TPMS is the Tire Pressure Monitor Sensor (TPMS) that measures the pressure in your car tires. It sends pressure information to the car’s on board computer, which analyses the information and makes the correct adjustments where and when necessary.
The sensor, which looks like a small cylinder, is an electrical component that derives its power through a battery and is located inside a tire where it is attached to the inner part of the rim. You can easily find it by removing the tire from the rim, but first let us help you with all you need to know about TPMS sensor battery replacement.
What is a TPMS Battery?
Mounted inside a tire assembly, Tire Pressure Monitoring Sensors (TPMS) are usually powered by a 3-volt lithium ion or a 1.25-volt nickel metal hybrid battery. Some TPMS sensors use a 1.250-volt nickel metal hybrid battery.
The battery is encased in the sensor’s molded plastic housing. TPMS uses radio frequency (RF) technology to transmit measured tire pressure and sometimes sends the temperature readings to a vehicle’s on-board electronic control unit (ECU).
If the tire pressure in one or more tires is 25% or more below the manufacturers recommended level, then a low tire pressure warning light is turned on, warning the driver of under inflation. You can check here for all you need to know about tire inflation and inflators.
How do I know when my TPMS sensor’s battery is bad or has failed?
If the ECU misses a few sensor transmissions, it can then assume that either an interference or malfunction has occurred within the tire pressure monitoring system. The TPMS light will then turn on to warn the driver of a potential TPMS malfunction.
In most systems, a malfunction in the system will be indicated by a blinking TPMS warning light which blinks for a period of about 60-90 seconds and remain so for a long time.
Other signals to look out for are surging of engine during operation and low battery voltage.
Can I Replace my TPMS Battery without changing the TPMS?
No. Because on most applications, the battery is molded into the TPMS sensor assembly so it cannot be replaced separately.
For now, the batteries have finite lives as they are assembled together with the sensor, a dead or dying one requires the replacement of its entire sensor assembly. As such, a low, depleted or failed TPMS battery is to be changed altogether with the entire TPMS sensor assembly.
How often do TPMS need to be replaced?
The estimated life expectancy of an OE TPMS sensor is 5 to 12 years, with the average lifespan being 7 years. TPMS life expectancy is directly related to the number of radio frequency transmissions the sensors make. Driving habits greatly influence the number of RF transmissions a sensor makes in its lifetime.
How Best Do I Preserve My TPMS Battery?
Sensors usually transmit when the vehicle is stopped and transmit more often when in motion. To ensure that the life-span of your TPMS Battery is prolonged, you need to maintain a constant speed, such as when you’re on a highway, there will be reduction in the demand on TPMS sensors which will allow the sensors to transmit less often.
Drivers who are often in the habit of start-and-stop driving type traffic will have a greater impact on the vehicles tire pressure monitoring sensors and its battery.
Weather in your location can also have an impact on tire pressure sensor battery life. While cold conditions allow batteries to last longer, warmer conditions take more of a toll on TPMS battery life.
How Often And When Do I Replace My TPMS Battery?
If the batteries in one or more of your TPMS sensors has malfunctioned or depleted, we recommend that you contact a local TPMS service technician to carry out a tire pressure monitoring system inspection.
The technician can assess the status of the TPMS sensor and its battery by using a properly formatted TPMS scan tool and then recommend the next line of action(s) to take.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace TPMS Battery?
In the event TPMS sensors need to be replaced, the cost can range from approximately $50-$150 each depending on vehicle type, application or type of sensor.
What Happens When a TPMS Battery Dies?
A failed battery means its sensor is no longer providing protection to the vehicle driver and passengers. Research show that when the sensor experiences a battery failure there is loss of transmission to which an interruption or malfunctioning occurs.
Generally, sensors are designed to transmit data to the computer at regular intervals, usually in minutes. If the computer misses a few sensor transmissions, it assumes interference has occurred and refrains from alarming the driver.
However, if the computer misses several more transmissions, it illuminates the TPMS icon to alert the driver of the malfunction. The time interval taking to alert the driver (which is usually specified in the manual) varies in different types of vehicles.
Do I Need to Replace TPMS When Replacing My Tires?
It depends on the age of the sensors because by the time the tires are worn out, the TPMS sensors may be nearing the end of their useful service life, or they may not have enough remaining battery life to last another set of tires.
The lithium ion batteries inside TPMS sensors may last anywhere from 5 to 10 years but may start to under-report signals which is made possible by the strength of the aging battery.
When TPMS sensors are replaced (either individually or all four at the same time), or when the tires are rotated, the vehicle’s tire pressure monitoring system has to relearn the wheel location of each sensor.
On some newer vehicles, this function occurs automatically when the vehicle is driven. But on most of the older applications, there is a specific learning procedure that must be performed before the TPMS system will operate correctly.
Some of these procedures can be rather lengthy and must be followed exactly otherwise the TPMS system may not learn the correct wheel locations. Many of these procedures require using a magnet or special TPMS service tool to activate the sensors during the relearn procedure.
Some applications may even require a scan tool to enter sensor ID information into the TPMS system. In a nut shell, it is advisable you replace the entire TPMS assembly (with the enclosed battery) when replacing your tires.
We can safely conclude that there cannot be clear separation between the TPMS and its encased battery. Taking proper notice of the signals from the sensor will help you to closely monitor the performance of the battery which will ensure the healthiness of the tires while on the move.
This ultimately will guarantee your own safety as well as others on board with you. We hope you find our TPMS sensor battery replacement explanation informative. If you have a comment or question kindly leave it in the box below, we will be glad to hear from you.