Why does my tire pressure light come on and off?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader confused by a dashboard light that won't quit.

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Q. I have a 2012 Honda Civic with a little over 16,000 miles. A few months ago, a “check tire pressure” message appeared on the dashboard. I took the car to the dealership. A mechanic said the pressure was fine, but the same message kept popping up. I took the car to a service station and was again told the pressure was fine. Now, the same notification appears when I turn on the ignition. Now what? 

A. If the tire pressure is correct when it’s checked with a gauge, the fault is with the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). The next step would be to test the sensors and the system functionality. If everything looks OK, then disconnect the TPMS control unit. If the light goes out, then check the wiring, and if necessary, replace the module.

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. Email your car question to jpaul@aaanortheast.com.