Tire Pressure Monitoring System Indicator Problem

Posted in the Toyota Highlander Forum

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Brent Muscoby

Acme, WA

#1 Aug 16, 2007
I brought my 2007 Toyota Highlander into the dealer for the recommended 8000 km (from Canada, obviously) service and maintenance.

Everything checked out okay. Imagine my surprise when I go to drive the vehicle and I get an indicator alarm I have never seen before (didn't know what a TPMS indicator was until this thing turned on). I was able to figure out what the TPMS indicator is and how to reset it (Owner's Manual). I have reset it a few times and it keeps coming on.

I did not check the tire pressures when I drove it from the dealership so I do not know what the pressures were on the spanking-new vehicle. But they are set at 30 psi currently. The recommendation is 30psi cold.

I do not want this indicator to be a nuisance indicator and I am taking it back to the dealer to document their fix to the issue. If it was anything but a new vehicle I'd spend more time dicking around myself. But I'm not chalking this up to coincidence and chasing red herrings because the timing is too exact to be anything but having originated from the service and maintenance they did on the vehicle. The report says tire pressure okay.

So here is my question.

How does the 2007 Toyota Highlander TPMS work? According to the manual it sounds like it is an indirect method. Other research on Toyota forums and the finger is pointing to indirect monitoring. I took a look at the valve stems and I don't see anything different than regular valve stems. Since this is my first experience with a TPMS I wouldn't have a clue as to what a direct monitoring system valve stem would look like, anyway, so I was hoping it would look "different." But the valve stems look pretty normal to me.

My guess is that with the warm temperature, the techs simply released air pressure until it read 30psi. All tires being equal and there shouldn't be a problem with the indicator.

So, the indicator must have something to do with reference to the spare tire which means it has to be a direct monitoring system.

And this leads to a follow-up question.

What would be an acceptable margin of error for tire pressure deviation be so that it won't alarm due to a difference in "being-used" tires versus the spare tire?

I don't want this indicator to be a nuisance alarm so I'd like to be able to establish an "operating window" for tire pressure to account for temperature change (where I live it is common to have huge daily temperature shifts, and black tires absorb heat, and heat up when driving - I imagine tire pressure shifts to be rather common).

Wouldn't a direct monitoring system also incorporate an indirect system to be able to eliminate discrepencies with the spare tire if all pressures with the "being-used" tires were okay?

Anyone have any thoughts?
Tyrguy

Eugene, OR

#2 Oct 26, 2007
Most likely your Highlander has a direct TPMS system. the valve stem will be a metal stem with a hex nut.

The valve stem contains a air pressure sensor that is inside the tire/wheel assembly.

The air pressure sensor measures the air pressure of the tire and sends a this measurement to the TPMS computer via a radio signal.

The TPMS computer then compares the signals from the 5 tires to the threshold limits.

The low threshold is about 20% below the recommended pressure. If your recommended pressure is 30 PSI, then the TPMS computer will light the TPMS low tire warning light if the pressure falls below about 24 PSI.

It is important to remember that the recommended pressure is a cold inflation pressure. You should check your tires when they are cold i.e. first thing in the morning.

The TPMS is there to insure that you do not drive on an underinflated tire that could lead to tire failure causing an accident.

Inflation pressure changes due to weather and driving conditions have been engineered into the tire. You should not have to worry about overinflation if you have properly inflated your tires when they are cold.

Hope this helps.
Johnny Most

Lexington, MA

#3 Jun 23, 2008
I have an 07 Highlander and the same thing plagued me when the dealer rotated the tires the first time. First, set the air pressure when cold to correct pressure as indicated on the door jamb sticker (30 psi I believe).

The owners manual does describe where the reset button is under the dash to turn off the warning light. With the engine ON, push and hold the button until the warning light goes out. What the owners manual does NOT tell you is that you then must then press the button AGAIN and you will see the light blink 3 times. Now the system has been reset.

I don't know if the 07 model is ABS based or has a sensor in the wheel - although I came across this thread because I am looking for the answer to that question myself.
MIKES AUTO REPAIR-MIKE

Copperopolis, CA

#4 Mar 31, 2009
tireguy-
2007 toyota highlander does not have a wheel sensor
in each wheel-
Barb

Rochester, NY

#5 Oct 17, 2009
I am so frustrated...my 2007 highlander limited's tire pressure sensor lighht went on after I purchased 4 new tires. I brought it back to Dunn Tire and they checked the air in all the tires including the spare and everything was fine. the light is still on and from what I understand it should be resetting itself (there is no reset button as the manual states)
Help!
Jeff

Norwalk, CT

#6 Nov 24, 2009
Barb,

I had this same problem with finding the reset button. I couldn't locate it until I went online and found a much better drawing than the owner's manual. The reset button is "WAY" below the steering wheel. I had to physically get out of the driver's seat and crouch under the dash to finally find it. Take a flashlight with you. Unless your Highlander is unlike most of the rest it will be there. Good luck.

