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TPMS FAQs - Aftermarket

Since TPMS systems use Radio Frequency (RF) technology to transmit pressure data, is it possible they could be hacked or "fooled"?
Direct TPMS systems utilize radio frequency (RF) technology to transmit pressure data and other information to the vehicle's electronic control unit (ECU). RF-based TPMS systems provide a reliable and safe indication of tire pressure to the driver. The likelihood of an unscrupulous individual(s) creating a situation where they would hack into a sensor and "fool" the TPMS system is extremely unlikely, as is a scenario where a driver's location could be intercepted and identified. Direct TPMS systems, like Schrader's, are embedded in millions of vehicles in the U.S. and globally, operating as intended and keeping drivers safe. See Schrader's technical response on the RF-security topic. For more information, go to the "Wireless Security" page or read the Modern Tire Dealer article "Fear not: Wireless car hacking through the TPMS is extremely unlikely."

Why is my role in servicing TPMS-equipped vehicles so important?
TPMS can save lives. NHTSA estimates that underinflated tires are attributed to crashes that result in 660 fatalities and 33,000 injuries each year. NHTSA also estimates that, when all passenger vehicles are equipped with TPMS, it will reduce the number of annual motor vehicle crash fatalities by about 120 and the annual number of injuries by about 8,500.

What sensor and/or service pack should be used on the particular vehicle I'm working on?
Sensors and service packs are unique to the vehicle. Please reference the Schrader® Application Guide or TIA® TPMS Relearn Chart for the specific sensor and/or service pack required (and part number) for the vehicle you are currently working on.

How can I get an application guide?
You may request a copy of the Schrader® TPMS Sensor & Service Pack Application Catalog by clicking the "Talk to Us" link above.

I am working on a vehicle. Where can I buy a sensor for that particular vehicle?
Schrader® TPMS products are available from a wide base of authorized distributors. Please see the Schrader Authorized Distributor List (also at TPMSMadeEasy.com) for complete details.

My car won't recognize my sensors, what do I do?

  • Ensure that the sensor is being utilized in the correct application.
  • Check battery life of sensors to make sure the sensors are fully operational.
  • Refer to TPMS training materials for more detailed information.

How do I relearn my sensors?
Please refer to the Mitchell1® guide or the TIA® TPMS Relearn Chart for all proper relearn procedures.

How do I update my scan/learn tool?
Updating your scan/learn tool to the latest software takes just several easy steps. Refer to the Owner's Manual of your scan/learn for updating instructions.

How do I replace the battery in my scan/learn tool?
Remove the rubber boot for your scan/learn tool to reveal a door in the back where the battery is located.

What is the cost of a particular part, sensor, or service pack?
Pricing is available via your Schrader® sales team and/or submit your specific question by clicking the "Talk to Us" link above.

How can I get training on TPMS?
Proper training is a key component to a highly-efficient TPMS program at your service location or center (in addition to the right sensors, service packs, and tools (torque & scan). You can access video training on TPMS procedures (available in English, Spanish, and French), as well as a custom Schrader® training presentation.

If you would like to discuss your specific training requirements, please send us that information via the "Talk to Us" link.

How do I know if a vehicle is equipped with direct TPMS?

  • Check the vehicle owner's manual.
  • Lighted universal symbol on the dash (when vehicle is in the "On" position).
  • Use the learn & test scan tool.

Remember, visually, a snap-in TPMS sensor looks very similar to a standard tubeless tire valve (TTV). Always check the owner's manual or turn the ignition on and look for the universal TPMS symbol to determine if the vehicle has TPMS.

What should I be replacing on a TPMS-equipped vehicle? What's included in a service pack?
Service packs provide the sealing components for each applicable sensor (clamp-in or snap-in) and can be replaced just as valve stems are today. Each time a clamp-in sensor is removed from the rim hole, the grommet, nut, nickel-plated core, and cap and any other components supplied in the service pack should be replaced. Snap-in sensors should also have their rubber insert replaced each time the sensor is removed from the rim hole. The inserts should be replaced just as a standard valve stem is today.

