The tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) in vehicles works with the help of tire pressure sensors. The sensors or transponders are responsible for detecting if the tire pressure is above or below the recommended level.
The location of the sensors varies depending on the type of TPMS your vehicle has. In an indirect TPMS, the sensors are found in the speed sensor of the tire or in the anti-braking system (ABS). Meanwhile, in the direct TPMS, they are either wrapped around the rim of the tire or placed in the tire pressure valve.
When you install new tires or rotate them, it is possible for the sensors or transponders to malfunction. As a result, the TPMS warning light may turn on even if none of the tires are not underinflated or overinflated.
Alternatively, the tire pressure may be under or over the recommended level, but the TPMS is not alerting you about the issue. This is another indicator that your sensor is not working properly.
Malfunctioning transponders need to be fixed to avoid inaccurate readings. To do this, you have to do a tire pressure sensor reset.
What Is a Tire Pressure Sensor Reset?
Resetting your TPMS sensors is basically about pairing or re-pairing your them with your TPMS. During this process, the TPMS relearns the unique IDs of the transponders as well as their correct location.
Also called relearning or matching process, tire pressure sensor reset is performed after replacing your road tire with a spare tire and vice versa. Matching is also done when you install new sensors into your wheels.
Ideally, your dealer should reset your sensors after replacing your wheels. However, it is best practice to check your tire pressure once you get it back using a tire pressure gauge. If you don’t have one, you can go to your local gas station and use their air pumps.
As mentioned earlier, it is possible for the TPMS warning light to not turn on even if your tire is underinflated or overinflated.
Tire Pressure Sensor Reset: How to Do It
In case your sensors are not working properly following a tire replacement or rotation, you can reset it on your own with the help of a TPMS relearn tool.
Just a note:
While the TPMS is a very useful device, the process of resetting the sensors can be inconvenient. Maintaining the device can also be expensive, particularly when your sensors keep getting damaged. Hence, some people just opt to disable the system using a TPMS bypass emulator.
If you need to reset your transponder, we have created a guide below you can use. It should be noted though that the process may vary depending on the car brand.
1. While you are safely parked, turn on the ignition with the engine off.
2. Access the vehicle information in the driver information centre (DIC). Scroll until the screen shows the tire pressure menu.
3. Press the SET/CLR button to start the reset process. You can expect a prompt asking you if you want to start the relearn process. Depending on your vehicle, the horn may sound twice to indicate that the car is in the reset mode.
4. Step out of the vehicle and go to the driver side front tire. Place the relearn device near the transponder and against the tire sidewall. Press the button on the relearning tool. Again, the horn honks when the matching is complete.
5. After the driver side front tire, do the same for the other sensors in the following order: driver passenger side front tire, passenger side rear tire and driver side rear tire.
6. Once you have reset all the sensors, check the dashboard to see what the tire pressure level is. If the matching was successful, the numbers you see should be the recommended pressure level.
In case the TPMS is indicating that a tire is overinflated or underinflated, recheck using a tire gauge. If the numbers on the TPMS monitor are the same as the ones you get using a tire gauge, all you need to do is to remove air from the tire or add air into it.
As previously mentioned, the process may vary per car brand. Hence, the steps mentioned above may not be applicable for your vehicle.
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