Tire pressure sensor issues - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Tire pressure sensor issues

I’m having problems with my tire pressure sensors they keep indicating that a tire is low and I check my pressure and it’s good yes I know I also took my car to have the tire pressure sensors checked and they told me there’s nothing wrong with them.

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post #2 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 01:00 PM
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Are you having a cold snap in your area? The sensors in every brand seem to get weird with really colc temps. The small batteries in the sensors are affected by really cold temps and can give the system fits. Also if the tires are at the right PSI in the middle of the day in a warm tire shop cold mornings they may drop pressure due to cold temps just a few psi triggering the system. Most tire shops especially in the winter will bump the pressure up just a couple psi for exactly this reason to avoid morning tire lights on the dash.

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post #3 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 10:22 AM
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Is the light steady on or blinking?

Steady on = low psi

Blinking = dead battery or other system problem

Current cars: The Sex Wagon 2005 Legacy GT Wagon w/ 5 speed, Stage 2, TBSTI Bilsteins/STI Pinks and Whiteline everything else. The Outbean 2006 Legacy Outback LLBean 3.0r, All stock The Workhorse 2001 Toyota Tundra SR5 New Project 2009 2.5i SE--Blown Headgaskets

Past cars: 2001 Outback 2.5 Limited, 2003 Outback LLBean h6, 2008 Outback 2.5 base, 2010 Legacy 2.5i Premium w CVT, 2003 BMW 330CI, 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium
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post #4 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 11:53 AM
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Is there a sensor in the spare tire?


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post #5 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 12:24 PM
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I know my 2010 doesn’t pretty sure all other yrs are only 4 sensors. I think the ascent with its almost full size spare has one.

I just went through replacing all 5 in my 2005 Toyota truck. I think the trend is full size spare tires you get the all 5 system.
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post #6 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 01:04 PM
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Is there a sensor in the spare tire?
Gen 3 does not. But your profile says you have a 2005 and 2006 Outback; you know that neither of those originally came standard with TPMS, correct? It was introduced in 2007 on all except the basic Outback; for 2008 and going forward it was in all models:
Subaru Outback research pages: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009... all years/models
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post #7 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 01:14 PM
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Gen 3 does not. But your profile says you have a 2005 and 2006 Outback; you know that neither of those originally came standard with TPMS, correct? It was introduced in 2007 on all except the basic Outback; for 2008 and going forward it was in all models:
Subaru Outback research pages: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009... all years/models

Yes, I'm aware, it was a question for the original poster -- wondering if maybe the spare was low and causing the issue. Just throwing out things I saw when I was an auto tech


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post #8 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 03:14 PM
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Gen 3 does not. But your profile says you have a 2005 and 2006 Outback; you know that neither of those originally came standard with TPMS, correct? It was introduced in 2007 on all except the basic Outback; for 2008 and going forward it was in all models:
Subaru Outback research pages: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009... all years/models
I have TPMS in my 06.

Just had to replace the sensors at considerable cost since the PO didn't have the sensors replaced when the tires were done ~15k ago.

Current cars: The Sex Wagon 2005 Legacy GT Wagon w/ 5 speed, Stage 2, TBSTI Bilsteins/STI Pinks and Whiteline everything else. The Outbean 2006 Legacy Outback LLBean 3.0r, All stock The Workhorse 2001 Toyota Tundra SR5 New Project 2009 2.5i SE--Blown Headgaskets

Past cars: 2001 Outback 2.5 Limited, 2003 Outback LLBean h6, 2008 Outback 2.5 base, 2010 Legacy 2.5i Premium w CVT, 2003 BMW 330CI, 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium
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post #9 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 09:37 PM
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High pressure limited use space-saver spares DO NOT have TPMS sensors. Plus, the Subaru system only has 4 place holders for the ID codes.

Given the age of the vehicle, I'd suspect that the transmission from one or more wheels is intermittent or weak at times, despite a test at the wheels indicating acceptable battery condition. By the time you drove to a shop, you've warmed the wheels sufficiently for those coin cell batteries to eek out a signal. When stone cold, they probably don't start transmitting reliably or don't measure internal air pressure properly, and you are getting bad data.

Still, as a test, try pumping up your tires to a few lbs above normal just to rule out nighttime cold air contraction that could be deemed true low pressure.

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2014 OBW Premium, CVT & Moonroof. Added: trailer hitch, lighting mods, upgraded horn, winter tire/wheel/TPMS package.
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post #10 of 44 (permalink) Old 03-13-2019, 02:40 AM
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Just had to replace the sensors at considerable cost since the PO didn't have the sensors replaced when the tires were done ~15k ago.
I'm on the original TPMS sensors in my 2008, still working well, and considered changing them when I had my current set of tires put on in spring of 2016. FWIW, this was done at Costco, and they talked me out of it - with the convincing argument that they charged the same amount to replace a sensor regardless of whether you were buying new tires at the time or not.

Guess that was good advice, it was 30k miles ago, and the tires are about halfway to replacement.

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