How To Reset the Tire Pressure Light in a Subaru?

The TPMS icon is not a dashboard light you should ignore.

2023 Subaru SolterraSubaru

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All kinds of warning lights can pop up on your Subaru dashboard. You’ve likely seen everything from the red gas pump icon indicating low fuel to the check engine light, which could mean any number of things.

Here’s what it means when you see the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (or TPMS) light in a Subaru.

What Does a TPMS Do?

In any car, the TPMS tracks the air pressure of each tire. Your tires should be set to the pressure indicated on the driver’s side door jamb or in the owner’s manual. That number indicates the tire pressure in pounds per square inch (PSI). When the weather is cold, the air takes up less space in the tire. As your wheels rotate, the air inside warms up and expands, raising the tire pressure. That’s why filling your tires to the indicated pressure while cold is important. If you fill up to the indicated pressure while warm, you will find that your tires are underinflated the next day after they cool off.

In a Subaru, the TPMS light looks like a semi-circle with an exclamation point. It should come on momentarily when you start the car, but turn off once the computer senses the tire pressures are okay. If the light stays on, it’s important not to ignore it. Tires are the only part of your vehicle that actually touch the ground, which is why they should always be in good condition and set to the correct pressure.

What Makes the TPMS Light in My Subaru Come On?

Once you are on the road, there are a few reasons the symbol may light up. You may have a total loss of pressure and a flat tire. In this case, you should pull over and change the tire yourself or call for roadside assistance.

You may also have a slow leak and should inflate the tire with a portable air compressor at your home or a gas station.

The tire pressure light will also go off if your tires are overinflated. At this time, you should pull over and let some air out of the tires until they reach the correct pressure. In either instance, you’ll need to drive for a bit once they are correctly inflated to reset the sensor.

Extreme cold weather could also trip the TPMS sensor. If none of the tires have a leak and you’re only a few pounds of pressure below the recommended number, try driving the car for a bit. As stated earlier, once the tires warm up, the light will likely go off once they reach the correct pressure. If not, inflate to the right pressure.

How Do I Reset The Tire Pressure Light in My Subaru?

Unfortunately, Subaru doesn’t install a TPMS reset switch on cars sold in the U.S. If the warning light remains illuminated even after you’ve confirmed that your tires are inflated to the correct pressure, you’ll need to visit a tire shop or a dealership to have the system reset.

Do I Need to Check the Tire Pressure If I Change My Wheels and Tires?

With most Subaru models coming with all-wheel drive standard, like the Solterra, many owners swap between summer and winter tires and wheels. That seasonal change-over may also affect the TPMS sensor.

In this case, you can either take your Subaru to the dealer or a tire shop to get the new wheels calibrated to your car’s computer, or you can do it yourself. However, the DIY cure involves multiple electronic tools and some computer know-how. Those who aren’t tech-savvy may want to pay someone to do the job for them. If your Subaru’s TPMS sensor blinks for one minute and then remains illuminated, it means there is a malfunction in the system. In this case, it’s a good idea to take your Subaru to the dealer for service.

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Emme Hall
Emme Hall loves small convertibles and gets out to the canyons in her 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata whenever she can. You can also find her in the dirt in her lifted (yes, that's right) 2001 Mazda Miata, or racing air-cooled Volkswagens in races like the Baja 1000. She's taken first place twice in the Rebelle Rally — once driving a Jeep Wrangler and then a Rolls-Royce Cullinan the second time. She was also the first driver to take an electric vehicle to the Rebelle Rally when campaigning the Rivian R1T to a top-five finish