Check list for troubleshooting
- Did you order sensor(s) in correct frequency?
- Did you verify your vehicle year?
- Is your installer’s scan tool updated?
- Did your installer inspect the sensor before installation?
- Did you installer follow OE relearn procedure?
- Did your installer acknowledge the difference between different types of relearn procedure?
- Most importantly, was your tire handled by certified mechanic who specialize in tire sensor replacement and TPMS reset?
Before we go further into technical insight, it is important for you to understand that tire sensor is only one of the components from Tire Pressure Monitoring System, there are many factors involved to a system’s functionalities. We will go through each of them along with recommended solution.
- Radio Frequency
There are two channels mostly used by car manufacturers, 315 & 433 MHz, and each vehicle can only applies to one of the two frequencies. Most people don’t even know what channel their cars read and end up buying incompatible sensor(s). Moreover, some vehicle models switch frequency after redesign, take Chevrolet Silverado as an example, brand new designed 2019 models read 433 MHz, and 2018 models read 315 MHz.
Solution – Look up your vehicle VIN to locate OE sensor information, and radio frequency should be specified in the reference.
- Vehicle Trim Level and Year
Some vehicle has a split during the same production year, which means the model gets redesign and uses different OE sensor. For example, BMW F30 switched to a new sensor for the production after April 2014, and the new sensor won’t fit the models made before that point.
Another interesting fact is, some car makers use different OE sensors for one vehicle model based on trim levels, engine type or key type. Generally speaking, it’s a fairly small percentage but still requires certain attention when buying TPMS sensor.
- Sensor’s ID
Every tire sensor has it’s own unique identity and usually forms a combination of numbers and letters. Some ECU use this ID to register sensor/tire’s location and to recognize signal transmitted from each sensor.
There are cases when installer failed to scan or trigger new sensors due to their scan tools don’t recognize the ID format, and that is about time for them to update software, firmware and vehicle data in their tools.
- Valve Stem Type
There are two types of valve stem commonly used by car makers, aluminum/metal clamp mount type & rubber snap in type. Both types of valve stem can fit most sizes of rim, but rubber style gives the installation a little bit more flexibility to fit better on aftermarket wheels and off-road tires.
For heavy duty pickup trucks the wheel is often thicker and wider, a metal valve stem with limited length can easily failed to be screwed tight onto the rim.
Solution – Always buy the same valve stem type as factory ones to avoid installation failure.
- Relearn Procedure
It is a series of actions to set vehicle computer system into sensor learning/training mode, new sensor(s) can only be paired and registered when learn mode is activated. There are 3 major relearn methods are designed to pair new sensor(s). Auto relearn, manual relearn and relearn by sensor activation. More than 90% of relearn failures were caused by improper relearn as most mechanic and technician aren’t trained properly or lacking TPMS knowledge.
Solution – Only acquire professional service from certified technician specialize in TPMS replacement and reset.
- Preparation & Inspection
Note that TPMS sensor replacement and reset requires certain level of knowledge and skills to perform the task successfully. An experienced mechanic or technician knows the importance to equip an adequate tool to inspect aftermarket parts before removing anything from your car, to prevent customer from unnecessary service charge and fees.
As a customer, you totally have the right to have the installer inspecting new sensors before installation.