Can You Drive With a Bad TPMS Sensor?

Car owners may sometimes overlook car sensors, but they are very important in helping drivers maintain the vehicle’s overall performance. A tire pressure monitoring system is an important sensor that records a car’s tire pressure. Did you know that some 11,000 accidents occur every year due to bad tires, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Drive with a Bad TPMS sensor

This article is about the importance of TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) in your car. After reading this article, you’ll learn how to tell if TPMS is bad, the common problems with TPMS, and if you can drive with a bad TPMS.

1. Can you drive with a bad TPMS sensor

If the TPMS is faulty, you can still drive the car. However, it would not be safe for you or your tires. TPMS alerts drivers when tire pressure becomes too low or too high. As discussed earlier, without a working TPMS, you will not be warned of low tire pressure, which increases the risk of tire blowouts and accidents. Moreover, tires with too much pressure will wear out faster than usual and may even fail prematurely.

If your car doesn’t have TPMS, check each tire regularly with a gauge at least once every month or two (or sooner if there’s any damage). That way, you’ll know if something is going wrong before it becomes dangerous. You can also easily install retrofit kits if your car doesn’t have a TPMS system. They work the same as the factory-installed versions and are usually available at local auto parts stores or online. 

2. Are TPMS sensors necessary?

Yes, a tire pressure sensor is necessary since it warns you when your tire pressure is too low, which should not be underestimated for your safety. A car’s handling, hauling capacity, and tire performance depend on proper tire inflation. A properly inflated tire will roll more efficiently for maximum fuel economy. It can also minimize tread movement for longer tire life and promote water dispersion to lessen the risk of hydroplaning

Low tire pressure can hasten tire failure by causing the tires to wear out too quickly or unevenly. An underinflated tire will turn slowly, reducing fuel efficiency and generating more heat. Whereas high tire pressure, or overinflated tires, won’t be able to absorb road impact adequately and will quickly wear down the middle of the tread. Any of these problems might cause the tire to fail and blow out, perhaps resulting in you losing control of the car.

3. How to tell which TPMS sensor is bad?

Using a scan tool, you can tell which tire pressure monitoring sensor (TPMS) is bad. You can also use a tire pressure gauge to compare the readings, fill tires with air, release and see any changes, and visually inspect TPMS.

Step 1: Check TPMS with the OBD2 scanner

The first step is to check the TPMS system with an OBD2 scanner. This will tell you if there is any code stored for the TPMS system. If there are no codes stored for the TPMS system, then it is likely that one of the sensors has failed or has become disconnected from its wiring harness. The relearn procedure clears TPMS diagnostic fault codes and allows the vehicle’s TPMS system to function properly.

Heres a helpful video to show you how:

Step 2: Check TPMS with a pressure gauge

Next, check the pressure in each tire with a pressure gauge to see if any of them are low or high compared to the other tires on that axle. If all four tires are low or high by an equal amount, this may indicate that one of your wheels has lost air or that there is a leak in your vehicle’s hydraulic brake system, causing low brake fluid levels in all four wheels. However, if only one tire is low or high, this may indicate that one of your TPMS sensors has failed or become disconnected from its wiring harness.

Step 3: Visually inspect the TPMS sensors

This next might be difficult unless you bring your car to a shop. TPMS are installed in the rims you will need to look at the rims of your tires. You should be able to find two small metal tabs on each sensor which are used to connect the wires from each sensor to its wiring harness. If these tabs are broken or missing, this may indicate that one of your TPMS sensors has failed or disconnected from its wiring harness.

4. How much does it cost to replace TPMS sensors?

On average, the cost of repairing a tire pressure sensor ranges from $50 to $100. For all four sensors, the budget is $150 to $450 altogether. The cost for tire pressure sensors ranges from $30 to $50. Tire labor prices range from $10 to $20 each. It is advisable to weigh your options with the several technicians in your neighborhood before deciding to replace your tire pressure sensor. 


Driving with a bad TPMS sensor or not having it poses serious risks to your safety and vehicle safety. Instead of driving with a bad sensor, have it checked immediately. It doesn’t cost much to fix a TPMS sensor; later on, you will be thankful you did something about it.

We hope this article answers your question on driving with bad TPMS sensors. And if you like this one, you might be interested in “How Long Can You Drive a Car With a Bad Speed Sensor?

Leave a Comment