2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI: Show Me the Tire Pressures, Please
August 10, 2015
The now ubiquitous tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is a fantastic safety feature. That little tire-and-exclamation-point warning light icon is super helpful for learning when a tire is going low and giving you an opportunity to deal with the situation before it becomes dire.
That said, not all tire pressure monitoring systems are created equal. Some vehicles have a readout that gives you real-time information on each individual tire's pressure. Some can at least tell you which tire on the car is low. Others just tell you something's wrong and leave you to figure out the rest.
Our 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI falls into the last group, unfortunately.
I had the GTI's tire pressure warning light fire off a while back right in the middle of a long highway road trip. I was initially aggravated (about the timing) but thankful for the heads up. But it became apparent that the GTI was only going to tell me that a tire was low, nothing else. I kept driving a few more miles until I made it to a gas station.
I didn't have my tire pressure gauge on me, so I bought one of those cheap pencil-style gauges from the station. I figured it would at least give me an idea of what was wrong. I went around to each tire, one by one. The right rear tire seemed like the culprit, but it was only a few pounds lower (hard to tell with the cheap-o gauge). None of the tires were direly low, and I didn't spot any punctures from screws or nails.
I topped off the right rear tire with the station's air hose. Normally, I would have reset the tire pressure system for the correct pressures, but since the tires were hot from driving and I didn't have a reliable gauge, I left the warning light on and just checked that suspect tire a couple more times along the way to make sure it wasn't losing pressure. It wasn't.
But I could have been spared the mental concern and wasted time stopping had the GTI been equipped with an in-car pressure readout.
Once I got to my destination, I adjusted the tires correctly and reset the monitor. We haven't had any problems since. Interesting side note: I had the same thing happen to me in our long-term Audi A3, a close family member of the GTI. The A3's TPMS doesn't give you specific readouts either, but it does at least indicate which tire is low.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor