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TPMS warning light

Not the one that says tire pressure is low. Rather, the one that says the TPMS system is not working right. '08 Civic.

The light has been on and off intermittently. I know that a failing tire pressure sensor will set the warning. Is there anything else simple to look for? (I.e., things other than wiring faults, computer faults, etc.)

After at least 8 years of service, I think it is reasonable to believe that at least one of the TPMS batteries has given up the ghost.

Most likely, there is no alternative at this point to replacing the TPMS unit in each wheel, as the death of one battery presages the death of the remaining three.
Or, you could simply place a piece of black masking tape over that warning light on your instrument panel, and make sure that you check your tire pressure very frequently.

Personally, I would opt to replace each wheel sensor…unless you plan on stopping and checking your tire pressure every 30 minutes or so.


I would opt for the black tape on the instrument panel until you buy new tires unless you have expensive rims you don’t want to risk destroying. At that point, I’d opt for new sensors all around since they’re only like $30 each online. Someone can correct me, but I don’t think the life on those sensors is expected to be beyond 9 years on average.

Well, duh! Here I was being proud of myself for remembering that each tire had an individual sensor, and wondering how it communicated with the “system” (i.e., what kind of “wireless”) And I neglected to realize that the sensors must have batteries. Sheesh!

(I gave this car a full-size spare that did not have a sensor ($$), knowing that the TPMS alarm would come on when the spare was installed.)

So, off to look into new sensors. Or ignore it (mental black tape) – car operators got by for about a century w/o TPMS.

Thanks, guys.

And exactly who is going to install those $30 sensors, which will be purchased online

Most shops don’t want to install parts, which the customer supplies

Part of a shop’s business model is making a fair profit by marking up the parts

If you don’t do that, you won’t be in business much longer

Thanks for the candor and the update. Before looking into installing a sensor in the spare, an idea that I like, you may want to check to see if the TPMS system will be able to reset to accept the lower pressure of a full size spare. Donut spares often come with 60psi pressure recommendations, and if your TPMS system also monitors the spare it’ll probably trip at the typical 32psi of a full size tire.

mountainbike – Thanks for the suggestion. However :>) …

  1. Owner’s Manual indicates that the (original) donut spare does not have TPMS sensor. So, maybe TPMS would get messed up by a fifth signal (or do the sensors just send a “too low” signal, and it doesn’t matter how many tire you have?).
  2. This is adult daughter’s car. She does a goodly amount of driving for her job, including travel between Baltimore and DC area. I myself do not like limping around on a donut spare, and I did not want her to have to do that. I figured she could go a day or so on a sensor-less spare until she could get a flat tire repaired. Just my preference.

db4690 – My thought exactly. I’ll be checking with various shops to see about getting it done.

My daughter seems to get a lot of slow-leak punctures. I’m happy not to have TPMS on my own (older) car, but I think it has been good for her. She does check the pressure herself, and pumps up the tires (little electric pump), even though she is too petite to do much with the lug wrench.

If you can manage to check your tire pressures every week or so the old fashioned way, until you need a set of tires, I’d consider waiting until that point, and then asking the shop to install 4 new sensors and relearn the system

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I had the same problem when my roof was being shingled. And then again while a new addition was being built where I worked. :scream:
Nails and screws migrate.

Well, that blows. There must be some tire shop that offers some decent quality affordable aftermarket TPMS sensors that last at least the half life of the OEM equivalent…Is there not?

When I was in a Costco tire shop last month, I noticed that they had a placard advertising TPMS replacements. I have to admit that I don’t recall the exact price quoted on that placard, but I do recall making a mental note to go there when I finally need to have my TPMS wheel sensors replaced, so I think that their price was pretty good for the parts and the labor.

(Note: If you are not already a Costco member, their “deal” on TPMS sensors is probably not a good enough reason to join, but if you are already a member, this would be my go-to place for this type of service.)

The same TPMS system warning came on in my 2010 Insight six months after replacing all the tires for the first time. I went the “black tape” route. I simply refuse to essentially almost double the cost of tires to keep this system operational.

Having said that, my daughter’s new Sorento immediately told her that three of her tires had gone down to 27 psi from this last cold snap (readout for each tire). With two little kids, this is a real help for her and me.

There are lots of aftermarket sensors on the market . . . that’s not the problem

The problem is you want to buy parts yourself for a rock bottom price, and then have the shop install them

That’s kind of like bringing your own ribeye to the restaurant and asking them to grill and serve it to you

Generally, the light comes on when working correctly if it varys 25% of it’s baseline. If you’re in the habit of checking your tires and not letting it lose as much as the 8lbs it would take to turn it on, AND the state makes it an optional inspection item, then you’re doing the right thing. Black tape it !

I understood that from your first response. What I was trying to ask based on that response was whether there were any tire dealers that will sell both tires and a decent aftermarket TPMS sensor which they can install at a reasonable price. @VDCDriver was able to provide at least one suggestion. I was hoping either you or others with such experience would be able to suggest other places that vehicle owners could benefit from in the future.

I don’t think it would be too hard to find a tire shop to install a customers tire pressure sensors. There is plenty of competition where I live, tire stores will mount your used tire or new tires, they should be willing to install the tire pressure sensors. If the sensors turn out to be incompatible with the system they can charge you the labor twice to make it right.

To bring your water pump or brake pads to a mechanic is a little different.

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