Procedures to Reset Tire Pressure

by Jody L. Campbell

Since the mandatory implementation of tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) in 2007 for all vehicles under 10,000 pounds, vehicle owners have discovered a new troubleshooting problem. Equipped with internal or external sensors, the TPMS systems now alert the driver when a tire is low. Some vehicles employ a complex interior design to show the tire pressure in each tire, while others simply indicate a problem in the system when a tire is low. Because different vehicles and designs employ different TPMS systems for tire pressure, there's no simple solution to resetting the system.

Reset Procedures

Most vehicles in the U.S. use a direct TPMS system to regulate air inflation in the tires. Even though the TPMS systems are fairly new, this is already an antiquated system due to problematic side effects. While some vehicles simply relearn once driven at certain speeds for a short period of time, others may require a magnetic scan tool to reprogram the pressure and position of the tire. These vehicles can make the seemingly mundane task of rotating tires convoluted. Other vehicles may employ a simple reset button once the tire pressure has been adjusted and the tires are repositioned, while others require a procedure to release air from a particular tire in sequence and then readjust the air pressure to begin the reset process. Because of the lack of standardization with direct TPMS systems, the best way to learn how to reset the TPMS system for you vehicle is to obtain a quality repair manual or a TPMS guide. This will help you discover if a tool or certain procedure is required to properly reset the TPMS system

Direct TPMS

The direct TPMS systems employ a sensor to each wheel in the form of a tire pressure valve or are wrapped around the rim with a band clamp. These sensors directly monitor the pressure to the individual tires and then transmit the information to the computer in the vehicle. If an irregularity is detected, a warning light illuminates to alert the driver that a problem is apparent. This can even include full-size spares on some models. The problem with direct TPMS sensors is their weight. Although only a couple of ounces, they can easily throw off the tire balance, making it difficult to true the tire and rim connection for road travel. Another problem with the direct TPMS system is corrosion. Vehicles that drive in severe weather conditions and employ aluminum wheels may find that sand- and salt-covered roadways have deteriorated the sensor. This is discovered once the tire needs to be changed for regular maintenance. At approximately $100 or more a piece to replace, the driver absorbs the cost of the compromised sensor in addition to the new tire replacement.

Indirect TPMS

Indirect TPMS systems have been in place in Europe for the past few years. These sensors are external and are integrated with the ABS braking system and/or the speed sensors on each wheel. Because they're not directly attached to each wheel, they pose a lesser threat to the balancing of the tire and are not as susceptible to corrosion. Indirect TPMS systems often require scan tools to reset and relearn the tire pressure and position of each tire. This system is becoming more popular for their beneficial procedures and less troubleshooting. It may also provide standardization to the conundrum of resetting the TPMS systems on all vehicles.

About the Author

Jody L. Campbell spent over 15 years as both a manager and an under-car specialist in the automotive repair industry. Prior to that, he managed two different restaurants for over 15 years. Campbell began his professional writing career in 2004 with the publication of his first book.