Today’sTPMS tools offer many features for tire dealers looking to boostprofits by servicing the systems on customers’ vehicles. First, lookfor a unit that has the ability to audit the vehicle before the wheelis broken down. This entails using the tool to activate and read backthe data from each TPMS sensor. The tool needs to know the differentlow-frequency wake up patterns to transmit in order to activate thesensors on each type of make/model/year combination. It will need avehicle look-up table for all of these combinations.
The toolneeds to establish whether each sensor is working or not. This is animportant first step, since the customer expects the tire dealer to fixany problems. If the sensor doesn’t work before the tire is demounted,you need to be able to prove that fact.
Customers will not acceptthe costs for sensor repair and may attribute any breakage to thedealer if there is no audit trail. One TPMS toolmaker offers thecapability to show the customer the audit results from the screen bydownloading them to a PC and printing the pre-audit. This way a costcan be agreed upon and the go-ahead given before work commences.
Thetool should decode the signal and be able to vary its activation powerlevel according to the TPMS unit fitted. To do this, it will need toknow all of the decode algorithms for all of the different sensors onthe market. This is very important in order to avoid picking up thetransmission of other nearby TPMS sensors, key fobs, etc.
TheTPMS tool should also be able to decode the transmission from thesensor and display the data. This will enable the technician toestablish if the sensor has failed or is not properly fitted, whetherthe high pressure port is blocked, if the part is running at too high atemperature and other diagnostic information, including a potential lowbattery condition on the TPMS.
If a sensor proves faulty or isdamaged, it will need to be replaced. This requires a new sensor to befitted and the ECU to be programmed with its unique ID and its positionon the vehicle. The procedures for all vehicles are illustrated in theMitchel1 TPMS Guide, which shows service requirements, recentprocedures, dismounting/mounting instructions, torque specifications,etc. for all makes, models and years. There is much more to discussregarding TPMS tools. Watch for future coverage in upcoming issues.