The TPMS sensor on your automobile is a vital part of your vehicle’s safety and should be checked regularly. The low tire pressure warning light will turn on if the sensor is damaged or malfunctions. You may need to remove the sensor in order to replace it or submit it for repair in some circumstances.
TPMS sensors can be removed without removing the tire, as demonstrated in this article.
What’s A TPMS Sensor?
If one or more of a car’s tires falls below the required PSI level, which is between 30 and 35, a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) will sound an alarm to alert the driver.
When driving in rainy conditions, properly inflated tires help prevent your car from skidding and save the brakes, suspension, and other vehicle components from having to work as hard.
A dash-mounted light or speaker will sound if a tire’s pressure is 25 percent out of specification in many new cars equipped with TPMS sensors already placed in the wheel well. For better detection of tire slippage, these systems are often connected to an ABS system.
If your car’s piezoelectric ceramic disks are working properly, they will beep three times every time the vehicle exceeds 10mph.
When the pressure in your tires drops below a preset level (typically around 25 percent), an alarm will go off to alert you to pull over to a safe place so you can inspect them. There will be no mishaps caused by runaway wheels thanks to the TPMS system’s assumption that a flat tire has happened if this warning is ignored!
How Much Does A TPMS Sensor Cost?
In Canada, I’ve seen prices for the sensor alone range from $20 to $100, depending on where you live. Depending on the type of wheels you have, this can cost anywhere from $50 to $100.
Because your new sensor will not fit in your old tire well if you don’t have TPMS changeable wheels, this price includes work for removing and installing your old sensors.
The cost is significantly reduced if you have TPMS-compatible wheels and can reuse your previous sensors. In order to have this installed by a dealer for $100-$150 each sensor, the car must be programmed and all of its systems recalibrated, which takes around an hour per sensor.
Last summer, I installed my own sensors and a tire rotation myself. It only took me about 30 minutes total.
Buying new sensors is a breeze!
Purchase some TPMS tools ($5-15) and new sensors ($20+) at any auto store or even Wal Mart and you can have your car fixed in 30 to 45 minutes!
This procedure can cost as much as $400 at certain businesses, which is ridiculous. To understand more about how the TPMS system works and how to install it, watch the video below.
Can I remove A TPMS Sensor Without Removing The Tire?
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TPMS sensor issues have been reported in internet forums and by Tirerack customers alike since the technology was made mandatory for all new automobiles starting with the 2008 model year.
It’s not uncommon for us to discover that a customer’s TPMS sensor has failed and has to be replaced when they come into one of our locations with a low pressure light on.
Water penetration into the sensor housing is the most common source of this problem. Ventilation is essential in all TPMS Sensor housings to allow any moisture that may accumulate inside the vehicle to be released.
Due to their location in close proximity to the sensor’s bottom, these vents will accumulate frost over time if the vehicle is parked outside in cold weather.
The cost of replacing all four TPMS sensors at once can be prohibitive because many vehicles now have four or more of them, two on each front and rear wheel.
Here’s a tip to help you save money if you only need to repair one sensor (and time).
It is important to note that we are not advising you to remove your TPMS sensors so that you can replace them. For those of you who prefer to undertake this procedure yourself or don’t want to incur the additional cost of removing and reinstalling all four wheels from your car, the following is an option.
Tire Pressure Monitoring may not work properly after this procedure because the pressure measurements from each wheel could be wrong by up to 2 psi after this treatment is completed.
Check your tire pressure frequently if you decide to travel this route. We recommend having a professional specialist verify and/or reinstall the sensors if any of your tire pressures are drastically off after performing this procedure.
The Sensor Removal Process
- Make sure that you have a replacement sensor of the same type (TPMS or non-TPMS) and that it has been updated with the latest firmware version for your vehicle before beginning this process!
- Locate the sensor on the wheel. It is usually located on either side of where the tire’s valve stem protrudes from its rim. The following image shows an example of what one looks like:
- Using either some water and soap solution or cooking spray, spray enough lubricant around the base of each sensor until it appears to be damp all around. (Note: Some vehicle manufacturers such as BMW and GM actually recommend against using cooking spray, so we suggest using a water/soap solution instead.)
- Just like you would unlock the lug-nuts on your car, wedge a thin flat-head screwdriver between each of the electrical connectors (they look like little squares) and pry them apart slightly.
- You should hear a small “click” sound when they separate enough to allow the removal of the sensor from its location. Here is an example photo of what this process looks like:
- Using needle-nosed pliers or some other gripping device that won’t damage the sensor’s housing, grab onto one side of the sensor and pull it out from its location carefully.
