The Nissan Altima features a tire pressure monitoring system or in shortform (TPMS) that monitors the air pressure in your tires.
The tire pressure warning light on your Altima’s dashboard alerts you when one or more of your tires are significantly underinflated.
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Definition of Tire Pressure Warning Light
When the tire pressure warning light comes on, it means the air pressure in one or more of your Altima’s tires has dropped down to 25% or in some cases more below the recommended cold tire inflation pressure.
Several things that can cause the light to illuminate:
Low Tire Pressure
The most common reason for the warning light is that one or more tires are low on air pressure.
Reasons for decreased air pressure includes:
- A puncture from a nail or other road debris
- A small leak from a tire valve or the tire itself
- Natural loss of pressure over time
- Sometimes, the light is due to a malfunctioning tire pressure sensor in your vehicle rather than an actual problem with tire pressure.
- This is because the sensors have batteries that deplete over time by resulting in a false reading.
Cold vs. Hot Tires
- The TPMS monitors the cold tire pressure.
- After driving for a while, your tire pressure is often higher than cold pressure readings due to these tires being under the heating condition.
- Then the system takes this into account and doesn’t see warm tires as underinflated.
- However, if you inflate your tires when they’re warm to the recommended pressures listed on your door jamb sticker, the pressures may drop below those numbers when it’s cold by causing the warning lights to activate.
Steps That You Can Take When the Light Comes On
If the tire pressure warning light illuminates, you should:
Pull Over and Inspect
- The first step is to safely pull over at your earliest convenience and inspect all four tires for any visible damage or debris that might have stuck in the treads.
Check the Pressure with a Gauge
- Use a genuine tire pressure gauge to check the pressure in each tire. Don’t forget to include the spare if your Altima has a full-size one available.
- Compare the measurements to the recommended cold pressure that is listed on the sticker inside your driver’s side door jamb.
- This is usually around 33-35 PSI.
Inflate Tires If Needed
- If any tire is lower than the recommendation, use an air compressor to inflate it to the proper PSI.
- This may turn off the TPMS light if it was triggered by an underinflated tire.
Reevaluate and Reset
- Drive for a short distance to allow the TPMS system to remeasure your updated tire pressures.
- If the light remains on, the system may need to be reset with the proper relearn procedure (in your owner’s manual).
- If it continues to stay on, have your Nissan dealer to inspect the sensors.
Importance of the Proper Tire Pressure
There are a few key reasons why maintaining the recommended tire pressures on your Altima is critical:
Handling Performances and Control
- Properly inflated tires provide better stability, steering responsiveness, traction, and braking performances.
- A low tire pressure in your vehicle can create more rolling resistance on the road by forcing the engine to work harder by decreasing or reducing your Altima’s fuel economy.
- This can cost you money at the gas pump over time.
Wear and Tear
- Under-inflated tires will exhibit faster and more uneven tread wear.
- Remember that the middle of the tread ends up bearing more pressure and wears out faster than the rest.
- It is noteworthy to mention that uneven tire wear shortens the usable life of your tires.
FAQs About Nissan Altima Tire Pressure Warning Light
Q: Does the light indicate which tire is low?
A: No, on Altima models, the light simply indicates that one or more tires are 25% or lower than the recommended pressure. You need to personally check each tire with a gauge to see which one(s) are underinflated.
Q: Can I still drive with the warning light on?
A: You can drive a short distance to a safe location in order to check your tire pressures and inflate as needed.