Jeff
manny

AOL

#7 Dec 21, 2009
I was driving my 2004 highlaner limited and I notice the low tire indicator light is on. So what I did I pull over to the shell gasoline station and check my four tires. everything is fine. but the indcator light is still on. I call y mechanic and he told me to rest it. but I do not know how to reset. So he told me there is a black switch to reset which close to the steering wheel. I found it and start to reset it. The light went off, After ten minutes or so, the light came out again. I do not know waht to do. If I bring my highlander they will charge me a lot. I think I have to call the toyota customer service,to ask for help.
liner

Hicksville, NY

#8 Dec 22, 2009
manny wrote:
I was driving my 2004 highlaner limited and I notice the low tire indicator light is on. So what I did I pull over to the shell gasoline station and check my four tires. everything is fine. but the indcator light is still on. I call y mechanic and he told me to rest it. but I do not know how to reset. So he told me there is a black switch to reset which close to the steering wheel. I found it and start to reset it. The light went off, After ten minutes or so, the light came out again. I do not know waht to do. If I bring my highlander they will charge me a lot. I think I have to call the toyota customer service,to ask for help.
Check the pressure in your spare?
Mike Parrish

Dover, FL

#9 Jan 6, 2010
I was told the air pressure in the spare had no bearing on the problem. However- I am having the same ANNOYING problem. I pushed and held the button and the light went out. I then (as instructed) pushed and held it until the light flashed three times and it went out -- Well for about 6-weeks and now the light is back on. Tire pressure on the spare is good (I checked it just in case). Any ideas?
david1624

Sherwood Park, Canada

#10 Jan 24, 2010
Brent Muscoby wrote:
I brought my 2007 Toyota Highlander into the dealer for the recommended 8000 km (from Canada, obviously) service and maintenance.
Everything checked out okay. Imagine my surprise when I go to drive the vehicle and I get an indicator alarm I have never seen before (didn't know what a TPMS indicator was until this thing turned on). I was able to figure out what the TPMS indicator is and how to reset it (Owner's Manual). I have reset it a few times and it keeps coming on.
I did not check the tire pressures when I drove it from the dealership so I do not know what the pressures were on the spanking-new vehicle. But they are set at 30 psi currently. The recommendation is 30psi cold.
I do not want this indicator to be a nuisance indicator and I am taking it back to the dealer to document their fix to the issue. If it was anything but a new vehicle I'd spend more time dicking around myself. But I'm not chalking this up to coincidence and chasing red herrings because the timing is too exact to be anything but having originated from the service and maintenance they did on the vehicle. The report says tire pressure okay.
So here is my question.
How does the 2007 Toyota Highlander TPMS work? According to the manual it sounds like it is an indirect method. Other research on Toyota forums and the finger is pointing to indirect monitoring. I took a look at the valve stems and I don't see anything different than regular valve stems. Since this is my first experience with a TPMS I wouldn't have a clue as to what a direct monitoring system valve stem would look like, anyway, so I was hoping it would look "different." But the valve stems look pretty normal to me.
My guess is that with the warm temperature, the techs simply released air pressure until it read 30psi. All tires being equal and there shouldn't be a problem with the indicator.
So, the indicator must have something to do with reference to the spare tire which means it has to be a direct monitoring system.
And this leads to a follow-up question.
What would be an acceptable margin of error for tire pressure deviation be so that it won't alarm due to a difference in "being-used" tires versus the spare tire?
I don't want this indicator to be a nuisance alarm so I'd like to be able to establish an "operating window" for tire pressure to account for temperature change (where I live it is common to have huge daily temperature shifts, and black tires absorb heat, and heat up when driving - I imagine tire pressure shifts to be rather common).
Wouldn't a direct monitoring system also incorporate an indirect system to be able to eliminate discrepencies with the spare tire if all pressures with the "being-used" tires were okay?
Anyone have any thoughts?
I had the exact same problem and then read a post indicating that the spare tire often causes the problem. The tire pressure in my spare was low about 4 psi. Once I filled it up the warning light went out and everything is great now. Hope that this post helps everyone out there that is experiencing a similiar problem.
pat o

Mesa, AZ

#12 Aug 10, 2010
Thank you for the information. I've been back to Sears 4 times since getting the new tires. The low pressure indicator lights between 2 minutes and 50 miles after I press the reset button. I hope this does the trick. I have other problems with my '05 Highlander to deal with.
Independent

