how to replace a TPMS sensor

How To Replace A TPMS Sensor Without A Tire Machine

With the current trend, more and more people nowadays want to equip tire pressure systems for their vehicles. A tire pressure monitoring system usually has a lifespan of up to 7-10 years and is also rarely faulty. However, environmental factors can cause it to fail unexpectedly during everyday use.

In case such errors appear with any sensors of the TPMS, you should refer to the article below to have a thorough solution and understand how to replace a TPMS sensor with a brand new one as soon as possible. 

What Is A Tire Pressure Monitoring System?

The tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is one of the must-have accessories on any vehicles, which will accurately monitor the pressure of the tires before and after each journey. With this tool, drivers can self-assess whether the tire quality is affected, helping to improve the vehicle’s stability, reduce fuel consumption, and increase driving safety.

In more detail, if the pressure in the tires changes suddenly- higher/lower than the ideal level, the sensors will give warnings through audio and visual signals for the car owner to have a timely solution. 

Overall, TPMS is an electronic device designed to monitor tire pressure, an automotive technology accessory, and a necessary technical measurement device, with a breakthrough in design and technology in the past few years.

Many luxury car manufacturers worldwide now equip tire pressure sensors for their products as a standard safety system. For popular cars, drivers can easily equip internal or external tire pressure monitoring systems with reasonable cost and simple technique.

how to replace a TPMS sensor
Photo: Paiboon Chooklin / Shutterstock

What Does a Tire Pressure Monitoring System Include?

There are many types of tire pressure sensing systems, but their general structure still includes 3 parts: sensor valve, central processing unit, and parameter display screen.

Sensor valve

The sensor valve measures the proper pressure in 4 car tires. This unit can be installed on the outside or inside of each car tire and is manufactured in stainless steel. In each valve, there is a layer of the sensor membrane designed with many smaller sensors.

Central processor

The central processing unit has the role of processing the signals received from the 4 sensor valves and displaying the parameters on a separate screen or a screen on a car, phone, etc. This part is considered the brain of the tire pressure monitoring system.

Parameter display

Usually, each tire pressure sensor comes with a display screen for monitoring. Their displays use the vehicle’s battery and/or power source that can be charged via a pipe charger, an external charger, or using a solar panel.

Some TPMSs do not use separate screens as above. They connect to the available display on the car (ODO speedometer display, Android screen, or Wince DVD). Sometimes they also have built-in visibility via a phone or a display device such as a smartwatch. The display on the phone allows monitoring of pump pressure and is completely set up on the phone.

Common Types of TPMS Sensors

On the market today, there are many types of tire pressure sensors with different prices and quality. Each device line has its advantages and disadvantages, following the actual needs of customers.

In general, tire pressure sensors are divided into 2 types based on the installation location.

Internal valve tire pressure monitoring system

The internal valve tire pressure sensor is mounted inside the tire. The advantage of the device is that you do not need to worry about theft during use. In addition, the device is also resistant to water, dust, and harmful agents from the environment.

Besides, the device brings absolute aesthetics to the car. It is suitable for all car models, just like the original equipment.

However, the device also has the disadvantage of being quite complicated to install. You cannot inspect and replace the device yourself without specialized tools and the support of skilled workers. Besides, the device cannot replace the battery and is energy-consuming when used.

External valve tire pressure monitoring system

The external tire pressure monitoring sensor is attached to the valve head of the wheel. Therefore, it is easy to install and repair. An external valve tire pressure sensor allows you to change batteries easily. Therefore, it is more convenient to disassemble for inspection and repair.

The outer valve tire pressure sensor is now less popular than the inner one. Because the device makes it difficult to pump the car. You may need a professional sensor valve opener for every car pump. Besides, it is also likely to be stolen if it is not equipped with anti-theft.

The Benefits of TPMS System

Tire pressure monitoring systems have many helpful uses, making this part more and more popular among RV owners:

Ensure tire safety

Over-inflated or under-inflated tires not only affect the tire service life but can also be unsafe. Therefore, the tire pressure sensor will update the temperature and internal pressure to help users recognize problems for timely handling. The driving process will be safer, and the tire cracking, wear, or deformation is limited.

Save fuel

In the United States alone, the Department of Transportation estimates that inflatable tires waste 7,600,000 cubic meters of nature and release more than 26 billion kilograms of unnecessary carbon-monoxide pollutants into the atmosphere each year.

Without a tire pressure sensor, it will be difficult for the driver to know whether the tire is under-inflated or under-inflated to avoid increasing the friction of the road surface with the tire, leading to more fuel consumption. If the tire pressure is always maintained at standard level, you can save up to 2-3% on gas consumption.

Make the driver feel comfortable

Improper tire pressure can affect the vehicle’s performance and stability, as well as make the driver feel uncomfortable, even dangerous.

If the tires are too inflated, the vehicle will shake due to the impact of the road, and the driver will have difficulty controlling the steering wheel. On the contrary, if the tire is underinflated, it will increase the friction with the road surface and the car will lose its speed. Finally, an imbalance tire pressures causes the vehicle to lose its balance, especially when braking or on rough roads.

