Dodge Nitro is equipped with Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) for the purpose of warning the driver when one or more of the tires are significantly under-inflated, creating a potentially unsafe driving condition. In this article we discuss the reasons for the amber colored TPMS warning light in Nitro, and how you can reset it.
The TPMS warning light illuminates in Dodge Nitro when air pressure is low in one or more of the tires, battery has depleted in a pressure sensor, TPMS receiver module has malfunctioned, or a pressure sensor has been damaged.
Low tire pressure
When the amber colored TPMS warning light turns on in your Nitro, stop your vehicle when it is safe to do so and check tire pressure on all the wheels, including the spare wheel (if your vehicle has one). Driving on a significantly under-inflated tire causes the tire to overheat and can lead to tire failure.
Reinflate the tires
Reinflate all the tires of your Nitro to the manufacturer specified air pressure, which is mentioned on the vehicle placard or tire inflation pressure label usually located on the B-pillar or the edge of the driver door. If you can’t find the label, check the size of your tire which is mentioned on the sidewall of the tire, and match it to the tire pressure information shown below.
- P225/75R16 104S: 33 psi
- P235/65R17 103S: 33 psi
- P245/50R20 102S: 33 psi
Resetting the TPMS warning light
After you have inflated all the tires to the correct air pressure, the TPMS warning light will turn off automatically when the vehicle is driven for up to 20 minutes above 15 mph (24 km/h). Dodge Nitro uses the direct method for monitoring tire pressure, which means a pressure sensor actively records the internal pressure and air temperature of the tire on each wheel. There is no need to reinitialize the TPMS system in order to reset the warning light. There is no reset button like the one you see in vehicles with indirect TPMS system which uses ABS sensors to detect low tire pressure.
If the low tire pressure light does not turn off automatically after reinflating the tires in your Nitro, increase the tire pressure by 5 psi on top of the factory recommended value, and drive your vehicle for at least 10 miles (16 km). After the TPMS warning light turns off, and the vehicle has been parked for a few hours, reduce the tire pressure to the factory recommended value.
Chilly weather can turn on low tire pressure light in Nitro
Cold weather is one of the most common cause for low tire pressure warning light in Dodge Nitro. When analyzing WheelsJoint’s statistical data, it has been observed that there is sharp rise in the number of searches for TPMS warning light causes at the start of every winter season, about three times higher as compared to mid summer season.
The air, like most other substances, expands when heated and contracts when cooled. So when the weather gets colder, the tire pressure decreases, which could trigger TPMS warning light in Nitro. The tire pressure will vary with temperature by about 1 psi (7 kPa) for every 12°F (6.5°C).
Inflate tires when cold
Tire pressure in Nitro should always be set based on cold inflation tire pressure. This is defined as the tire pressure after the vehicle has not been driven for at least three hours, or driven less than 1 mile (1.6 km) after a three-hour period.
Do not adjust tire pressure when hot
The tires on your Nitro can get around 50 degrees hotter than the outside temperature when you’re driving, which increases the tire pressure by about 4 psi – this is normal and there should be no adjustment for this increased pressure.
Does altitude affect tire pressure?
Yes, altitude can change tire pressure values, but it is negligible and not a cause for concern. If you drive your Nitro from sea level to Mount Evans Scenic Byway in Colorado which is the highest paved road in North America at the altitude of 14,130 feet (4,307 m), the tire pressure should theoretically increase by approximately 6 psi. But, the decrease in ambient temperature at higher elevation contracts the air in tires and compensates for any altitude pressure changes.
Is it safe to drive Nitro with low tire pressure?
The driving characteristics of Nitro change even if the air pressure is 5 psi less than manufacturer’s recommended value: the braking distance can be longer, cornering worse, and at particularly high speeds there is even a risk that the tire will burst. Low tire pressure also increases tire wear, and the higher rolling resistance of the tire means higher fuel consumption. So it is recommended to reinflate the tires to the correct pressure as soon as possible.
Dead battery in a tire pressure sensor
Each tire pressure sensor in Nitro is powered by a built-in lithium-ion battery. When the battery is depleted, the sensor stops transmitting tire pressure information to the receiver module. When this happens, the TPMS warning light will flash every time the engine is started, and will remain illuminated until you turn off the vehicle.
How long do the pressure sensor batteries last?
The tire pressure sensor batteries usually last anywhere from 5 to 10 years in Nitro. When the battery is depleted, you must replace the sensor itself, as the battery is sealed into the sensor unit and is non-replaceable.
