What Does “Service Tire Monitor System” Mean?
What does “service tire monitor system” mean and what should you do if you get this warning? Read on to learn all about tire monitoring systems.
When you’re driving down the road in your low-mileage vehicle, you tend to believe you’re insulated from car problems. But even if you have your car serviced regularly, things happen.
So, it’s natural to feel a little panic when a warning comes up on your dashboard. Modern cars have monitors all over them, letting you know the precise problem in the car. Even then, we don’t always fully understand the message.
We all understand that the “check engine” light is a bad omen, and we need to stop and have the vehicle serviced as soon as possible, but what about the other messages? For example, what does “service tire monitor system” mean?
Do you need to get new tires? Do you have a tire that is just low? Do you need a new monitor?
Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and to understand more about tire monitor systems.
What Does “Service Tire Monitor System” Mean?
When your tire is low, the tire monitor system will kick in. A light will come on in the message center on your dashboard or an actual message will flash across the screen, telling you that you have a low tire. Some cars even will tell you how much pressure you have on each tire in the vehicle.
Typically, the light turns on if the tire is low and then will go off. However, if the light stays on, then you have a serious problem. This usually means the tires in question are 25 percent below the recommended amount of air pressure.
Sometimes your tires are just fine. Like all parts, monitors can wear out or just plain break. So, your tire monitoring system could be malfunctioning as well.
The tire pressure monitoring systems keep tabs on the air pressure in your tires with sensors. The sensors are typically inside the tire attached to the rim. Anything that goes through a rough ride like this sensor can eventually lose its effectiveness.
Why Tire Inflation Matters
When the tire monitor lights come on, check the inflation on your tire. Always keep a tire gauge with you so you can stop and check their inflation.
All tires have writing on the side of them to indicate what their inflation should be. So, look carefully at the tire first to determine the proper inflation amount. Then test the tire with your tire gauge.
If all your tires are properly inflated, you have a problem with the monitor and not with your tires.
If your tires are underinflated, put air in them as soon as possible. Do not neglect this simple step. Improperly inflated tires can cause all kinds of problems such as:
- Low fuel economy
- Decreased traction
- A flat tire
- A blowout
- Low load-carrying ability
Nothing good comes from poorly inflated tires. You put yourself, your passengers, and other drivers around you at risk when you drive on low tires.
When you properly inflate your tires, you decrease the chances of hydroplaning, increase your tire’s lifespan, and increase the overall efficiency of your vehicle. You make the most of what you have when you have properly inflated tires.
Do I Need New Tires?
If you find yourself regularly inflating your tires or checking their levels, you have a problem with your tires. You may need to fit your car with a new set of tires.
Your tires will ultimately tell you when it’s time to let them go. Here are a few basic signs.
- Falling air pressure: when your tire constantly is losing air pressure, you probably have a small leak somewhere. Either patch or replace the tire.
- Low tire tread: put a penny in the grooves between your tire tread with Lincoln’s head pointing down. If you can see the top of his head, you need new tires. The low tread will cause you safety issues, such as hydroplaning and low traction.
- Uneven tire tread: this results from misaligned wheels, damaged suspension, or improperly inflated tires. Regardless, you cannot fix it, and you need new tires.
- Vibrations and noise: worn suspension parts and poor wheel alignment will cause odd noises and vibrations. These problems can cause uneven tread wear, which means you need new tires.
- Bubbles: if you notice a bubble on the side of your tire, you have a product defect or air between the internal layers of the tire. You need a new tire.
- Cracked rubber: cracks indicate the rubber has degraded and you either have old tires or improperly used tires.
All these signs indicate you have a problem with your tires, and you need to replace them. You also could have a problem if you have old tires. Tire experts recommend replacing your tires every six years.
How Much Does It Cost to Get New Tires?
Tire costs range greatly depending on the type of tire you need. For example, if you need a low-end tire for a small car, you may spend as little as $50 per tire. But if you have a big truck and need some meaty tires, you can spend as much as $1,000 per tire. Here is the basic breakdown:
- Low-end tires cost between $50 and $150 each
- Mid-range tires cost between $150 and $300 each
- High-end tires cost between $350 and $1,000 each
These prices account for just the cost of the tire itself. When you have new tires installed, you will have to pay for balancing and installation as well. You may also have to pay a fee to have the installer take your old tires away if you don’t want to keep them.
Service Your Tires
Seeing a “service tire monitor system” message is no reason to panic, but you do need to respond to the message as quickly as you can.
You will either need to have your tires repaired or replaced, or you will have to have the monitor serviced. Once you take care of the issue, your vehicle will be running smoothly once again and you can drive with confidence down the road.
Do you need your vehicle serviced? We can help. Call us today at (402) 509-5722.