2010 Honda Accord Crosstour: Low Tire Pressure Warning Redux
November 29, 2010
The low tire pressure warning in our 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour came on again this morning in the wee hours on my way to the office. The TMPS lamp eye winked and caught my eye about a minute after I left my driveway.
I thought about turning around and heading back to my garage, where I have an industrial-grade air compressor. But with the clock reading 5:09 am, I figured my neighbors would get cross. Besides, the nearest local gas station lay only a mile ahead of me. I soldiered on.
The gas station wasn't open yet, so I couldn't ask the attendant to trigger the compressor. It was the wimpy coin-operated kind, but California law says that air for tires must be free for customers who request it. The mini-mart attendant usually has access to an override button near the cash register.
I inspected each tire to see if one was obviously low while I waited for the place to open. No such luck. All of them looked fine, but the truck-driver's "thump test" seemed to implicate the left front.
Within a few minutes the "Open" sign came on and I was able to get the compressor going. I went first to the left front, but it was OK. Same with the right front. Turns out the left rear was down to 20 psi -- decidedly low, but apparently not low enough to "look" low.
I added air and started for work, and the light extinguished itself within the first minute. It's still off now, but this constitutes the Crosstour's second TPMS warning in 10 days. A single tire stood out this time. It's time to take it in to the shop to have the left rear inspected and patched.
Eyeball estimates of tire pressure don't reveal anything until the tire is arguably past the point of no return. The thump test isn't trustworthy on low-pressure, low volume passenger car tires. Tire gauges are king, but it's impractical to expect commuters to do a proper pre-flight check each and every morning before they set out.
That's where TPMS comes in. It's always on, always sampling. Here again, TPMS proves its worth. Another driver has been alerted to another slow leak well before the tire gets low enough to overheat and blow out. Since TPMS has become standard it has saved our bacon something like 20 times. More than that, I think. I've lost count.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 16,235 miles