Identifying a faulty pressure sensor
The most reliable method for detecting a faulty tire pressure sensor or a sensor with dead battery is by testing each sensor with a scan tool. For example, MaxiTPMS TS408 is commonly used for diagnosing and programming tire pressure sensors. A sensor that is not detectable by the scanner is most likely defective and should be replaced with a new one.
If you don’t want to spend over a hundred bucks on a scanner, then head over to any reputable tire shop and perform a TPMS diagnostic scan of your Nitro. Some shops like Discount Tire and Pep Boys offer free of charge TPMS diagnostic services.
Installed new tires?
If a pressure sensor stopped responding after you installed new tires on your Nitro, it is possible the sensor got damaged during tire installation. These sensors are quite sensitive, and can be easily damaged if utmost care is not taken while changing tires.
Dodge Nitro TPMS user guide
The Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) will warn the driver of a low tire pressure based on the vehicle recommended cold placard pressure.
The TPMS will warn the driver of a low tire pressure if the tire pressure falls below the low-pressure warning limit for any reason, including low temperature effects and natural pressure loss through the tire.
The TPMS will continue to warn the driver of low tire pressure as long as the condition exists, and will not turn off until the tire pressure is at or above the recommended cold placard pressure. Once the low tire pressure warning (TPMS Warning Light) illuminates, you must increase the tire pressure to the recommended cold placard pressure in order for the TPMS Warning Light to turn off.
The system will automatically update and the TPMS Warning Light will turn off once the system receives the updated tire pressures. The vehicle may need to be driven for up to 20 minutes above 15 mph (24 km/h) in order for the TPMS to receive this information.
When filling warm tires, the tire pressure may need to be increased up to an additional 4 psi (28 kPa) above the recommended cold placard pressure in order to turn the TPMS Warning Light off.
For example, your vehicle may have a recommended cold (parked for more than three hours) placard pressure of 30 psi (207 kPa). If the ambient temperature is 68°F (20°C) and the measured tire pressure is 27 psi (186 kPa), a temperature drop to 20°F (-7°C) will decrease the tire pressure to approximately 23 psi (158 kPa). This tire pressure is sufficiently low enough to turn on the TPMS Warning Light. Driving the vehicle may cause the tire pressure to rise to approximately 27 psi (186 kPa), but the TPMS Warning Light will still be on. In this situation, the TPMS Warning Light will turn off only after the tires are inflated to the vehicle’s recommended cold placard pressure value.
The Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) uses wireless technology with wheel rim mounted electronic sensors to monitor tire pressure levels. Sensors, mounted to each wheel as part of the valve stem, transmit tire pressure readings to the receiver module.
- Receiver Module.
- Four Tire Pressure Monitoring Sensors.
- Tire Pressure Monitoring Telltale Light.
The matching full-size spare wheel and tire assembly (if equipped) has a tire pressure monitoring sensor. The matching full-size spare can be used in place of any of the four road tires. The TPMS will only monitor the pressure in the full-size spare when it is used in place of a road tire. Otherwise, a spare with a pressure below the low pressure limit will not cause the “Tire Pressure Monitoring Telltale Light” to illuminate or the chime to sound.
Tire Pressure Monitoring Low Pressure Warnings
The “Tire Pressure Monitoring Telltale Light” will illuminate in the instrument cluster and a chime will sound when tire pressure is low in one or more of the four active road tires. Should this occur, you should stop as soon as possible, check the inflation pressure of each tire on your vehicle, and inflate each tire to the vehicle’s recommended cold placard pressure value. Once the system receives the updated tire pressures, the system will automatically update and the “Tire Pressure Monitoring Telltale Light” will turn off. The vehicle may need to be driven for up to 20 minutes above 15 mph (24 km/h) in order for the TPMS to receive this information.
Check TPMS Warning
When a system fault is detected, the “Tire Pressure Monitoring Telltale Light” will flash on and off for 75 seconds and then remain on solid. The system fault will also sound a chime. If the ignition key is cycled, this sequence will repeat, providing the system fault still exists. The “Tire Pressure Monitoring Telltale Light” will turn off when the fault condition no longer exists. A system fault can occur due to any of the following:
- Jamming due to electronic devices or driving next to facilities emitting the same radio frequencies as the TPMS sensors.
- Installing some form of aftermarket window tinting that affects radio wave signals.
- Lots of snow or ice around the wheels or wheel housings.
- Using tire chains on the vehicle.
- Using wheels/tires not equipped with TPMS sensors.
Vehicles With Full-Size Spare
- The matching full-size spare wheel and tire assembly has a tire pressure monitoring sensor that can be monitored by the TPMS.
