sure I told before. I always keep one in my carry on/go bag that I have with me all the time in the car and traveling. I happened to have it when going through the airport in Amsterdam. Just before boarding I got pulled over for a full search (maybe its my sun tan or something). They took everything out of my go bag and when the guy saw my tire pressure gauge, he didn’t know what to make of it. Looked at it, inspected it, and finally ran it through the x-ray machine by itself. I tried telling him its just for tire pressure but guess his bike tires never need air. No explosives found so they let me go home. What really ticked me off though was I just bought a couple bottles of Coke a hundred feet down the hall-unopened for the 8 hour flight home, and they confiscated them. I don’t like going through Amsterdam.

It could be the cold weather causing the tire pressure to drop slightly.

There is a spring, but the slider isn’t connected to it. The “piston” is what’s acted on by the spring. It can push the slider, but not pull it back.

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OK, that makes sense. Thanks for the explanation. I seem to get very consistent tire pressure readings from such a simple device. Test to test consistency seems to be within 1 psi. Accuracy wise, it matches up within a pound or two of the tire inflator gadget at the nearby gas station. I got to wondering, how would a person tell if their gauge was accurate or not? You’d need some kind of standard reference tire inflated to a known pressure I guess.

@GeorgeSanJose I also use the same guage as I get conflicting pressure" from a dial guage. I use the one with a duel foot so have no problem with checking duel tires.

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Tell those tires to stop fighting each other…oh, dual tires.


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@insightful Sorry about that spelling is not my strong suit most times I spell it like it sounds & yes they can fight each other if they installed with the valve stems in wrong orientation

On the other hand, I could never get consistent readings from the “plunger” type. I bought a dial indicator one at Pep Boys and it reads very consistently (and accurately, as far as I know).

New civic tpms was on. Tire pressure was low. It was -20f so maybe there was link? Added air. Light did not go off. Checked today and all tires are at door spec. Read manual. Sez go into maintenance mode and recalibrate sensors. Light is off. Former cars would reset within 10 min of driving after adding air.

Does your new Civic use the ABS sensors for TPMS, like the new Fit?

Abs that uses slight variations in tire rpm to determine pressure differences? I would say no since recalibration is done when car is stopped and light went off in garage.

Look at the valve stem

Is it gray, with a nut securing it to the rim?

Is it black rubber, but if you push on it, it’s very stiff?

If the answer to both questions is no, then you DO have indirect TPMS, as @insightful suggested