What Are Low Tire Pressure Causes and Solutions?

According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are around 11,000 tire-related vehicle crashes every single year. Most of these crashes are a result of poorly inflated tires. Aside from your safety and that of other road users, low tire pressure causes more maintenance, repairs, poor gas mileage, and much more.

Properly inflating your tires is essential for smooth and seamless driving experiences. In this article, I’ll explain why low tire pressure light appears on the dashboard and the best solutions. By the time you get to the end, you’ll know what causes low tire pressure and how to fix each problem.

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Low tire pressure causes

The common causes of low tire pressure are faulty valve stems, bent wheels or rims, poor seal on tire bead, tread puncture, temperature changes, low tire pressure, defective TPMS sensors, and bad tires.

Let’s look at these possible causes in-depth to see how they affect tire pressures.

Bad valve stems

Due to road salts and chemicals, tire valves can weaken after some period. Over time, there will be brittle or thin areas around the tire, which will cause slow pressure leaks. Most times, pressure leaks from the valve stem occur on all four tires. This makes it easy to diagnose.

Bent wheels or rims

Another common cause of low tire pressure is bent wheels or rims. Check the wheels if you are experiencing a slow pressure drop or other wheel issues. It could be you have a bent wheel or rim. If the rim or wheel is bent or damaged, it’ll allow slow tire pressure drop. Aside from the leaks, bent wheels will create severe tires issues if ignored.

Tread puncture

Some nasties on the road can puncture your car tire. One of these nasties is nails or screws. Tires kick up nails and cause tread punctures. This is quite common.

When car tires pick nails on the road, it often seems like the tire is not leaking. But that’s not true. Nail in tires causes gradual leaks as you hurdle down the road. You may be wondering, is 25 tire pressure too low? The recommended tire pressure is between 32 and 35 PSI. 28 is the minimum you should go. Luckily, nails in tires are pretty straightforward and affordable to fix.

Poor seal on tire bead

If corrosion exists on the tire beads, it’ll eventually affect the sealant on the tire beads. Generally, poor seals on the tire beads are caused by rusted or corroded rims, bent wheels, improper installation, deteriorated rubber, or dirt trapped in the seal.

Thankfully, poor seals on tire beads are easy to diagnose. The visible signs of a poor tire bead sealant are ‘bead chaffing’ and ‘bead chunking.’ Bead chafing means obvious or accelerated wear on the part of the tire that rests on the flange, while bead chunking means a missing portion or small, raised pimples on the ridge where the rim and the tire seats.

Temperature changes

Oh yeah, temperature changes affect car tire pressure. It can also trigger the low tire pressure light on the dashboard. When the outside temperature is too high, the air density in the tire increases and decreases when the ambient temperature is low.

This means that you’ll experience low tire pressures in colder months. On the other hand, high ambient temperatures will help boost the tire pressure. This is okay as far as it does not overinflate the tires. While driving with low tire pressure is bad, driving with high pressure also has drawbacks.

Underinflated tires

Under perfect conditions, tire pressure goes down over time and needs to be refilled. When this happens, the tire monitoring system will trigger the tire pressure light on the dashboard to notify the driver that it’s time to fill the tires. If this is the case, you only need to add air to the tires.

Defective TPMS

Imagine after refilling the tires, fixing any damage or replacing the tires entirely, and resetting the tire pressure monitor system, the low tire pressure warning light is still on the dashboard. This will be a frustrating and unnerving situation, right? So if you are asking, why is my tire pressure light still on after filling tires? You likely have a damaged or faulty TPMS sensor.

Old or bad tires

When tires become bad or get to the end of their shelf life, they won’t maintain proper air pressure as usual. If your tires are old, bad, or have gone below the tire tread depth, they will be prone to gradual air leaks. If you start noticing this gradual leak, it’s time to replace the tires.

If you are now wondering, I have low tire pressure; what to do? Stick with me to the next section.

Low tire pressure Fixes

You have seen that different factors can trigger the low tire pressure warning light on the dashboard. So, there are several ways to fix low-pressure issues.

Tire refill

As explained earlier, temperature changes can affect the tire pressure. The tires can also lose air under perfect conditions. So, the only solution to either of these causes is to refill the tires. However, you should be cautious when inflating the tires to avoid overinflation. Overinflating and underinflating tires will lead to flat tires.

Repair tire puncture

Walk around the tires and check if they have picked any nails or screws. You can remove the logged nails and patch the tires if you know how. If not, drive to a nearby tire service center. The technicians will remove the logged screws or nails, repair the affected areas, and refill the tires to the appropriate air levels.

Rim repair

If you have a bent wheel or rim, get a rim service. The technician will straighten the rim if it is bent or damaged. He’ll also examine the tire beads and sealants and proffer the best solutions.

Replace worn or bad tires

If the tires are worn out or bad, replace them with new tires from a quality brand. You can either buy the tires yourself and visit a tire service center or buy the tires from the service centers and have them replaced. Most tire service centers will mount the tires for free if you get it from them.

However, you need to check and compare prices before buying from centers that offer free installation. Their tires are usually costlier than the normal price.

Final Words

You have seen the low tire pressure causes and how to fix the problem. Keep in mind, the tire is the only part of the vehicle that makes contact with the road. Hence, it should always be in good condition. It’s essential to address the problem or visit a tire service center for diagnosis once you notice frequent tire pressure drops to avoid complications on the road.



While growing up, I knew I had a thing for car repairs though my parents never wanted me to learn mechanics. I always visit a mechanic garage in my small neighborhood after school. As I grew older, at age 16, I got addicted to anything automotive. My parents had to enroll me in that mechanic garage since giving up was never an option for me. As a dedicated mechanic who got into the industry from an early age, I'm graced with an addiction to diagnosing and rectifying automotive problems with ease.

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