How Does TPMS Work?

A very common question that arises when customers are shopping for tires and wheels relates to the Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS). While they've been around for well over a decade, Federal regulation has mandated vehicle manufacturers provide TPMS as Original Equipment on model year 2008 and newer vehicles. Even though these systems are very prolific in the marketplace, there is still a lot of confusion about how the systems work and what needs to be done when buying new sensors.

In my previous blog post, "What About TPMS Sensors for My Winter Wheels?", I went over the differences between direct and indirect systems. However, what do you do when you purchase new sensors with your Tire & Wheel Package?

When working with an indirect system, you can reset the system from inside the vehicle. If you're changing your wheel's diameter, which is very popular when purchasing a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package, you're going to need to adjust the tire sizing to maintain a similar overall diameter. While Tire Rack makes every attempt to keep the rolling circumference the same, inevitably there may be some small variation. Since the indirect systems are calibrated based on the circumference, even a small variance should be recalibrated.

In the case of the more popular direct system, the computer in the vehicle needs to be informed of the sensor change. The procedure to make this update varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some systems are very straight forward, where you simply drive a short period of time and the sync is automatic. In some cases, you'll be required to go back to the dealership where they will take care of the changeover for you.

To help verify the correct procedure for your application, contact one of our sales specialists. You can also check out our tech article, "Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems Servicing" for further assistance.


Thursday, September 5, 2013 by leland

do you need to change the tpms when you buy new tires.
Monday, September 9, 2013 by Hunter

Hi Leland,
No you do not need to buy new sensors with new tires.

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