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Why The Tire Pressure Monitoring System Light In Your Honda CR-V Is On and How To Make It Go Out

If you have a Honda CR-V with the low tire pressure warning light on, here is what to do and why it came on.
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Tire pressure monitoring systems are the law in America. This is not a feature that Honda installs as a feature on just some trims. For more than a decade, Honda has been installing systems and they have been driving some Honda CR-V owners crazy. They certainly do help let you know if a tire is deflated. However, in many cases, these systems can be an annoyance.

Here are the reasons that your Honda CR-V has a “Tire Pressure Monitoring System” alert. We will refer to it as “TPMS” from here forward. Before we begin, if your TPMS system warning light is on now, immediately check your tire pressure. Some vehicles can display the pressure in the information display. If your CR-V doesn’t, use a tire pressure gauge to check the pressures. The correct setpoints for your Honda CR-V are listed on the driver’s door. Do not drive your CR-V with the TPMS light on without verifying that the tires have proper air pressure.

CR-V Tire Pressure Warning - Temperatures Have Dropped
If seasonal temperatures are dropping and your TPMS warning light is illuminated, the reason is most likely due to the temperature difference between when the pressure was last set and the current temperatures. The pressure inside of a tire drops with temperature. You need to reset the tire pressure in early winter and also early summer. The air didn’t leak out of your tires. It simply became lower in pressure as the temperatures dropped. This happens to all tires, in all vehicles, regardless of which gas is inside of them (air or nitrogen).

If you find that the pressure inside your tires is lower than the setpoint, top them off to the correct pressure. The TPMS light should go out shortly after you set the pressures to the proper level. If just one tire is lower than the rest by more than around 30%, have a tire technician investigate.

CR-V Tire Pressure Warning - You Have a Flat Or More Than One Flat
The reason you have a tire pressure monitoring system in yourCR-V is to detect a flat tire. Or more than one flat tire. If the light comes on while you are driving, this is the likely reason for it. Pull off the road to a safe area as quickly as you safely can to investigate. A quick visual inspection is not enough. Use a tire gauge to check the pressure in all four tires. If you have a flat, refer to the CR-V’s’ owner’s manual (see below) on what to do.

CR-V Tire Pressure Warning - TPMS System Failure
Our initial reaction when a warning light comes on is to hope it is just a mistake. The TPMS system in your CR-V may have a problem, but it is unlikely. Yes, every person who has a problem with the tire pressure system in any vehicle quickly goes to every Facebook forum to report it (angrily). However, the Honda CR-V is not a vehicle that struggles with the TPMS system more so than others.

If you have verified that the pressure in your tires is correct using a tire gauge, and the TPMS system is displaying a warning, ask a mechanic for help. You don’t have to go to a Honda dealer, but if your CR-V is under the initial new vehicle warranty, that would certainly make sense.

Like any system in your CR-V, age and damage can cause a problem with the TPMS system. Individual sensors in the tires can be replaced, but the system will still need to be re-initialized. We suggest that this job is best done by a mechanic or tire professional who understands the system and can handle the work, but you can a try at it with the manual.

CR-V Tire Pressure Warning - Tire Sealants
Emergency tire sealants like Fix-A -Flat, or Slime may cause your TPMS sensor to malfunction. This does not mean that the sensor is now destroyed. Here is what the Fix-A-Flat brand says about TPMS sensors and its product: “Fix-a-Flat is tire sensor safe. After the qualified tire repair professional has repaired your tire, they should clean the TPMS device with water to remove any sealant that may have come into contact with the device. After the repaired tire is replaced and inflated, the TPMS system can be reset and will resume operating as normal.”

CR-V Tire Pressure Warning - New Tire Or New Tires

If you buy new tires for your CR-V and immediately get a tire pressure warning light, check the pressure. Mistakes can happen. Flats sometimes happen driving out of a tire shop parking lot. If you have checked the pressure and it is properly set, return to the tire shop and let them know that the CR-V’s TPWS system has indicated a problem. If the shop changed the valve stems in the tires, the system may need to be re-initialized.

Be aware that some TPMS systems are sensitive to tire sizes. You should only use the exact size of tire your CR-V came with. If you have mounted aftermarket wheels or a different size tire, the retailer who did the work should be able to explain to you how they will resolve the TPMS system errors.

CR-V Tire Pressure Warning - Nitrogen Is Unnecessary
There are some dealers and shops that suggest nitrogen as a solution to a TPMS problem in a CR-V. The claims that these advocates of nitrogen for tires make are unfounded by science (the author’s degree is in mechanical engineering).

Furthermore, your Honda CR-V was designed to work perfectly fine using compressed air. Does inflating an underinflated tire with nitrogen cause the TPMS light to go out? Of course it might. Just as inflating the tire with compressed air will do. If you wish to spend money on nitrogen, that is your call. Just know that the CR-V doesn’t need it.

A TPMS system alert is always an annoyance, but for the most part, it is a feature that is intended to help us in case a dangerous situation develops. Add air to your CR-V’s tires when temperatures begin to drop in early winter. Reset the pressures again in early summer. These are the best two habits you can have to avoid TPMS issues in your CR-V.

Resources:
Honda CR-V Owner's Manual Link

CR-V Tire Pressure Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How do you reset the TPMS light on a CR-V?
A: Use the owners manual link at the bottom of the story to find your CR-V’s year and instructions. Follow them, but be aware that resting the system may not solve the underlying issue.
Q: Can the TPMS be in the CR-V turned off?
It cannot be turned off. It can be reset.
Q: Is it dangerous to drive with the tire pressure light on?
A: Yes, driving without knowing why the light is on is dangerous until you have checked the pressure with a tire pressure gauge to verify that the pressures are correctly set.

John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. Following his engineering program, John also completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin

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Comments

I am running my winter wheels on my 2015 crv None have sensers yet the warning light came on. What would cause this?