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My car is kept in a garage; however I took it out this AM and parked on street for about an hour. I got in the car and the Low Tire Pressure light came on. I do not have a flat tire. Can I drive it for a few about 25 miles before putting in air?

Thank you

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You're probably fine. Keep an eye on your handling and braking distances. Add a bit of air as soon as is feasible and see if the light goes out.

It's possible that you just edged below the low-pressure warning on a colder day than your car is used to. The lower temperature results in a lower pressure inside the tire (hooray for Boyle's Law!). I had a similar situation in my wife's car a few weeks ago: a brief squirt of air from the gas station compressor and the light has been out since then.

Keep in mind that, in the absence of a compressor, a simple bike pump works just fine. It might take a little longer but it certainly works in a pinch!

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For what it's worth, I once noticed my wife's 2007 Camry had tires that looked low after a drive one day (never a good sign on high-profile 215/60/R16 tires). Sure enough, they measured at 16-18 lbs. each, or half of what Toyota wants. It never triggered the low tire pressure light.

You should actually measure the tire pressure on your Camry and see how low it is. As long as there's more than 15 or so pounds, you can safely drive a bit to fill them up. As Bob Cross mentioned, keep an eye on the sudden maneuvers. Low tires get hot, risking a blowout, and they resist sharp turns in direction--which includes braking hard.

I keep a quality tire pressure gauge in my trunk because I'm not sure you can trust some of the TPMS implementations.

  • Considering that all four of your TPMS sensors were not warning you, I'd consider looking into what they communicate with and if it controls any other functions (particularly other safety functions). – agweber Nov 2 '14 at 21:32
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    @agweber ... Remember that there are two basic types of TPMS. One which has active sensors in the wheels. The other type uses the ABS reluctor sensors to detect a difference in wheel speed. When one tire is low, it will indicate it by the wheel continually turning faster than the other three. In this case, if all four tires are low and spinning at the same speed, it will never pick it up. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Nov 2 '14 at 23:34
  • The 2007-2011 Camry uses the in-wheel variant. I presume the 2012+ use the same/a very similar system. "The sensor measures the internal tire pressure and temperature. These measured values and transmitter IDs are transmitted to the tire pressure monitor receiver assembly on the body via radio waves. This data is then sent to the tire pressure monitor electronic control unit (ECU) from the tire pressure monitor receiver." From thetpmsforum.com/… – Eric L. Nov 3 '14 at 0:57
  • @agweber I've just had mixed experiences with TPMS systems over the years that leads me to trust an actual tire gauge over whatever the sensors and ECU agree upon. Those stock steel wheels were later replaced with some of the optional Camry alloys, without the transmitter present on all the wheels. As soon as they were installed, the ECU correctly detected something was amiss and has happily lit the TPMS light ever since--the first time we'd ever seen it. – Eric L. Nov 3 '14 at 1:00
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It's impossible to give an answer to this question without knowing how much "low" means in this case.

If the tire is really flat or anyhow visibly low, I'd recommend against running it. Even a few miles driven carefully, which will probably represent no risk for you or other road users, may invisibly damage the tire.

If the tire is just a little on the low side, then I'd not worry about it and gently drive to the nearest service station. I always carry in the car a 2$ very small pressure gauge. It's not precise at all, but it will help in these situations.

  • In a modern tire, a visibly low tire is dangerously low. I wouldn't drive on that much further than around the block. – Bob Cross Nov 6 '14 at 1:13
  • I agree, but this heavily depends on what you define as "visibly". I usually can spot small pressure differences on pressures on my car, because I always park in the same spot and have an habit of checking tire pressures often. I've come to the point where I can usually tell if the tire is ~.3 bars too low, which is still safe by any standard. On the other hand, my mother, average driver, failed to notice that one of her tires was almost flat... for an entire week! So I guess it really depends on personal habit and once again the best way is still to check manually from time to time. – AF7 Nov 6 '14 at 11:31
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Your tyre pressures quoted by the manufacturer are optimal for best service from any tyre. If a tyre is run at a low or very low pressure then what happens is an increase in the flexing of the tyre wall. This extra flexing of the tyre wall destroys the tyre from the inside and is not visible on a mounted tyre. It is dangerous to drive on a flat or near flat tyre because of this. In the event of a puncture or run-flat event, the tyre must be removed from its wheel and carefully checked internally before being used on the road again. In passing, a tyre which has had a puncture repair is then re-classified as an 'S' load index rated tyre. Direct TPMS sensors inside the tyre are extremely reliable and accurate and should not be dis-regarded when illuminating. In-direct TPMS are less sensitive due to thier measuring the differance in slip angle of the tyres rotation (say 'wheel rotational speed') to the other tyres using the vehicles ABS sensors.

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