TPMS sensor is one of the tiniest but most important parts of your vehicle. TPMS stands for Tire Pressure Monitor Sensor which is installed in the tires. It measures the tire pressure and sends the information to the onboard computer, which is also called as Electronic Control Unit (ECU). Using radiofrequency technology, it sends the information to ECU.
This is important. Getting the signals, the ECU makes the necessary and related adjustments. When there is no signal, the ECU can’t make adjustments if necessary. This will result in malfunction or even accidents.
So, you’ll have to replace the battery whenever it is dead. But before doing that, you should know that the battery is dead. Right?
How to Know that The TPMS Sensor Battery is Dead?
TPMS sends a signal to the ECU continuously after a certain gap. When it misses transmitting a few signals continuously, ECU becomes aware of it. After losing a few more transmissions, ECU sends you a signal telling you that there is some problem in the TPMS. Typically, ECU lights up and blinks the TPMS icon to let you know that there is some issue with TPMS.
However, blinking the TPMS icon doesn’t mean that the battery is dead. There could be other problems in TPMS. But in most cases, this means that you need to replace your TPMS or its battery.
However, as it can be caused by other issues, before deciding that you’ll need battery replacement, try resetting the sensor.
How to Reset TPMS Sensor?
Resetting the TPMS sensor is really easy. All you need to know is the location of the TPMS reset button. The button is generally situated underneath the steering wheel. Check there. In some cases, the position is different. Check your vehicle’s manual to locate the TPMS reset button.
After you find out the reset button, follow the process below-
- Keep the key in the ignition. This will turn on the battery.
- Press the reset button and hold it until the TPMS light/icon flashes. Typically it takes 3-4 seconds. When you see it flashing, release the button.
- Start the vehicle.
- Drive your vehicle at a bit more than moderate speed for 20-25 minutes.
- Turn off the ignition.
This will reset the TPMS of your vehicle. After doing this start your vehicle again after a few minutes. If you still see that the icon is blinking, this means the problem is not solved yet and you might have a TPMS battery issue.
In such a case, you’ll have to replace the TPMS battery.
How to Replace TPMS Sensor Battery?
TPMS sensor is a tiny part of the vehicle system, the battery is tinier. But this tiny part is not so easy to replace. To replace a TPMS sensor battery, you should have some skill as well as a proper understanding of vehicles and electronics. With the skills, you’ll have to have patience, enough time, soldering skills, etc.
When you have the skills and time, and you’re ready to do this, you need to arrange some essentials, like-
- Batteries for your TPMS
- Soldering tabs
- Epoxy two-component adhesive, like- PlastBond, etc.
- Tools for removing tires
When everything is there, you’re ready to start the task.
But, STOP! Do you really want to do this by yourself? This is a risky task and it can destroy the TPMS.
No Problem!! Okay, let’s proceed then.
Step 1- Getting the Sensor in Hand
The very first step is to remove the sensor from the wheel and get that in hand.
To do that, at first you need to get rid of the tire. So, lift the car to a certain height and remove the tire. Unscrew the valve stem to release the air inside. Then, remove the tire fully from the wheel. This can be done in many ways. If you’ve already done this before, obviously you know how to do it. If this is the very first time, check the ways on the internet and use the one that seems most convenient.
Once the tire is detached, check the back of the valve stem. You’ll find the TPMS sensor there attached with a screw. Unscrew it and bring it out. The first step is done properly.
Step 2- Getting Access Inside of the TPMS Sensor
Once you have the sensor in your hand, you’ll see it is just a tiny device. The battery is inside it. So, you’ll have to get access inside to bring out the dead battery.
For this, turn it and look at the rear side of it. The rear side is actually a plastic cover that you should remove. For that, use a screwdriver or something like this with which you can unclip it.
Tip: Be extra careful while doing this. Don’t apply too much pressure because too much pressure can break it.
Step 3- Accessing the Battery
Unclipping the rear cover doesn’t mean that you’ve got access to the battery. To access the battery, there is still a barrier- white paste.
There are two sides of the TPMS sensor- the battery side and the electronic side. You’ll have to remove the white paste of the battery side.
You can do it simply with the support of a screwdriver. But make sure that you’re doing it carefully. Don’t ruin the electronic part.
Step 4- Unsoldering the Battery
Using your skill, check the connections. Find out the connections of the battery. Unsolder it carefully. There is a solder tab at the rear side. Remove that too to completely remove the battery.
Tip: You can remove the electrical part before starting unsoldering. It’ll allow you to work more comfortably with fewer things to focus on.
Step 5- Soldering the New Battery
Once the old battery is removed, it is time to put the new battery. Put it in the place and start soldering.
Do this portion very carefully. A mistake here can be the reason for short-circuit.
After you solder the new one, check the connections again to make sure those are correct and solid. To cross-check the voltage, you can use a multimer.
