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Old 11-10-2012, 10:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Oct 2012
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Default Check TPMS System

Howdy folks,

I am a new owner of a 2010 Insight, and three weeks into owning the car I have run into my first real issue: the "Check TPMS System" notification has come on.

I took the car to the dealership today where they told me that my tire pressure was in the 20s, and that that was what caused the light to come on. Now, I had a few problems with this. First of all, I had checked the pressure recently and it was reading normal at ~34. Their response to this was that I might have a bad/cheap pressure gauge, and that it had recently gotten colder. I bought this logic at the time.

However, the second problem I had with their explanation (and I never got a clear answer to this) is that according to the manual, the "Check TPMS System" notification comes on when their is a problem with the actual system: a sensor, battery, etc. They said that this message can also come on when you "drive too long with the low pressure indicator on". I informed them that the low pressure indicator didn't come on until the Check TPMS System message did, and that this is exactly what the owner's manual says will happen when there is something wrong with the TPMS system itself, as opposed to just riding around with low tire pressure.

They said that they didn't find any problems with the sensors, so they couldn't replace anything under warranty. I accepted this and was leaving (since they had cleared the code), when I noticed a bubble on the sidewall of one of my tires. I had them replace that tire with a brand new one, which they did at no cost since I've only had the car for 3 weeks.

On the way back home, the notification was initially off. The tires had been inflated to roughly 38-40psi (which the mechanic seemed to think was more appropriate than what Honda recommends..), except for the 1 new one that I checked and found to be at 34psi. However, after about 10 miles down the interstate, the Check TPMS System comes back on in the same fashion as the first time.

Does anyone have any experience with this or have any idea why it could be doing it? I don't fully trust my dealer's diagnosis of the problem. After the notice came back on, I adjusted all tires to 38psi to see if that would make any difference.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated!
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: Boston Area
Posts: 113
Default TPMS system is touchy

I believe you are right that the check TPMS system warning means one of the sensors is not reading. I had a slow leak in the tire valve, and the tire pressure symbol warning came on, not the check TPMS warning.

Problems with the TPMS are hard to diagnose. I had a TPMS sensor replaced after it was damaged during tire replacement by the tire serice mechanic. It was replaced FOC with an aftermarket unit and given the same ID as the damaged sensor, so the TPMS system was not reset as the sensor ID was not changed. At first everything was OK, but on the second time driving the car, the check TPMS warning came on. Tire pressure was fine and the warning stayed on for a few days, at which point I returned to the tire dealer. They said the new sensor was reading correctly, and said a different one was now not reading. After replacing the second sensor (this time with the Honda part), they demonstrated with a hand held unit the replaced sensor was not reading. This time the new sensor was not given the same ID and the TPMS system was reset. It is supposed to take a few minutes driving over 28 mph to sense the new sensor. The tire dealer drove the car for the required time, but the warning did not go off. At this point they gave up and told me to take it to a Honda dealer, not charging for the second replacement. I drove the car for 15 minutes, this time with the TPMS system blinking, beeping and showing the tire symbol, the warning did not go off, nor did it go off on a following trip to the dealer of about 10 minutes.

At the dealer, a hand held unit showed no reading on any sensor when used by the service desk guy. When the service tech started the car and test drove it, no warning game on, and all sensors, including the one that was replaced (which I still had) read correctly with a hand held unit. They also said that there were no internal stored 'codes' in the cars computer.

The warning light has now stayed off. All this goes to show that it seems to be hard to determine which, if any, sensor is not working. The hand held readers seems to be unreliable, or subject to operator error. The reset time of the TPMS system seems much longer than the manual states. I hope you have less hassle than I on getting the TPMS system fixed.
2010 EX Sky Blue since 11/2/09
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I had the alert for several months a month after using fix a flat. Was told it messed up a sensor. Got new tires and ebay sensors for 25 bucks each. Honda reset it, light came on 5 miles later. Honda said they needed the car for the whole day to check. I went to a pimp my ride type of store, they said all sensors read full battery life and signals are fine, they reset ecu and said my ecu maybe bad. I havent had any problems since. Honda charged 54 bucks that I disputed with my credit card company. THe tire store charged 23 bucks.

Yes, that message means there is a problem with the ecu or tire sensor, if your tire is low it will say low tire psi or something to that effect and beep twice constantly as you try to drive.
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Old 11-12-2012, 04:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
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One thing I've noticed is that sometimes in the process of checking tire pressures and topping them off to be at the correct pressures the tire valve will actually not seat properly and have a slow leak. I've seen this on a few of my vehicles, anytime I check pressures I always watch them for a day or two afterwards to see if any of the tires look like they are getting low. At this time I have 4 older vehicles none of which have TPMS but we're getting the wife a newer car early next year so I'm going to have to start dealing with this.

One other thing I've read on the sensors in the rims, they are easily damaged so who ever is changing the tire needs to be careful when doing it. Hmmm, have you ever seen these guys change tires???
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:23 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I noticed that on a wheel I had on a dolly. On the Honda, the Avid tires seem to stretch and need more air and the cold weather makes the air bubbles huddle closer together.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks, guys. I have another appointment this Saturday. We will see what happens...

Last edited by CloudVK; 11-12-2012 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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So I went back today and yes, it was a faulty sensor after all. They replaced it under warranty.

Thanks again for the tips.
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