2016 Honda Civic: Tire Monitoring System Reset Needed After a Tire Rotation
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on February 1, 2017
The following is not a case of déjà vu. Or maybe it is. It harks back to a recent incident I had with our 2016 Mazda Miata, in which the tire pressure warning system (TPMS) issued a false alarm I eventually linked to a DIY tire rotation before a long trip. This surprised me because I thought indirect TPMS — the kind that continuously monitors wheel rotation speeds to guess the tire pressures — was dead and buried. Turns out the Miata had it, but I hadn't pressed the reset button after my rotation.
A few weeks later, it was our 2016 Honda Civic's turn. Like the Miata, I was taking care of maintenance on the morning of a long road trip. But in this case it needed an oil change, too, so I took it to Hardin Honda, my local dealer. The folks there changed the oil and filter, rotated the tires and sent me on my way.
But the TPMS warning light came on about five minutes down the road.
I was nearly home, and traffic was mercilessly backed up headed back toward the dealership. I decided to check first; maybe I had just run over something. Besides, my recent Miata experience taught me that indirect TPMS was still out there on some newer cars. The warning light had come on shortly after a tire rotation, so maybe the Civic had indirect TPMS, too.
I scanned the dashboard for a reset button — something a car with indirect TPMS would need to have — but found nothing. But our Civic Touring has a huge all-powerful touchscreen, and one of the destinations on the home screen is called Vehicle Settings. I went there and immediately hit paydirt: TPMS Calibration was the first selection.
I pushed the button and continued with my other last-minute trip preparation errands. I stopped a few miles later for one of them, and when I got back in and restarted the car, the TPMS light was back on.
It turns out you have to drive 20 continuous minutes after pushing the calibration button in order for Honda's process to finish. The light will come back and you'll get booted back to square one if you drive any less than that. My 15 minutes hadn't been enough, so I pushed the calibration button once more and made sure to stay moving for at least 20 minutes.
Bingo. Mischief managed.
Dealer mechanics must have a special tool that gets around this, otherwise they'd have to either drive the car themselves for 20 minutes or tell customers to keep driving for 20 minutes after leaving the premises. Neither of these represents a great path to customer satisfaction, so I'm betting there's a special tool and my mechanic simply forgot to use it.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 15,794 miles