Tire pressure sensor question (how to tell if sensor(s) have low/dead battery)?
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    1. #1
      Junior Member marvinmartian's Avatar
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      Tire pressure sensor question (how to tell if sensor(s) have low/dead battery)?

      Do they report differently when the battery dies? I had it go off last night, checked pressure and everything was within 2lbs of each other. Reinflated all to 36psi (after driving so tires were still warm). Drove 15mi to work and warning light is still on. Checked tire pressure and they are all still w/i 2lbs of each other, maybe 3.

      It's possible I have a small leak, nail or screw or something. But I want to rule out a bad sensor and I'm not sure how offhand. EG., I think my wife's Subie has a different warning if a sensor is bad vs. actual low tire pressure.
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    3. #2
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      This is a good question! Mine are fine right now but my car was manufactured late 2010. That puts 9 years on these batteries which, from a quick goggle search, is about the life expectancy of them. I'm due for new tires soon so was thinking about having them replaced as well. I'm assuming the batteries themselves can't be changed.
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    4. #3
      Member Veefifty T5AWD's Avatar
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      I'm pretty sure techs have a tool that can try to "read" each sensor individually. This would tell them if one is bad.
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      Junior Member Major Error's Avatar
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      This exact question crossed my mind late last week Thursday when the overnight temperatures dropped under 50 for a second time and my warning came on. Turns out I was uniformly at -5#, so I filled back up to 38; the warning light didn't turn off until late Friday on the way home from work. Temp was in the 60s, and I'd put maybe 30 miles on since adding air.

      The electronics package of the sensor is essentially a sealed unit, so changing batteries is pretty much out of the question. FWIW, I just looked at Tire Rack--they have unbranded 433MHZ sensors (for my '14) for $45/ea.
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    7. #5
      Member Veefifty T5AWD's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Major Error View Post

      The electronics package of the sensor is essentially a sealed unit, so changing batteries is pretty much out of the question. FWIW, I just looked at Tire Rack--they have unbranded 433MHZ sensors (for my '14) for $45/ea.
      I bought my sensors from Amazon for about $30/each https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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    8. #6
      Junior Member marvinmartian's Avatar
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      I see a bunch of tools on Amazon that can apparently talk to various sensors, but I'm not sure which one(s) would work with my particular ones (steel stem, not rubber like the newer ones).

      https://www.amazon.com/JDiag-Relearn.../dp/B076KL82JP
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      I had my low pressure tire sensor activate on my 2018 S60 which showed which tire was low. I checked the tire and found a nail. After I had the tire patch completed I ran the tire calibration in mycar and after driving the car home the low tire pressure warning disappeared.

      Did you run the tire pressure calibration after inflating your tires?




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    10. #8
      Member Veefifty T5AWD's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by vr2660 View Post
      I had my low pressure tire sensor activate on my 2018 S60 which showed which tire was low. I checked the tire and found a nail. After I had the tire patch completed I ran the tire calibration in mycar and after driving the car home the low tire pressure warning disappeared.

      Did you run the tire pressure calibration after inflating your tires?




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      I think the tire calibration feature is limited to the newer models that no longer used actual sensors but rather some sort of rotation-based system which eliminated the need for these lame sensors. OP has a 2011.
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      I’m a first time Volvo owner so thanks for clarifying that.


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    12. #10
      I’m an early 2011 S60 T6 owner. I know next to nothing about what the details are around my tpms, or about Volvo tpms and maintenance thereof. Subscribing with interest.
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    13. #11
      Junior Member Major Error's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Veefifty T5AWD View Post
      I think the tire calibration feature is limited to the newer models that no longer used actual sensors but rather some sort of rotation-based system which eliminated the need for these lame sensors. OP has a 2011.
      Correct. Most commonly this is accomplished with the ABS wheel-speed sensors...
      (edit: Those of us with the old in-wheel sensor will have the solid (aluminum) valve-stem.)
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      They'll set fault codes if the battery is low. If I have a problem where I suspect a bad sensor, I check the codes and if there are codes, I can read the sensor ID that set it and then use a tool to read the sensors individually to find the sensor. Without those tools, not much you can do.

    15. #13
      Sorry if this is slightly off topic but while we have the ear of some very knowledgeable people: How easy is it to replace the sensors or sensor batteries on a 2011, when that time comes? Can it be done without having to dismount the tires off the wheels themselves? Can sensors be transferred to any new wheel or does a new set of wheels require new sensors?
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    16. #14
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      Quote Originally Posted by Bunnspeed View Post
      Sorry if this is slightly off topic but while we have the ear of some very knowledgeable people: How easy is it to replace the sensors or sensor batteries on a 2011, when that time comes? Can it be done without having to dismount the tires off the wheels themselves? Can sensors be transferred to any new wheel or does a new set of wheels require new sensors?
      Changing the sensors requires removing the tire from the wheel.