Thanks to the TPMS, the driver can monitor the pressure of each wheel regularly, ensuring that the readings are always at the standard level. Since then, the risk of accidents is limited, the driver is more comfortable.

tpms sensor replacement
Photo: Shutterstock

Reduced wear and tear on vehicle components

The wear and tear of some car parts are inevitable if the tire pressure is not up to standard for a long time. The shock absorber system is affected by the load from the chassis system with the overinflated tires. In addition, the tire structure is bent beyond the elastic threshold in the case of an underinflated tire.

The bond between rubber and the core layer of hemp fabric, bearing steel, is also lost due to tire pressure. This will easily cause a tire explosion.

The effect of car tire pressure sensors on the safety and durability of the vehicle is something no one can deny. While TPMS can give accurate warnings, car owners should periodically and manually check the air pressure while mastering how to change a tire pressure sensor with full notice.

How To Replace TPMS Sensors

Using the faulty tire pressure monitoring system will not bring you and your driving experience any good, both in the short and long term. If noticing any problem occurring with or without notice, here is our guide on how to replace a tire pressure sensor effectively.

Note that there are several ways to remove and replace a tire pressure sensor, depending on your situation. This guidance is for those who want to do it at home without professional support or people who don’t want to spend the money to remove all four sensors at once.

However, we recommend you not attempt to replace your TPMS sensors yourself if you still find things blurry in some aspects. And overall, professional technicians are better equipped to do this job properly. 

Step 1. Release the old tire pressure monitoring sensor

The first thing you need to do is release the old sensor from its place. You will be able to release it using your socket and ratchet set. Make sure to remove any parts that will be replaced by the new sensor to avoid putting old and possibly damaged connections onto your new TPMS sensor.

First, you release the valve core using the remover tool and then flatten the car tire. Take out the bolt that attaches the sensor to the tire and then push the sensor into the tire rim.

how to replace a TPMS sensor without a tire machine
Make sure to insert the sensor properly into the base of the tire. Photo: Erik Mclean / Pexels

Step 2. Remove the old sensor

Use the tire iron to pry open and pull the top half of the bead off completely. Then, to remove the sensor, first put your hand inside the tire and feel around until you find the sensor. Grab and pull it out afterward.

Take the old tire pressure sensor out and dispose it, or use it for replacement parts. Place the tire bead on the rim.

Step 3. Install the new TPMS sensor

Take the gasket of the rebuilding kit and place it into the valve of the new tire pressure sensor. Push the tire down just before the valve stem gap on the wheel rim. Before the tire touches the wheel rim, push it down so the valve stem gap will be on the rim.

Next, push down the sensor into the valve hole and hold it firmly with your hand. Re-apply the washer you have detached from the old sensor by aligning it with the ratchet set, then tighten it. You can find the correct pressure parameter suitable for the torque screwing device.

Adjust the wrench so that it is snug against the sensor grommet. Then tighten the grommet part of the sensor until it is secure. Once you complete replacing the new tire PSI sensor, inflate the tire to its usual height and configure the alternate system.

You will then see the display screen indicating the correct amount of tire pressure at that moment. If nothing shows up, check the connection and interaction between parts or reach the professionals in no time. 

Tips To Buy A TPMS Sensor For A Long Service Life

After grasping how to replace a TPMS sensor properly, look at some buying tips to avoid having to find and buy a new one in just a short period of use. 

Currently, on the market, there are many different types of tire pressure sensors, drivers should choose products of clear origin, reputable brands and prioritize ones with the following features.

Water-resistant

Prioritize a product that is water resistant to ensure that the TPMS device will not be damaged if the vehicle is in rain or inclement weather. The monitoring sensor system with proofed IP67 standard can withstand water to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes and also has a high level of dust resistance.

Use of solar energy

Instead of using conventional batteries, car owners can prioritize using solar-powered TPMS devices. Harnessing the power of the sun will help save money and time. You don’t have to worry about interruption due to battery drain when using a car with high frequency.

Durability

Durability or longevity is a criterion for evaluating product quality, and so does the TPMS. You should choose tire pressure sensors made from quality materials such as stainless steel, rubber, and lithium-ion batteries to avoid any TPMS sensor replacement in the future.

Accuracy

A good TPMS tire pressure sensor product will report correct and accurate results the first time. So before deciding to buy, users should use it directly to ensure that the product provides accurate parameters.

Simple installation

The sensor valve has a structure like a key. At each end of the valve, there will be a vortex. When installing, remove the tire and install it directly on the wheels. The sensor valve body has symbols with 4 tires. Drivers can install it without professional help, but only when capable.

Final Words

It is natural to wonder whether the TPMS system is well-handled and qualified or not. Because everyone wants to equip their automobile with the most advanced and quality accessories, ensuring the highest safety for both passengers and vehicles.

The above article has introduced to readers and interested customers all the vital information on how to replace a TPMS sensor and a few tips to choose the best sensor system in car. 

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