How to avoid TPMS sensor signal transmission limitations

How to avoid TPMS sensor signal transmission limitations

Focus on tool positioning, try not to block the signal, avoid RF clashing and double-check the make, model, year and frequency.

Can the response time of a TPMS sensor tell you anything about its battery level?
Yes.

Ha! April fools, we got you… the actual answer is no. Whether a sensor responds rapidly or slowly to the activation tool, it basically consumes the same amount of battery power. As a result, the response time does not correlate with the remaining battery life of the sensor. Let’s talk more about TPMS sensor signal transmissions and how to avoid limitations.

When a sensor is activated by a diagnostic tool or a pressure drop, the signal it transmits is just a fraction of a second long. Whether that response is lightning-fast or a little sluggish, the amount of battery power used doesn’t apply. The sensors are designed to operate within strict FCC regulations, which means their signal strength and duration are standardized. With that being said, an aftermarket sensor is no more powerful than an OEM one when it comes to transmitting.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t factors that can impact response times. Positioning the tool too far from the sensor, interference from other RF signals or even the wrong communication protocol selected on your tool can all lead to delays in getting a reading.

Let’s go through a few tips to ensure you’re getting the quickest response possible, every time.

First up, focus on tool positioning. The sensor cannot reply to an activation signal if the signal doesn’t reach the sensor in the first place. The closer you can get that activator to the sensor itself, the better. Aim for the sidewall just above the valve stem, or if you’re dealing with an offset wheel, try positioning it over the tread area directly above the sensor location.

Also, try not to block the signal. Objects or materials positioned between the tool and the sensor can impede or block the signal, leading to a “sensor not found” message. Metal, in particular, is known to obstruct signals and placing the tool on the valve stem tip or rim enhances the issue. Additionally, the tire type plays a role. Differences in sidewall ply, such as 13-ply versus 7-ply, can create further obstructions, hindering the sensor’s response to tool activation signals.

RF clashing, or the inability to decode RF signals due to simultaneous transmission from multiple sensors within range, is also a common issue to avoid. To avoid this, conduct vehicle relearns and sensor testing in a location away from other vehicles and make sure no other TPMS sensors are nearby to avoid “cross-talk” between the sensors and your tool.

Finally, double-check that you’ve got the right make, model, year and frequency selected for the vehicle’s specific TPMS protocol. If you’re on the wrong settings, you might see some odd behavior or delayed responses.

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more tire, service and shop operations videos.

You May Also Like

Pugh’s Tire exemplifies a tireless commitment to service over four generations

With five retail locations, the third- and fourth generations continue to grow the business the same way the founder did.

stacey-frankie-1400

Stacey and Frankie Pugh, president and VP of Pugh’s Tire in Greenville, North Carolina, are the embodiment of what happens when four generations commit to hard work, customer care, community involvement, and adapt to change. Their Grandpa George Pugh founded Pugh's Tire & Service Center in 1945 as a corner gas station known as George Pugh Shell Station, and in 1962 their father Sammy Pugh became the mastermind in expanding the tire and automotive service side of the business.

The future of TPMS technology

Radio wave sensors have been the standard for all TPMS devices until Tesla began utilizing Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology in 2021.

TR-Continental-Bluetooth-TPMS
Continental’s Total Confidence Plan provides customers with trust in their tire purchase

The Total Confidence Plan is Continental Tire’s coverage plan that comes with the purchase of any Continental passenger or light truck tire.

How to handle false ADAS activation

Many false activations are focused on one malfunctioning sensor. However, with ADAS, the cause of a false activation is likely more mechanical.

TR-Continental-How-to-handle-false-ADAS-activation
Navigating the challenges of performing alignments

By addressing pricing obstacles and communicating the value of your service, you can enhance profitability and retain customer trust.

TR-Continental-The-challenges-of-performing-alignments
Other Posts
Goodyear sells OTR tire business to Yokohama Rubber for $905M

Goodyear will manufacture certain OTR tires for Yokohama at some of its manufacturing locations for an initial period of up to five years.

Goodyear OTR Tire
Everything you ever wanted to know about Formula E tires

Learn how tire technology affects the highest level of all-electric racing from three different perspectives: The president of Hankook Tire North America, a tire engineer, and a Formula E driver.

Hankook-QA-Car-1400
Will AI-powered virtual sensors transform tire maintenance?

Virtual sensors can combine data from various vehicle systems to monitor tire conditions and other safety-related parameters.

Tactile-Mobility---What's-Treading-1400
The future legacy of the automotive aftermarket

Travel a new Road to AAPEX this season.

Road-to-AAPEX-S03-E01-1400x70040-1