The Re-Installation Process
- Using either some water and soap solution or cooking spray, spray enough lubricant around the base of the replacement sensor until it appears to be damp all around. Note: Some vehicle manufacturers such as BMW and GM actually recommend against using cooking spray, so we suggest using a water/soap solution instead.
- Locate the new sensor on the wheel in the same location where you removed its predecessor. Then wedge a thin flat-head screwdriver between each of the electrical connectors (they look like little squares) and pry them apart slightly.
- You should hear a small “click” sound when they separate enough for you to insert your replacement sensor into its location. Here is an example photo of what this process looks like:
- Once the new sensor is installed, you may need to reprogram it if your vehicle was originally equipped with TPMS sensors. Please consult your owner’s manual for information on how to do so, or speak with a qualified specialist who can assist you.
- If your vehicle did not come equipped with TPMS Sensors, you should be all set, and congratulations! You just saved some money by doing this simple replacement yourself.
How To Transfer TPMS Sensors To New Wheels?
Each wheel’s tire pressure is recorded via TPMS sensors. The TPMS sensors on an automobile’s old wheels must be transferred to the new ones so that the new wheels’ current pressure may be read and monitored following installation. This post will go into the specifics of how to accomplish this.
In order to transfer sensors from one wheel to another, the first step is to remove them from the original and install them on the new one. Make sure you do everything right while moving the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) sensor to your vehicle (old or new).
Therefore, rather of attempting the do-it-yourself procedure mentioned below, we strongly advise seeing a professional:
- Remove the TPMS sensor from the wheel.
- Prepare a new TPMS sensor and tire assembly: Remove protective caps from the valve stem on new tire/wheel assembly Check pressure with an air gauge Add recommended amount of air to the tire Insert TPMS sensor, ensuring that it is securely locked into position by turning it back and forth (check your vehicle service manual for exact procedure).
- Reconnect the battery or de-activate the ignition. If the light comes back on after you start up your car, wait 5 minutes with the ignition turned off, then repeat this action. This step will clear memory and turn off all warning lights (if they were illuminated previously). Repeat this step until there are no more error codes in memory.
- NOTE: Prior to moving the sensor from one wheel to another, make sure its battery is disconnected. If it’s not, when you try to move it, you risk causing damage in both TPMS systems – old and new
- Activate TPMS system: Activate PSI levels in order to adapt them with the ones in newly mounted tire/wheel assembly. When the proper PSI level is reached for a specific tire, the TPMS warning light will go off or turn into steady mode instead of flashing.
- Clear all DTCs (Diagnostic trouble codes), if present: Check your vehicle service manual on how to do this as each manufacturer has different procedures for doing so. If there are no codes left in memory proceed to step 7.
- If there are any DTCs left in memory, clear them. After the code(s) is/are cleared, turn off the ignition and wait 10 minutes before you start up your car. When finished with steps 1-6, drive the vehicle for at least 30 minutes to complete the sensor activation process.
- Repeat this whole procedure if your TPMS warning light re-illuminates shortly after turning it off. If this happens, wait several hours or overnight before doing so. It may be necessary to repeat it on consecutive days until the system activates properly (consult the service manual for exact steps).
- Mount TPMS sensors back on the wheel of the vehicle they came from (instead of mounting them directly on new tires/wheels assembly made, as described in step 2 above).
- Startup the car to ensure TPMS sensor(s) are properly activated. Repeat steps 1-8 if necessary.
If your TPMS light continues to illuminate despite your diligent efforts, it’s best to have your car towed to a reputable repair shop. Wheels and tires may also need to be rebalanced, which could be another reason why the DTCs aren’t clearing.
If you have pneumatic tires with metal valve stems and sensors that screw into them, this article is for you. Please consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual if your vehicle has a tire pressure monitoring system that uses either wireless or direct TPMS sensors.
Can I Buy Of Brand TPMS Sensors?
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There are a plethora of aftermarket sensors to choose from. OEM components, on the other hand, are always recommended to ensure proper compatibility.
Can I Use A TPMS Sensor From Another Vehicle?
Please consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual if your vehicle is equipped with an onboard tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) that uses wireless or direct TPMS sensors.
You may be able to use a TPMS sensor from another vehicle if your automobile has pneumatic tires with metal valve stems and TPMS sensors that screw into them. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, you’ll need to buy an activation tool in order to do this.
It is possible to remove a TPMS sensor without removing the tire, but it is crucial to keep in mind that if done incorrectly, it could cause damage to both systems (old or new). As a result, rather than attempting the above-described do-it-yourself approach, we strongly suggest consulting with a professional.