Bayville, NJ

#13 Aug 12, 2010
The person who had made the diagram showing the reset button should been smoking since there is absolutely no correlation between location of the reset button and the diagram on the auto catalog. Thanks for this web and help.
dpf

Allentown, PA

#14 Aug 17, 2010
my 05 highlander has same issues.
I got tired of reseting the warning light so now we just ignore it.
Proper maintenance includes routine pressure measurement and I have no problems.
This is a poor design.
Viking

Florissant, CO

#15 Sep 4, 2010
david1624 wrote:
<quoted text>
I had the exact same problem and then read a post indicating that the spare tire often causes the problem. The tire pressure in my spare was low about 4 psi. Once I filled it up the warning light went out and everything is great now. Hope that this post helps everyone out there that is experiencing a similiar problem.
The tpms light went on in my '07 Highlander a few miles after service (including pressure & rotation). Couldn't reset. After reading your post I checked the spare -- it was at 40psi while the other tires were at 30 psi. I reduced the pressure to 30 psi, and the light reset beautifully.

I had thought the car had direct tpms, since the valve stems are (or appear to be) rubber.

Whatever -- got an issue with the tpms? CHECK THE SPARE!! Yes, it is a hassle to get to, bubt it'll be worth the effort.
Edward Kim

Springfield, MO

#16 Sep 26, 2010
"On Toyota applications, the reset procedure is fairly straightforward, though it actually takes much longer to complete. Turn the key on (engine off), then press and hold the RESET button until the flashing TPMS warning light goes off. Or, if it is not flashing, hold the RESET button until the light flashes three times. Turn the key off. But the relearn procedure is not complete until the vehicle is driven at 19 mph or faster for at least an hour. You don’t have to do this, obviously, but your customer should be made aware of the fact that the TPMS reset procedure won’t be complete until the car has been driven awhile. During this time, the TPMS system may not be able to detect a low tire, so make sure all the tires have been inflated to the correct pressure before the vehicle leaves your shop. In our October issue, we’ll cover some reset procedures for direct TPMS systems."

If your car has a reset button/function then that means it is an indirect tpms.
Toyota Tire PressureLight

Debary, FL

#17 Nov 23, 2010
Ugh this is so frustrating to hear. I too have a toyota, not a highlander but a 2007 Camry. I have had the vehicle for less than 6 months and it has been in the shop 6 times for the same problem. They have changed the tired to 3 brand new sets and after 10 minutes, there goes the light again. Any ideas what to do ? Would this cause damage in any way to the vehicle or more annoying than anything?
pat o

Mesa, AZ

#18 Nov 24, 2010
Toyota Tire PressureLight wrote:
Ugh this is so frustrating to hear. I too have a toyota, not a highlander but a 2007 Camry. I have had the vehicle for less than 6 months and it has been in the shop 6 times for the same problem. They have changed the tired to 3 brand new sets and after 10 minutes, there goes the light again. Any ideas what to do ? Would this cause damage in any way to the vehicle or more annoying than anything?
I did wind up resetting the tire pressure indicator- I just don't remember how. I think you have to hold the button, release it and then hold it again for a few seconds. I'm sorry that I don't remember the exact details. The good news is that it was never really the tire pressure. I guess the bad news is that you never know if you do have a tire pressure problem.

This is my last toyota. I'm unhappy with the stupid little things that have gone wrong with my highlandder and the lack of concern by the dealership- owned by the way, by a neighbor.
Toyota Tire PressureLight

Debary, FL

#19 Nov 24, 2010
Thanks for the quick comment back, they have apparently reset it 3 times and changed out the tires ...the weird thing is that i am still losing lbs of pressure...im about to claim lemon if it goes in shop one more time!
Toyota IDIOT INDICATOR

Encinitas, CA

#20 Mar 3, 2011
Just bought a 2011 Camry SE and it's been in the shop 3 times for the tire pressure indicator light coming on for what Toyota claims as 'weather related' tire issue, so they have brainwashed me into the fact it there has been a major weather change and the light comes on don't worry about it.
Well it was 75 degrees on a beautiful Friday in San Diego and the next morning I went to a 5k walk and it was 39 degrees; the light came on on my way home [this will be the 3rd or 4th time] I ignore it as there was a major weather change and THIS TIME I HAD A FLAT AND BY TIME I REALIZED IT I DESTROYED THE TIRE. I am fighting Toyota now...I will not deal with every time the light comes on worrying if I have to stop on the freeway and check the tires. THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!!!!
Anyone out there having the same problem?
mandy

Debary, FL

#21 Mar 3, 2011
That stinks mine is still messed up ..my card is in mint condition xcept for that

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