      While it's technically possible to remove a sensor from one wheel and install it in another, the general recommendation I've seen is always to simply replace the sensor rather than re-use it.
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    17. #15
      Junior Member marvinmartian's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Tech View Post
      They'll set fault codes if the battery is low. If I have a problem where I suspect a bad sensor, I check the codes and if there are codes, I can read the sensor ID that set it and then use a tool to read the sensors individually to find the sensor. Without those tools, not much you can do.
      Yeah, I think the tools to read the older sensors (aluminum stem) are like $150+ on Amazon. Not sure if it's worth it.

      You'd think they would generate a different message to the dash/sensus when the battery is low vs just low tire pressure. Maybe the newer ones do. *sigh*

      EDIT: ok maybe a bit less than $150, but still.

      https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AERMVYC
      Last edited by marvinmartian; 10-16-2019 at 02:52 PM.
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    18. #16
      Junior Member Sysyphus61's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by zenmervolt View Post
      Changing the sensors requires removing the tire from the wheel.

      While it's technically possible to remove a sensor from one wheel and install it in another, the general recommendation I've seen is always to simply replace the sensor rather than re-use it.
      Presumably that would be a recommendation from someone who profits from the sale of TPMS sensors
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    19. #17
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      Quote Originally Posted by Sysyphus61 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by zenmervolt View Post
      Changing the sensors requires removing the tire from the wheel.

      While it's technically possible to remove a sensor from one wheel and install it in another, the general recommendation I've seen is always to simply replace the sensor rather than re-use it.
      Presumably that would be a recommendation from someone who profits from the sale of TPMS sensors
      Fair. Though I think also most people will have a set of tires last for about the expected lifespan of a tpms sensor so rather than transfer 5+ year old sensors that are likely to have their batteries die before new tires are needed it's just better to replace the sensor than risk it. Obviously it's a different calculus if you're dealing with relatively fresh sensors.
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    20. #18
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      Quote Originally Posted by marvinmartian View Post
      I see a bunch of tools on Amazon that can apparently talk to various sensors, but I'm not sure which one(s) would work with my particular ones (steel stem, not rubber like the newer ones).

      https://www.amazon.com/JDiag-Relearn.../dp/B076KL82JP
      I own a tool, it will tell you,


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    21. #19
      Junior Member marvinmartian's Avatar
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      Pumped up to 36 while cold today. That did the trick. I seem to remember reading someplace before as well ... pump them up when cold to get the warning light off. Doing it while warm won't do the trick. This is of course assuming you don't actually have a leak.

      So I'm back in business until one of the batteries actually fails. Maybe get one of the $135 devices in the meantime. Sadly, local indie shop wants $300+ per wheel to change out ... which motivates me to keep mine as long as possible.
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    22. #20
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      Quote Originally Posted by Tech View Post
      They'll set fault codes if the battery is low. If I have a problem where I suspect a bad sensor, I check the codes and if there are codes, I can read the sensor ID that set it and then use a tool to read the sensors individually to find the sensor. Without those tools, not much you can do.
      SO it's just stored fault codes? No message on the DIM stating TPMS Service Required?
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    23. #21
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      Quote Originally Posted by marvinmartian View Post
      Pumped up to 36 while cold today. That did the trick. I seem to remember reading someplace before as well ... pump them up when cold to get the warning light off. Doing it while warm won't do the trick. This is of course assuming you don't actually have a leak.

      So I'm back in business until one of the batteries actually fails. Maybe get one of the $135 devices in the meantime. Sadly, local indie shop wants $300+ per wheel to change out ... which motivates me to keep mine as long as possible.
      I wouldn't waste your money on a scan tool for $135 unless you want to start a business diagnosing TPMS systems or unless you can mount and balance tires yourself. Just replace all of them. A new set of sensors can be purchased for less than $100.
      https://www.amazon.com/Mobiletron-TX...7-9614a0be8bbe

      $300/tire is ridiculous! Sensor $20. Mounting balancing $15-$20. It shouldn't cost more that $50-$60/tire. Who is this indie in NoVA?
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    24. #22
      Junior Member marvinmartian's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by ecoDrive View Post
      $300/tire is ridiculous! Sensor $20. Mounting balancing $15-$20. It shouldn't cost more that $50-$60/tire. Who is this indie in NoVA?
      They're a good shop and I don't want to "rat them out" for the high price. They charge around $125 for the sensor and don't install customer parts. So the price goes up. I think the new sensors do need some kind of programming too, but I have no first hand knowledge.

