How to Reset the Tire Pressure Sensor - CarsDirect
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How to Reset the Tire Pressure Sensor – CarsDirect

the national highway traffic safety administration (nhtsa) requires that all models of cars and light trucks after 2008 be equipped with a tire pressure sensor system. This law was enacted due to the high accident and fatality rate of cars and trucks with over-inflated and under-inflated tires that were involved in tire blowouts or rollover accidents.

direct or indirect monitoring system

There are two types of tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS): direct and indirect. each tire pressure system monitors the tire pressure within each tire and alerts the driver of low tire pressure (25 percent or more below or above the recommended inflation pressure); however, the two systems monitor that pressure in two different ways.

Reading: How to connect tire pressure sensor

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direct tpms are most commonly used in the united states. The sensors are located on the tire pressure valve, which acts like an antenna, or are wrapped around the wheel rim with a band clamp. these devices transmit the information to an on-board computer. however, these devices can upset a tire’s balance and can corrode in inclement weather.

indirect tpms are used more frequently in europe. The sensors are located within the ABS brake system and/or the speed sensors for each wheel. they monitor the rotational speed of the wheels to detect any changes, as run-flat tires are smaller and rotate faster. Although they do not affect tire balance or corrode, they should be reset with a scan tool each time the tires are replaced or rotated.

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Tire Pressure Sensor Reset

  • determine the type of tpms system. if your car uses a direct system, resetting the tire pressure sensors can be as simple as pressing a reset button on the dash or follow a menu as outlined in your owner’s manual. If your car uses an indirect system, the system needs to be reset with a magnet or scan tool by a dealer or one you purchased yourself. some systems have a reset button inside the glove box that must be pressed and held for three seconds with the ignition on.
  • inflate the tires. make sure all tires are properly inflated. remember that you are resetting the sensors to “zero”, so all tires must be properly inflated; otherwise the sensors will not calibrate properly and your readings will be incorrect.
  • check the battery. If your car uses a battery to power the sensor, make sure it’s not dead. it is a good idea to replace the battery every five years. sometimes this requires replacing the entire sensor unit as the battery is built in.
  • recalibrate the transponders. each wheel has its own transponder. turning the wheels changes the location of each responder and the tpms must learn their new locations. This relearn procedure differs from vehicle to vehicle, but can be found in the TPMS chart in your manual or online. it’s a good idea to change the valve stems when you buy new tires if the valve stems are also the tire pressure sensors.
  • use the magnet method. with the key on but the engine off, press the lock and unlock buttons on the key fob. after an initial chirp, place a magnet over each of the valve stems until the horn pops out for each in this order: front left, front right, rear right, and rear left. verify that the pressure readings are showing in the driver information center.
  • use the scan tool method. if the sensors are not replaced, you can follow the prompts from the menu for the tpms reprogramming procedure listed in the owner’s manual.
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