TPMS – Tire Pressure Monitoring System

tire pressure management sensorI was at my local Discount Tire store the other day, getting a set of new tires on my wife’s vehicle and while I was there I asked them to reset my TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) warning light that was on the dashboard.

The TPMS light came on soon after a tire was replaced and rebalanced so I assumed the sensor inside that tire needed to be reset or something had happened to the sensor itself.

The mechanic at Discount tire came in to the waiting room and handed me the old sensor and said “the batter is dead, we will replace the sensor for you”.

Well another customer was interested in seeing the old part and asked me a few questions. I thought since this person had never seen or even heard of this sensor before that I would share this information with you as well.

I made a short video below that might come in handy one day. Check it out now.


1. There is a sensor in each tire, and usually in the spare tire as well IF you have a full sized spare tire not a small temporary tire…which would not have a sensor inside.

2. Each sensor has it’s own internal battery, some have a replacement battery some just require a new sensor because the battery is not serviceable.

3. If you change your tires, the sensor stays with the wheel since it is part of the air valve stem. You do not have to change the sensors just because you buy new tires.

4. You can change the sensor yourself IF you have the tools to remove the tire from the wheel. 🙂

5. You can use a handheld scan tool to test each sensor to determine which one is faulty, your tire store should have that tool and check your sensors for you.

6. You can not remove the sensors without causing the yellow warning light to come on the dashboard, which will make it impossible to get a safety inspection with that light on.

7. How long do the sensors and batteries last? I have been told they are supposed to last 10 years, but as with any other battery operated device they can fail at anytime.

8. Low tire air pressure will set off that yellow warning light, so check tire pressures first (including the full sized spare). Cold weather changes will cause the air inside the tire to contract, so it’s pretty common on the first cold day of the year to change air pressure and set the warning light.

Posted in: Tires

10 Comments on "TPMS – Tire Pressure Monitoring System"

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  1. Shelia says:

    Is that pressure sensor easy to replace?

    • By Austin Davis says:

      Pretty much, there is a pressure sensor in each of your tires, usually in the spare tire too. You have to remove the wheel from the vehicle, then dismount the tire from the wheel to get to the sensor. Any tire shop can do this for you quickly and inexpensively.

  2. Bob says:

    If you are interested in a TPMS system that uses
    external sensors, check out TSTTRUCK.COM. I’ve been
    using their systems on my car, truck and RV and am
    very pleased with them. You can buy a starter kit
    with four sensors for less than $300. The one-year
    warranty is extended to two years if purchased this
    month (Nov 2012). Extra sensors come in pairs ($100/pair), and the monitor can handle 22 tires.
    I am not affiliated with the company. Just trying to
    provide info that may be useful to anybody looking
    for alternatives. Note that “external” sensors makes
    the system portable between vehicles.

  3. petar says:

    take out bulb from dash board, and wll not lighting ever.. But u remember that before 30’yrs electronic in autos whose only power windows and power locks and AC, also then whose in same level of safety and economicaly (fuel save)and today where we are?
    Do accident’s is made more or less then before 30-35 yrs?
    Main reason of accident’s is culture of driver and mentality,situaton and presure of life
    but now all industry make us to be energy depend and depend of every made products (mobil phones,.. and all mobil gadgetts,to spend something even we rest,

  4. Don says:

    Great Video & very informative,

    Have a question,.. If the battery in them dies, can’t you just have them change the batteries in the unit instead of replacing the whole unit? ( much like we do with the electronic keys ) I mean replacing one @ $80 a pop seems to be a waste of money not to mention a waste of a good sensor unit. ( considering the problem is the battery and not the sensor unit it’s self of course )

    • By Austin Davis says:

      From what I know, most of the sensors are sealed and not serviceable. I guess the same guy who invented the non serviceable Iphone came up with that idea as well. 🙂

  5. Rob says:

    Thanks for the informative video. I have a 2006 Toyota and it measures the wheel speed of each wheel and compares it to the other wheels. So, as the tire diameter changes with changes in tire pressure the speed each wheel relative to other wheels changes also. When the difference in speed exceeds a set limit the light comes on. This type of system will alert you to overpressured or underinflated tires. It’s a good practice to understand these lights as they can save you lots of money if you take action before a serious issue develops.

  6. Tamara Ritchie says:

    Thanks for this great video! What are the odds I really needed this video NOW? Since I bought my 2002 Chevy Impala in May, the “Tire pressure low” light has been on. After making sure pressure was right in each tire and going to Discount tire few weeks ago and getting 5 new tires (counting one on the spare), the light still won’t go off. Now I know why! I will be going back to DT as soon as possible to see if I can get the sensors checked and fixed (Hopefully only one is out!).

  7. dan grem says:

    if this happens to your mercedes s 500 the dealer shop will tell you it will cost over a thousand dollars to repair. fahget about it. the air pump that controls the height of the suspension system went out and it was $900 parts and labor.

    how do you avoid this? do not by german autos. i traded the m.b. in on a 2013 fwd lexus rx with a 6 yr warranty and could not be happier.

    no way i am paying euro denomination prices for a comfy lounge and pretty secretaries anymore. after europe goes down the tubes and they are giving everything away, maybe.

    live and learn.


  8. Ed says:

    …An informative, interesting video. Thanks!

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