      I'll probably just go to a decent tire shop to do mounting / balancing when the time comes. Do you happen to know a good shop in NoVA? The one I used to use near me (Manassas or Herndon) moved to a less convenient spot. Since my sensors seem fine right now I'll likely wait. I think I have at least another year (maybe two) left on my Conti DWS 06s. They stopped making as much noise a couple of weeks after I rotated, but if they start again I may change sooner. :-)
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      Quote Originally Posted by marvinmartian View Post
      Do you happen to know a good shop in NoVA? The one I used to use near me (Manassas or Herndon) moved to a less convenient spot. Since my sensors seem fine right now I'll likely wait. I think I have at least another year (maybe two) left on my Conti DWS 06s. They stopped making as much noise a couple of weeks after I rotated, but if they start again I may change sooner. :-)
      I used BJ's Wholesale club for my current set of tires, Michelin. They usually have a deal with free mounting and balancing, tire rotations and road hazard warranties. Not sure how they handle TPMS sensor though. I have to get at least two new tires before winter and will be changing out these sensors this time around. I'll have to call them to see how they handle these. I've also used Mr Tire and they have fair pricing as well.
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    26. #24
      Junior Member meade18's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by marvinmartian View Post
      They're a good shop and I don't want to "rat them out" for the high price. They charge around $125 for the sensor and don't install customer parts.
      Dude. A brand new sensor on for your car is $66 on Tire Rack. RockAuto has them for half that. You should be disgusted that your shop wants to charge more than $100 for each sensor installed. $300 is a slap in the face. Go to a place that specializes in tires. No need to go to your indy for tires if they are going to rip you off.
      Last edited by meade18; 10-17-2019 at 03:47 PM.
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    27. #25
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      Quote Originally Posted by meade18 View Post
      Dude. A brand new sensor on for your car is $66 on Tire Rack. RockAuto has them for half that. You should be disgusted that your shop wants to charge more than $100 for each sensor installed. $300 is a slap in the face. Go to a place that specializes in tires. No need to go to your indy for tires if they are going to rip you off.
      Yeah, I get being loyal to a good shop, but I agree - this sounds like robbery!
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    28. #26
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      Quote Originally Posted by Major Error View Post
      Correct. Most commonly this is accomplished with the ABS wheel-speed sensors...
      (edit: Those of us with the old in-wheel sensor will have the solid (aluminum) valve-stem.)
      Didn't know this, so I learned something. Our '16 S60 indicated all 4 tires were low and I checked them and inflated them to the proper pressure. Didn't realize they have a 'Tire Calibrate' function, did that and the message went away. Our '13 XC60 doesn't have it. I almost scheduled a trip to the dealer for that.
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    29. #27
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      Quote Originally Posted by Config View Post
      Didn't know this, so I learned something. Our '16 S60 indicated all 4 tires were low and I checked them and inflated them to the proper pressure. Didn't realize they have a 'Tire Calibrate' function, did that and the message went away. Our '13 XC60 doesn't have it. I almost scheduled a trip to the dealer for that.
      Pretty sure '15.5 or '16 was the first year this was available. I don't have it in my '15.
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    30. #28
      Junior Member meade18's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Veefifty T5AWD View Post
      Pretty sure '15.5 or '16 was the first year this was available. I don't have it in my '15.
      It was 2015.5. I have a 2015.5 and I have the passive TPS. My stock wheels had the rubber valve stem and I have the recalibrate option under My Car settings.
      Last edited by meade18; 10-18-2019 at 04:05 PM.
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    31. #29
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      Funny this thread popped up; my '08 had the light pop up the other day. TPs were 32 hot, so pumped them up to 35 (doh!) TPMS light stayed on. Pumped them up cold (from 32 to 35). Light stayed on. A day later, it went out. I figure one of them might be going out and if it goes out all the way, will order one from FCP Euro and bring it in to R2 it.
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    32. #30
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      Before doing anything else, go into the MyCar menu and find you can recalibrate the tire pressure sensors. This took me a while to find, as the menu item only is offered just after starting up vehicle (while remaining in Park). Then you drive a few minutes...if they sensors are all in range, the warning should extinguish.

      To answer your question, when all the TPMS sensors are reporting in pressures, you see a "Tire Pressure Low" warning. If a sensor is no longer reporting in, you get a "Tire Pressure System Needs Service" (paraphrasing).
      Last edited by pbierre; 10-23-2019 at 07:01 PM.

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