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Q: The message center in my dashboard keeps saying "TIRE PRESSURE SENSOR FAULT".

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The message center keeps telling me "TIRE PRESSURE SENSOR FAULT". It has only happened twice, when I am driving at night and the temperature outside has been in the 20's or below. Is this the cold that is cause the sensor to read the tire as having low pressure or is there something wrong with the sensor? Is it dangerous to be driving while it is saying this?

My car has 83600 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hello There, Unfortunately, this is a tough battle when it comes to the tire pressure monitor sensors and large fluctuations in weather temperatures. For every 10° drop in air temperature outside your tires will lose about 1% in PSI or inflation. As you may know, as the temperature of the air changes the density of the air changes as well causing the tire pressure to be impacted by this. When this happens, the sensors in the wheels will detect this change in tire pressure and cause the tire pressure light to come on. Aside from replacing faulty tire pressure sensors, another way to help prevent this type of fluctuation in tire pressure is by the use of Nitrogen in your tires rather than regular air. As you may know, air is approximately 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen and the rest is water vapor and some other small concentrations of gases. Nitrogen is much less likely to migrate through tire rubber than oxygen. This will maintain your tire pressure much more consistently during large temperature fluctuations. I would recommend keeping a small tire pressure gauge in your car to use to check tire pressure as needed. Generally, the car is safe to drive assuming there is not a large drop in tire pressure (+/- 3-5 psi), however you will want to be sure to keep up on this as tire pressure can be critical when driving at highway speeds relative to steering ability and overall control of the vehicle.

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