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TPMS issue

12228 Views 47 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  ianjay
Got my Volt a few months ago. Had to have rotors and brakes worked on as mentioned in another post, and all has been good since then. I did, though, have a recent alignment done and two new tires purchased. I had the old tires moved to the front and new tires installed in the back since I had put about 5000 miles on my car since it was purchased.

On my front driver side tire, my TPMS tells me, from time to time, there is a problem. It will last for a while (10-15 min of drive time). TPMS has been relearned by local chevy dealer (and when they looked at the tires, they could find no problems with TPMS), and pressure is ok..The sensor shows that this tire has a problem (I'm assuming with low tire pressure), but readings from gauge/digital pump shows everything is ok.

What are possible causes? I'm only familiar with cars that tell you a tire is low, but my Volt measures pressure for each tire. This has happened for about two weeks. Tire warning light goes on. I measure pressure. Tire pressure is ok. Warning light goes off after a few more minutes of driving.
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TPMS Is a good system but never perfect. My first experience with TPMS was in a rental 2009 Chevy Impala in Orlando, Florida. (Enterprise), in January 2009. The following day after I rented the Impala, the left rear tire gave a warniing on the DIC (26 PSI), while the other three were at 31 PSI. I have no air pump, so I visited a local Walmart and bought a cheap 12VDC air pump and a mechanical tire gauge. When I measured that tire, its pressure was 29 PSI, so I used to pump to increase its PSI to 31. The gauge measured 31 PSI in all four tires. But the DIC still had the 26 PSI reading.

When I returned the Impala after the week, I reported the problem to Enterprise because the next rentee will probably have the same issue. Now I have a 2009 Chevy Equinox, and the TPMS reports all tires one or two units below the mechanical gauge PSI readings. So I don't trust the DIC readings 100%. I prefer to go "old school" (as posted above) and manually measure the tire pressures, but I do use the Equinox DIC as a warning when the TPMS PSI reading drop below 30 PSI.

I have also seen and read about the Ford system. Their TPMS PSI readings are taken by the BCM but stored, and the DIC only reports the "low pressure" warning when the TPMS reading drops below a specific level. It doesn't report the actual TPMS PSI reading, nor give you which tire! A Ford owner must carry the gauge to find which tire has the low pressure (The new Ford cars do come with air pumps in the trunk, just as new GM cars do).

So the GM TPMS is more user friendly, but I will never trust their readings completely.
Thanks for the replies. I do have a tire pump that reads pressure digitally that I keep in the car, and I just purchased a digital gauge. When sensor is functioning, the reading is correct. Both sensor and gauge agree as to the air pressure in the tire. When it is not functioning, no pressure reading is given. I will keep a close eye on the issue and if it isn't resolved I'll take it back to my local dealer.
Hello mrp10000 ,

Have you have the opportunity to reach out to your dealership and have them check on the TPMS in your vehicle? If not, I can reach out to them on your behalf to get you scheduled for a diagnostic appoint, and assist during any potential repairs/service. If this is something I can do for you, please feel free to send me a private message.

Amber G.
Chevrolet Customer Care
Thanks for the reply. I have a wonderful Chevy dealer in my area. Right now, the situation seems to have been resolved. I will continue to monitor and provide updates.
Went one day with no issues, and now the problem is back. I'll keep a close eye on the tire and utilize my OCD. I'll take it to my dealer when I get the chance next week.
update: after having the issue "come and go," and after having the TPMS relearned a couple of times, I finally had a new sensor installed on the tire that was reading two dashes. So far, no issues since the replacement sensor was installed.
I have used a camera running off the power port in the dash. But even with this unplugged, the right rear sensor comes and goes. My wife sometimes has her iphone plugged in, but only for power when she uses when using the wifi. Could be the iphone although this has been a problem we've had since before the wifi upgrade.On a 80 km trip, it may function on and off three or four times. The annoying thing is that I know the pressure is ok but it kind of takes over the dash display.
Funny you should mention that. Now my right rear tire sensor comes and goes. Right now I'm just keeping an eye on it. When it does read, it reads correctly. It will flame out a few minutes at a time on any trip more than twenty minutes and then all will be ok. Annoying to be sure, but I'm just going to monitor it for now.
The right rear does exactly as you say. I too am just going to keep an eye on it. It is annoying. I guess I could try rotating the RR to another position. But it is just too cold right now. I still haven't put the snows on since I will be going to Florida soon.
Had the right rear tire pressure monitor problems for 45 minutes, then two for two minutes the indicator light told me there was a problem (couldn't have been, the sensor was new!). After two minutes or so, the indicator began reading the tire pressure again. To be continued...
So when you are saying the tire has a problem, is it showing a lower pressure number on the dash, or does it just show double dashes where the tire should be showing pressure? Also curious is that in your first post you reported front driver side, and now you mention right rear. Did the problem tire get moved in a tire rotation?
I may have forgot to mention...I got the front driver tire fixed (had the sensor replaced, and have had not trouble since). Shortly after, the passenger rear sensor started going in and out, reading two dashes when it wasn't working, and reading correctly when it was working. On my return trip home after having the sensor replaced in rear passenger tire, the two dashes displayed once again, but only for a couple of minutes. To complicate matters, one other tire (passenger front) did the same thing a while back, but only for two minutes, and then never again.