- If you install the full-size spare in place of a road tire that has a pressure below the low-pressure warning limit, a chime will sound and the “TPMS Telltale Light” will turn on upon the next ignition key cycle.
- Driving the vehicle for up to 20 minutes above 15 mph (24 km/h) will turn off the “TPMS Telltale Light,” as long as no tire pressure is below the low-pressure warning limit in any of the four active road tires.
Vehicles With Compact Spare
- The compact spare tire does not have a tire pressure monitoring sensor. Therefore, the TPMS will not monitor the pressure in the compact spare tire.
- If you install the compact spare tire in place of a road tire that has a pressure below the low-pressure warning limit, a chime will sound and the “TPMS Telltale Light” will turn on upon the next ignition key cycle.
- After driving the vehicle for up to 20 minutes above 15 mph (24 km/h), the “TPMS Telltale Light” will flash on and off for 75 seconds and then remain on solid.
- For each subsequent ignition key cycle, a chime will sound and the “TPMS Telltale Light” will flash on and off for 75 seconds and then remain on solid.
- Once you repair or replace the original road tire and reinstall it on the vehicle in place of the compact spare, the TPMS will update automatically and the “TPMS Telltale Light” will turn off, as long as no tire pressure is below the low-pressure warning limit in any of the four active road tires. The vehicle may need to be driven for up to 20 minutes above 15 mph (24 km/h) in order for the TPMS to receive this information.
- The TPMS has been optimized for the original equipment tires and wheels. TPMS pressures and warning have been established for the tire size equipped on your vehicle. Undesirable system operation or sensor damage may result when using replacement equipment that is not of the same size, type, and/or style. The TPMS sensor is not designed for use on aftermarket wheels and may contribute to a poor overall system performance or sensor damage. Customers are encouraged to use OEM wheels to ensure proper TPMS feature operation.
- Using aftermarket tire sealants may cause the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) sensor to become inoperable. After using an aftermarket tire sealant it is recommended that you take your vehicle to your authorized dealer to have your sensor function checked.
- After inspecting or adjusting the tire pressure always reinstall the valve stem cap. This will prevent moisture and dirt from entering the valve stem, which could damage the TPMS sensor.
- The TPMS is not intended to replace normal tire care and maintenance or to provide warning of a tire failure or condition.
- The TPMS should not be used as a tire pressure gauge while adjusting your tire pressure.
- Driving on a significantly underinflated tire causes the tire to overheat and can lead to tire failure. Underinflation also reduces fuel efficiency and tire tread life, and may affect the vehicle’s handling and stopping ability.
- The TPMS is not a substitute for proper tire maintenance, and it is the driver’s responsibility to maintain correct tire pressure using an accurate tire pressure gauge, even if underinflation has not reached the level to trigger illumination of the TPMS Warning Light.
- Seasonal temperature changes will affect tire pressure, and the TPMS will monitor the actual tire pressure in the tire.
Reset the entire system
If the low tire pressure warning light won’t turn off due to a glitch in the tire pressure monitoring system, it may be possible to reset the TPMS system by resetting all on-board computers in your Nitro. This method should only be considered as a last resort, when all else fails.
You can reboot all the on-board computers by disconnecting the main 12 volt battery for a few minutes. Remove the cable from the negative terminal of the battery first, then from the positive terminal. With the battery disconnected, press the horn button a few times and turn on the headlights to drain out all the residual electricity from the system. After about 15 minutes, reconnect the battery in reverse order: positive cable first, then negative cable.
Tire pressure keeps getting low
If the TPMS warning light turns on frequently in your Nitro, and the tire pressure is also decreasing after you have reinflated the tires, there may be an air leak. One or more of the tires may have been punctured by an external object, or the air may be leaking from a defective value stem.
Can I disable the TPMS system in Nitro?
No, the TPMS system is federally mandated, and cannot be disabled in Dodge Nitro. All vehicles must have a working tire pressure monitoring system to be legally compliant.
Use OBD2 scanner for diagnosis
Since Dodge Nitro is equipped with on-board diagnostics (OBD), a fault diagnosis can provide initial indications of where the malfunction is located. But when it comes to TPMS, a basic code reader will not suffice. You will need an advanced scanner to monitor TPMS data or read TPMS codes.
BlueDriver is a commonly used scanner by DIYers that can read TPMS codes for most vehicles and isn’t too expensive – costs about a hundred bucks. You can also clear the TPMS fault codes with this device which will turn off the warning light, but the light may come back on if the on-board diagnostic system detects a fault again.