Hyundai Sonata 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 Sonata, and how you can reset it.
The TPMS warning light illuminates in Hyundai Sonata 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 Sonata, 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 Sonata 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. These are official cold tire pressure values for 8th generation Sonata from Hyundai.
- 205/65 R16: 35 psi
- 215/55 R17: 35 psi
- 235/45 R18: 35 psi
- 245/40 R19: 35 psi
- T125/80 D16 (spare tire): 60 psi
- T135/80 D17 (spare tire): 60 psi
- T135/80 D18 (spare tire): 60 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. Hyundai Sonata 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 Sonata, 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 Sonata
Cold weather is one of the most common cause for low tire pressure warning light in Hyundai Sonata. 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 Sonata. 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 Sonata 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 Sonata 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 Sonata 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 Sonata with low tire pressure?
The driving characteristics of Sonata 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 Sonata 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 Sonata. 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 Sonata. 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 Sonata, 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.
Hyundai Sonata TPMS user guide
When the tire pressure monitoring system warning indicators are illuminated and the warning message is displayed on the cluster LCD display, one or more of your tires is significantly under-inflated. The LCD position indicator will indicate which tire is significantly under-inflated by illuminating the corresponding position light.
If any of your tire pressures are indicated as being low, immediately reduce your speed, avoid hard cornering, and anticipate increased stopping distances. You should stop and check your tires as soon as possible. Inflate the tires to the proper pressure as indicated on the vehicle’s placard or tire inflation pressure label located on the driver’s side center pillar outer panel.
If you cannot reach a service station or if the tire cannot hold the newly added air, replace the low pressure tire with the spare tire.
The Low Tire Pressure LCD position indicator will remain on and the TPMS Malfunction Indicator may blink for one minute and then remain illuminated until you have the low pressure tire repaired and replaced on the vehicle.
Note: The spare tire is not equipped with a tire pressure sensor.
TPMS Malfunction Indicator
The TPMS Malfunction Indicator will illuminate after it blinks for approximately one minute when there is a problem with the Tire Pressure Monitoring System. Have the system checked by an authorized HYUNDAI dealer as soon as possible. If there is a malfunction with the TPMS, the individual tire pressures in the cluster LCD display will not be available.
The TPMS Malfunction Indicator may illuminate after blinking for one minute if the vehicle is near electric power supply cables or radio transmitters such as police stations, government and public offices, broadcasting stations, military installations, airports, transmitting towers, etc.
Additionally, the TPMS Malfunction Indicator may illuminate if snow chains are used or electronic devices such as computers, chargers, remote starters, navigation, etc. This may interfere with normal operation of the TPMS.
Viewing tire pressure information
You can check the tire pressure in the Warning mode on the cluster. Tire pressure is displayed after a few minutes of driving after initial engine start up. If tire pressure is not displayed when the vehicle is stopped, “Drive to display” message will appear. After driving, check the tire pressure. The displayed tire pressure values may differ from those measured with a tire pressure gauge. You can change the tire pressure unit in the User Settings mode on the instrument cluster.
Changing a Tire with TPMS
If you have a flat tire, the Low Tire Pressure and LCD position indicator will come on. Have the flat tire repaired by an authorized HYUNDAI dealer as soon as possible or replace the flat tire with the spare tire.
The spare tire does not come with a tire pressure monitoring sensor. When the low pressure tire or the flat tire is replaced with the spare tire, the Low Tire Pressure LCD position indicator will remain on. Also, the TPMS Malfunction Indicator will illuminate after blinking for one minute if the vehicle is driven at speed above 15.5 mph (25 km/h) for approximately 20 minutes.
Once the original tire equipped with a tire pressure monitoring sensor is reinflated to the recommended pressure and reinstalled on the vehicle, the Low Tire Pressure LCD position indicator and TPMS Malfunction Indicator will go off within a few minutes of driving.
Each wheel is equipped with a tire pressure sensor mounted inside the tire behind the valve stem (except for the spare tire). You must use TPMS specific wheels. It is recommended that you always have your tires serviced by an authorized HYUNDAI dealer.
You may not be able identify a tire with low pressure by simply looking at it. Always use a good quality tire pressure gage to measure the tire’s inflation pressure. Please note that a tire that is hot (from being driven) will have a higher pressure measurement than a tire that is cold.
A cold tire means the vehicle has been sitting for 3 hours and driven for less than 1 mile (1.6 km) in that 3 hour period.
Allow the tire to cool before measuring the inflation pressure. Always be sure the tire is cold before inflating to the recommended pressure.
WARNING: Tampering with, modifying, or disabling the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) components may interfere with the system’s ability to warn the driver of low tire pressure conditions and/or TPMS malfunctions. Tampering with, modifying, or disabling the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) components may void the warranty for that portion of the vehicle.
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 Sonata. 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 Sonata, 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 Sonata?
No, the TPMS system is federally mandated, and cannot be disabled in Hyundai Sonata. All vehicles must have a working tire pressure monitoring system to be legally compliant.
Use OBD2 scanner for diagnosis
Since Hyundai Sonata 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.