Why is it important to replace all components within the service pack?

  • Rubber grommets replace old seals that may have taken permanent compression set.
  • The valve stem nut replaces the old nut which may have been over-torqued and contain invisible hairline fractures.
  • Nickel-plated valve cores prevent galvanic corrosion and insure integrity of the primary seal.
  • The valve cap with seal prevents dirt and moisture from entering the sensor and also acts as a secondary pressure seal. Old valve caps may have a seal that is compressed or missing.
  • The washer (if included) replaces the old washer, which may also have hairline cracks from over-tightening.

What are the different types of direct TPMS sensors?

  • Fixed clamp in angle design
  • Adjustable clamp in angle design
  • Rubber snap-in design
  • Run flat design
  • Band mounted design

What complete set of items do I need in order to properly service TPMS?
Schrader® provides a complete portfolio of TPMS products, including sensors and valves, service packs, scan/learn tools, manual torque tools, and accessories (storage cabinet, point-of-sale materials, and more). Also, note, proper training is critical for successful integration of TPMS into your service operation.

Do I need to know a specific torque to apply?
Yes, proper torque for the mounting nut, valve core, and attachment screws is critical for all facets of proper TPMS installation and sealing. Schrader® supplies calibrated torque tools for all necessary torque requirements. Torque requirements can also be found in the Mitchell1® guide or TIA® Relearn Chart.

Can I use brass valve cores with aluminum TPMS sensors?
To prevent galvanic corrosion, NEVER use a brass valve core with an aluminum TPMS sensor. Instead, ALWAYS use a nickel-plated valve core with an aluminum TPMS sensor.

What types of damage should I be looking for as I inspect a TPMS sensor?

  • Broken casing
  • Broken antenna
  • Tire sealant clogging holes
  • Internal and external thread damage
  • Galvanic corrosion

Do different TPMS sensors require different steps for mounting and dismounting?
Yes. The Mitchell1® guide defines the proper procedure for tire mounting and dismounting of each type of direct TPMS sensor. Always refer to the Mitchell1® guide for reference when it comes to proper mounting and dismounting procedures.

Can the TPMS system be bypassed?
No, an independent installer cannot intentionally disable the TPMS safety system. If the system is not fully functional or any tire(s) more than 25% below placard pressure, the warning light must be illuminated.

Under 49 U.S.C. 30122(b) the law reads, "A manufacturer, distributor, dealer, or motor vehicle repair business may not knowingly make inoperative any part of a device or element of design installed on or in a motor vehicle or a motor vehicle equipment in compliance with an applicable motor vehicle safety standard..."

Can I insert tire sealant or other fluids in tires with TPMS sensors inside?
Some tire manufacturers and TPMS sensor manufacturers do not support the use of tire sealants. The use of any liquid or tire sealant injected into tires equipped with tire pressure sensors is not recommended and may cause the tire pressure sensors to malfunction.

What are common scenarios in which I would need to replace the TPMS sensor?
There are three primary reasons why sensors may need to be replaced:

  • Battery life–sensors have an estimated life of 10 years or 100,000 miles.
  • Damage–sensors can also be damaged from accidents, pot holes or striking a curb, driving on a flat tire or flat tire repair.
  • Corrosion–sensors or sensor stems can be damaged by corrosion from road salts, moisture, missing valve caps or galvanic corrosion. The use of dissimilar metals or use of non-TPMS components can result in galvanic corrosion, which may affect the sensor's ability to read or transmit data.

I just purchased a Schrader® TPMS retrofit kit and the display is alerting me that one or more of the sensors has a low battery. What can I do?

  • Replace batteries in the receiver to ensure you are getting a strong signal.
  • If you are still getting a low battery notification you may have a defective sensor.
  • Refer back to the selling entity for possible return of the defective sensor.
Are You Ready?
Click on the "Talk to Us" link above if you haven't found the answers you need. And for a printable version of these FAQs, click here.