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The Tools and Manuals Needed to Service Today’s TPMS


/>In general, a good TPMS tool should have the following features, according to Bartec: the ability to audit the vehicle before the wheel is broken down; the ability to know all of the different low frequency wakeup patterns to transmit and activate the sensors on each type of make/­model/year combination; and the ability to establish whether each sensor is working or not.

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This last point is an important first step because the legislation we have so far dictates that the moment the wheel is broken down, the responsibility for fixing the problem passes directly to you, the dealer.

Staying On Top
Note that most brands of TPMS tools have upgrades. This is vital since there are over 150 specifications of systems currently installed in vehicles in North America. Although the first TPMS was fitted in 1998, there are new systems emerging right now and being adopted by OEMs and the aftermarket on a routine basis.

Manuals, like those provided by Mitchell1 and AutoData, can guide you through the maze of TPMS installations and all manner of things having to do with repairing, resetting and installing these units. In fact, so valuable are these manuals, we don’t believe any tire dealer can operate without one or both.

They are virtually indispensable, so grab your checkbook and then relax, knowing you’ll have all the answers you need.

Again, since there is no common standard for a TPMS sensor, we now have to deal with a range of variations including frequencies, modulation, data structure, common protocols, mechanical fitment and other factors. It’s a wonder we’ve made it this far without a lawsuit.


No doubt we need a more standardized sensor and system. NHTSA hoped that customer (OEM) preference would steer sensor makers to one standard, like the great video tape battle between VHSand Beta. There has been some movement, but it has been quite slow.

Of course, there is no need to rush headlong into this – careful study is needed first. Eventually one will be needed to protect the consumer, the tire dealer, the tiremaker and OEM.

Of course, we can’t possibly cover every TPMS tool available in one column, so look for more information on this subject in coming months.

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