Tip: Before soldering the new battery, compare it with the old one and check if both have similar voltage. If not, replace it with another battery that has a similar voltage to the old one.
Step 6- Putting the Glue
After soldering, it is time to use the glue to fill the inside again. For this, at first, put some glue inside. Then put the electronic part and the battery inside it. After that, put glue again as the final layer.
After you’ve put sufficient glue inside, put the rear cover in its place and apply ample pressure to attach it again.
The main thing is done. You’ve successfully replaced the battery of the TPMS.
Step 7- Putting the Sensor in Its Place
Use a screwdriver to attach the TPMS sensor in its place. Then, set the tire in its place again and pump it properly.
Step 8- Repeating
Repeat the same process for other tires too.
Thus, you can replace your TPMS sensor battery. However, after you read about the process, you may think that it is a simple task. But it is not at all. You’ll have to have ample knowledge about circuits and vehicle DIY. Otherwise, there is a chance of messing things up.
This is the process I follow. But I suggest going to a mechanic or expert to get this done. It won’t cost you much. But if you do this wrong, maybe you’ll have to spend a huge amount to fix the issue. So, think again before doing it by yourself.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace TPMS Battery?
There is no direct answer to this question because it depends on the place where you’re changing the battery, the make and model of your vehicle, and a few more issues.
Replacing the TPMS battery might cost you from $50 to $120, if you go to a local auto shop. It includes the price of the batteries and service charge. The cost will be more if you go to a renowned place and large garages.
On the other hand, if you do it by yourself at your own garage, it’ll cost the price of the batteries, adhesives, and a lot of your time and concentration.
Is It a Must to Replace TPMS Battery?
TPMS might be a tiny part but it has a great contribution to the safety of your vehicle that you can’t ignore.
When the signal from TPMS is lost, you won’t understand even if your vehicle runs on under-inflated or over-inflated tires. Under-inflated or over-inflated tires can create situations like tire blowout or more dangerous issues.
Thus, avoiding such a situation may blow your good mood and throw you into a dangerous situation. That’s why it is vital to get the job done. Otherwise, you’ll have to spend more to fix tires and other issues.
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How to Keep the TPMS Battery Running for a Long Time?
There are not so many things you can do to make your TPMS battery run for a long time. Measuring tire pressure and sending signals is a continuous process. You don’t have direct control over the process.
So, you have a limited scope of doing something to expand the lifespan of your TPMS sensor battery. Let’s see what those are.
- Driving consistently is a good thing that you can do to save some battery life of your TPMS sensor. The sensors transmit messages to the ECU when the speed is changed. So, if you continue at a constant speed, the necessity of transmitting frequently will be necessary. Thus, the battery will be saved a bit.
- Start-and-stop driving is another thing you should avoid if you want the TPMS batteries to work for a long time. For a similar reason as previously stated, start-and-stop driving drains the battery quicker.
- The weather has an important role in battery life. Hot weather drains the battery quickly while cold weather is comparatively gentle on it. So, try to keep your vehicle in a comparatively cold place. This will reduce some pressure from the battery.
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Answer to a Common Question
There is a common question and confusion about the TPMS sensor and its battery. As we’re talking about the TPMS battery, let’s try to find an answer to that question.
The question is – is it a must to replace the TPMS sensor while changing the tire?
If you ask for my direct opinion, I’d say- Yes. If you have the scope, you should replace the sensors while replacing the battery.
But everything is not such easy. So, let’s dive a bit deep.
TPMS sensors and the batteries are made to last for a long time, to match the service time of the tires. Typically the duration is around 5 to 10 years. However, you may need to replace those before this.
So, if you’re changing the tires because those are worn out, there is a probability that your TPMS sensors are also almost at the end of their life. So, if you wish, you can replace the sensors too. Otherwise, you may need to go to the mechanic again after a few days to replace the sensors.
That’s why, to stay on the safe side, I’ve given a positive answer.
But this will be a safe answer when you replace all four sensors. If you replace only one or two, the new sensors will take time to adapt with old sensors.
The process of adaptation is easy and quick in the case of new makes and models. But for older vehicles, this process is a bit complex and time-consuming, and you’ll have to be involved in the process. You can’t avoid it as this is a must for the TPMS to work properly.
If you want to avoid it, you’ll have to change all 4 sensors.
So the bottom line is- when you change the tires, if it is possible, change all 4 TPMS sensors too. Avoid changing just one or two sensors if your vehicle is an old make and model. But, if the sensors are comparatively newer comparing to the tires, you won’t have to change those.
Hope you’ve got the answer properly.
Now I guess you know when, why, and how to replace the TPMS sensor battery. I’ll suggest getting an expert help as it needs skill, patience, and attention. But if you think you can do it by yourself, try it. Just make sure that you’re being extra careful throughout the process.