There is some kind of funny warning light on my dashboard!?!
The tire warning indicator on your vehicle may look like the clam shell pictured or may even be a message that says “check tire pressure”. Realistically not many people actually have their own tire pressure gauge. Those quarter operated air pressure machines seem to be disappearing and never seem to work when you need them!
So now what?
The first thing is to not panic! Tire pressure warning systems are very sensitive and generally the indicator is on for a tire that is low on pressure and not actually flat. Start off by pulling over and just looking closely at each of your tires to see if they might be visibly sagging from low air pressure. If there are no obvious signs of a visibly low tire carefully proceed to the nearest place to have the tire properly inflated and inspected by a mechanic. If you want to work on the issue yourself here’s how: Start off by inflating the tire to the proper pressure as indicated on the door safety placard. DO NOT inflate to the pressure indicated on the side of the tire! This is the Maximum Allowable Tire Pressure. Next carefully inspect the tire tread and sidewalls for signs of puncture and or foreign materials. If no fault are found at this stage you will need to check for air leaks. The easiest way to do this with household tools is to make a solution of dish soap and water. Cover the tire with the soapy water solution and watch for air bubbles. The escaping air will create the bubbles indicating the leak! As long as the damage is within the tread section and one inch from the side wall of the tire it can be safely repaired. Any damage to the sidewall of the tire is not repairable and will require replacement of the tire. After your mechanic repairs the tire they will reset the warning system and you can move on with your day!
What if the tire is already flat?
If the tire warning light is on and you find that you do have a flat tire, do not drive on the flat tire. Driving on a underinflated tire can permanently damage the tire. Many cars still come with a spare tire or a tire sealer/inflator system. You can consult your owners manual to see which one you might have in your car. If you have a spare tire/inflator follow the instructions in the owners manual to safely change/inflate the tire and bring the flat tire in for a mechanic to inspect. If your vehicle is not equipped with a solution or you do not want the hassle contact roadside assistance. We have 24 hour service available at 215-355-8877.