TPMS, or Tire Pressure Monitoring System, is a system designed to monitor the air pressure in a vehicle’s tires and alert the driver when the pressure in one or more tires is too low. Maintaining the right tire pressure is important for a car’s safety and performance. Tires that are not inflated enough waste more gas, wear out faster and make accidents more likely.
A warning light on the dashboard, often in the shape of a tire with an exclamation mark inside, is a common symptom of a faulty TPMS sensor. Other symptoms may include the sensor sending incorrect pressure readings or not sending any readings at all. It’s important to take care of these problems right away to keep your car safe and running well.
Understanding the TPMS system
The TPMS system works by monitoring the air pressure in each tire and comparing it to the recommended pressure level for the vehicle. The system is made up of sensors, which are installed in each tire, and a control module, which receives the sensor’s data and displays it on the dashboard.
There are two main types of TPMS sensors: direct and indirect. Direct sensors have a battery and a transmitter that send a signal to the control module with the tire pressure information. Indirect sensors, on the other hand, use the vehicle’s ABS system to detect changes in the rotational speed of each tire and infer the pressure based on that.
Programmable sensors can be relearned and replaced with the original sensors in the vehicle’s system. Non-programmable sensors cannot be taught again, so they can only be used as replacements if they are the same as the original sensors.
Using OEM (original equipment manufacturer) sensors is important because they are specifically designed to work with the vehicle’s TPMS system. Using non-OEM sensors can result in compatibility issues and may not function properly. OEM sensors are also factory tested and validated, ensuring the best performance and durability.
How to check if your TPMS sensor needs to be replaced:
Common symptoms of a faulty TPMS sensor include a warning light on the dashboard, often in the shape of a tire with an exclamation mark inside, even when the tire pressure is at the correct level. Other symptoms may include the sensor sending inaccurate pressure readings or failing to send any tasks at all. If you suspect that your TPMS sensor is faulty, it is important to address the issue promptly.
To check the sensor using the vehicle’s onboard diagnostics, you can use the vehicle’s onboard diagnostic (OBD) system. This can be done by using an OBD-II scanner tool that can be plugged into the vehicle’s diagnostic port, which is usually located under the dashboard. The scanner will read the vehicle’s diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) and indicate if there are any issues with the TPMS system.
Alternatively, you can check the sensor using a TPMS scan tool. This tool is specifically designed to read the sensor data and diagnose any issues with the TPMS system. A TPMS scan tool can also be used to activate and test the sensors and to reprogram or relearn the sensors if necessary.
Before replacing any parts, it’s always a good idea to check the owner’s manual or take the car to a certified mechanic to confirm the diagnosis.
The following is a step-by-step guide for replacing a TPMS sensor:
Tools and materials needed for the job
- TPMS scan tool (if necessary)
- Lug wrench
- Torque wrench
- Replacement sensor
- Tire pressure gauge
- Silicone lubricant (if necessary)
Removing the old sensor from the wheel:
- Use the lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts on the wheel where the sensor needs to be replaced.
- Carefully remove the wheel from the vehicle.
- Locate the sensor on the inside of the wheel.
- Use the TPMS scan tool to release the sensor from the wheel, following the tool’s instructions.
- Carefully remove the sensor from the wheel.
Installing the new sensor
- Clean the sensor mounting location on the wheel with a clean rag.
- If necessary, apply a small amount of silicone lubricant to the sensor’s grommet.
- Carefully press the new sensor into the wheel and make sure it is securely in place.
- Use the TPMS scan tool to set up the new sensor, and if necessary, follow the tool’s instructions.
Testing the new sensor
- Put the wheel back on the car and tighten the lug nuts to the right torque, which is written in the car’s owner’s manual.
- Use the tire pressure gauge to check the air pressure in all four tires, including the one with the new sensor.
- Use the TPMS scan tool to turn on the new sensor and make sure it is sending the right readings for the tire pressure.
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Maintaining proper tire pressure is crucial for the safety and performance of a vehicle, and the TPMS system plays an important role in ensuring that the tires are at the correct pressure level. It’s important to regularly check the TPMS sensors and replace them if they are faulty to ensure the safety and proper function of the vehicle. If you suspect that your TPMS sensor is faulty, it is important to address the issue promptly, either by yourself or by a professional mechanic. Before replacing any parts, it’s always a good idea to check the owner’s manual or take the car to a certified mechanic to confirm the diagnosis.
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