Problems in this order: Front driver tire: two dashes, on and off. Front driver tire sensor replaced and no more issues (fixed a few weeks ago).

Rear passenger tire: two dashes on and off. Read correct pressure when working. (once, when rear sensor was displaying two dashes, front passenger tire did the same thing for about two minutes, but then read correctly, and never gave another problem). Rear tire came and went, and I got this one fixed today. On the return trip home, saw two dashes for about two minutes, and then all was good. I haven't had time to see if this is a one time thing ( I arrived home and the pressure was reading correctly). I will monitor to see if this problem will continue to come and go (if it does, I'll have the sensor looked at again).

My apologies for not being more clear and through on what the issues were regarding sensor failure.
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I suspect you are seeing interference from some other electronic device. Many others have mentioned this as an issue.

TPMS sensors do go bad occasionally , and the batteries will fail as they age (usually 7-8 years), but intermittent sensor problems are very unusual - external interference is much more likely to be the culprit. We have a TPMS tool that can display the battery life of the sensor, I haven't tried it on my Volt's sensors yet but a good shop should have a similar tool.
So frustrating. The new sensor is coming and going. The latest: new sensor installed on rear passenger side a few days ago, two dashes showing up after driving 30 ish miles on new sensor. Two dashes also made an appearance on other rear tire. The new sensor (rear passenger) eventually started reading tire pressure. Went to Sears Auto and had tires relearned on car. Drove 30 ish miles and new sensor (rear passenger) acts up again (two dashes).

I had a front tire (driver) sensor installed and it has worked flawlessly since installed. I am waiting on the other rear tire to get flaky again. I'm thinking something must be wrong on the Volt side of things for this to keep happening.

I tried to chat with a Volt advisor, but the chat window kept telling me it would not connect.
Do you have a dashcam, other power supply, or aftermarket item plugged in to the car?
As a matter of fact,I keep a 12 volt adapter plugged in in the armrest/center console of, and occasionally plug my phone in for charging. I've also had the adapter plugged into the front dash 12 volt socket, but find it more convenient where I have it placed now. Could this be causing some type of interference? ( I'm not sure of the name brand of the adapter I plug my lightning cable into)
Pull it out and see if the problem persists. On some units, the circuitry in the adapter can add electronic noise into the CAN bus that the TPMS uses and cause problems.
Drove 32 miles, 12v charger unplugged. As I pulled into my driveway, new sensor began working again. Now I wait...
UPDATE: to newly installed tpms sensor front driver. (done at SEARS auto), then rear sensors started to go in and out with dashes. Had a second sensor installed rear passenger (SEARS and problem still persisted...SEARS replaced as defective). Both rear tires were showing dashes from time to time, but always started working again within a day or so. They quit working, showing two dashes for several days.

Called GM/volt advisor, and took the car in to be examined. Sensors had started working again when I took it in. GM was going to reimburse 100$ for what I guess was going to be some sort of diagnostic work. GM advisor found out that that one of the sensors (I reported both rear sensors were acting up) was a non GM part, the 100$ voucher was removed, but my local dealer didn't charge me anyway. Tires relearned by the dealer at no charge.

A week or two later, got both rear sensors replaced with original GM parts at my local dealer. The rear driver tire still shows two dashes every once in a while, but works when it reads. It works for a day or two at a time, then will show two dashes from time to time for 30-40 miles before working again. The rear tires now have original GM parts. If they are working when I take to the dealer, I will be told nothing can be done, since they are working (been there done that). I was almost able to get it to get looked at on my way home one day, but the sensor started working before I could get to the dealer.

I don't have anything plugged into any 12v charging ports, and there's nothing else I can think of that should interfere with the frustrating!
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You got this used, correct? Check all the power ports (there's 3) and check all the fuse panels to see if any Add-A-Circuit fuse taps were used (may have a power converting device on such a circuit). Anything plugged into the USB port? Any other electronic device not stock to the car at all (even battery powered)? I've had repeatable TPMS interference from a 12V-to-USB charger and dashcam (whether running on battery or plugged in). Anything weird in the car (bunch of foil-lined sound-dampening material, new kind of tint, etc)?

Also, the problem is not your transmitters, you've had them replaced to death. It could be the receiver. If the problem persists, I would look at replacing that. Is anything mounted on your windshield near it (it's the black box by your rearview mirror)?
Yep, bought used. I will double check everything concerning ports, fuses, etc...the only thing I haven't check is fuse panels for the Add-a-Circuit fuse tap. Everything else has been checked and double checked. I've unplugged everything, and nothing is running on batteries nor is anything using the 12v charge ports. I remember asking about the receiver being the issue, but was told that there would be other issues that should be noticed if the receiver wasn't working properly. I'll go over with a fine tooth comb and get back to everyone.
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