NFR TPMS indication

Buzzy

Active Member
#1
Thursday I had Les Schwab swap out the winter tires and wheels on our car - I can make the swap at home but I don't know how to reset the TPMS system so its easier to just drop the car off with the local store and walk home. Two days later the TPMS warning light came on. After shutting the car off for lunch, when I started it back up and began driving, the light started flashing and then stayed on. I stopped by a shop and had the pressure checked. Everything was fine. Leaving this store, the light once again flashed several times and then stayed on. This is the status now, start driving the indicator light flashes then locks on.

The tires and wheels are 2 years and 11 months old and for about seven months a year are stored under my house. I believe I have a faulty TPMS; the car (a 2013 Forester) doesn't indicate which tire is showing the error (false low pressure indication). My "internet" research suggests that a TPMS unit normally lasts 5.5 - 6 years so I've contacted the dealership where I bought the tires/wheels to ask for their "recommendation" and am waiting to hear back. Again with "internet" information, I was shocked to read about replacement costs for these units; installed costs at your automobile dealership - $150 - $180 per tire/wheel*.

A friend of mine (with the same year and model car) had the same problem with his winter wheels. His solution was pretty old school: electrician's tape over the indicator light (@dld - you won't have to deal with this on your cars!). I guess, unless the dealership where I purchased the tires/wheels "gifts" me a replacement TPMS, that I'll be cutting a little piece of tape and periodically checking the air pressure like I did for 50 years before the advent of electronic tire pressure monitoring.


* Note: On line purchase of the units and working with your tire store can cut this cost by a huge margin but......... tape is cheap.

Sorry: zero fishing related.
 
#2
On a recent trip to the Upper Rogue where morning temps were in mid 40’s rising to mid 60’s and then going over the hill to Klamath basin where mornings and evening was dropping into 20’s the TPMS on the Tundra was all jacked up. Going on and staying on after checking with quality gauge I carry. This is the first vehicle I’ve owned with TPMS and I find it worse than useless. Like your Forester, it only indicates a fault, not actual pressure or which tire is off, unlike a GM product I rented a few years ago. I wonder what some of the more recent “nanny devices” such as lane avoidance or automatic braking will cost when they fail.
 
#3
You are correct that a flashing TPMS light is a sign of a sensor issue. If your sensors are OE the dealership should be able to scan them and determine which ones are bad. I wrote service at a Toyota dealer for about 4 years and typically an OE sensor at the a dealership will run about $125 plus mount and balance to remove the tire and programming. I would bet that sensor (assuming you only have one that's bad) will run about $200.

Personally I would just run around with the light on during the winter and check you pressure manually. If the light really bothers you, then buy a set of aftermarket sensors from a tire store. Even with installation and programming a full set of aftermarket sensors will be about the price of one OE sensor.
 
#4
You are correct that a flashing TPMS light is a sign of a sensor issue. If your sensors are OE the dealership should be able to scan them and determine which ones are bad. I wrote service at a Toyota dealer for about 4 years and typically an OE sensor at the a dealership will run about $125 plus mount and balance to remove the tire and programming. I would bet that sensor (assuming you only have one that's bad) will run about $200.

Personally I would just run around with the light on during the winter and check you pressure manually. If the light really bothers you, then buy a set of aftermarket sensors from a tire store. Even with installation and programming a full set of aftermarket sensors will be about the price of one OE sensor.
Truck is still under warranty, if it’s covered I’ll ask them to check them out next service.
Tire Rack sells them for $53 for my Tundra. Reading up on them appears they are “Indirect” type which only warn of a tire, not which one and often only trigger when pressure is off by 20% or more. The Forester may have direct system, but IMHO both are worthless; buy a quality gauge and check tires regularly. Some states that have vehicle inspections require them to be functioning to pass.
 
#5
Great idea SpokaneFisherman! I avoid the "stealership' at all costs. I have a Sienna with 180,000 miles and the tire pressure indicator light is on all the time and the airbag light flashes constantly. I can reset the airbag light if I unplug and plug a connection under the passenger seat.

But you know what? I've actually survived with those things wrong. I can only imagine what the costs would be if I took them to Toyota. I say get an aftermarket set of sensors and roll, baby!
 
#6
Pat, I just checked at rockauto.com and sensor for my Tundra was $32-45 depending on mfr. service kit varied from $1.35 to $7, again depending on mfr.
If you work on own vehicles, they are a source that is very hard to beat in terms of price and I like the fact that for many items there are multiple choices; ie economy, better, oem, performance.
And yes, I avoid the dealer after warranty expires for almost everything.
 

Buzzy

Active Member
#7
Thanks @SpokaneFisherman and @Robert Engleheart - I have a good tire pressure gauge and an air compressor. Subaru says "bring it in today and we will check it out" - the check it out is free. Pretty sure they're not going to gift me a new sensor or sensors so we'll either get used to looking at the light or cover it up with tape and check out the tires like I did before this electronic additive. Thanks for the tip on rockauto.com

So far this part of Central WA doesn't have vehicle inspections .... knock on wood.
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#8
Buzzy, is there a reset button under the dash or somewhere? I had an issue with the tire pressure sensor on a rental Toyota van last month. After manually checking the pressure on all 4 tires, I was able to reset it and turn the warning light off. If the light on my Outback ever malfunctions, I'll just cover it with black electrician's tape if there is no reset button.
 

IveofIone

Active Member
#9
A pox on electronic nannies! The recent spate of electronic nonsense involves lane change warnings (constant unwanted beeping), automatic braking (so you can text safely while driving!), radar cruise control-and yes- the dreaded TPMS. Being electronic all this crap is subject to the usual frailties we have all experienced with electronics and being in a car that we really need to be dependable is even worse.

At latest count I have 27 pneumatic tires around the ranch that all have to be kept up to pressure so a good tire gauge is a necessity along with a compressor. I recently bought a new gauge that is really skookum for under $20-a long way from the replacement cost of a TPMS. Get one and use it, don't rely on the factory senders to be or remain accurate. Proper tire pressure can extend the life of your tires by thousands of miles-money in your pocket.

Buzzy, your truck is an example of how the TPMS should be done right. It shows all four tires on screen with a pressure readout for each one-you can tell in a glance if a tire is low. And mine is accurate within a pound of my skookum tire gauge so I have a lot of confidence in it. But I would still rather not have them at all.
 
#10
Our family's "spare" car for travel and my current car both had this same issue. I check my tire pressure manually. To solve the issue, I invested in a $1.99 roll of electrical tape and covered the light with about 64.9 feet to spare. It's not the classiest solution but it is definitely the cheapest. Whenever I change my tires from winter to all season the light will stay off for about 1000 miles but it comes back so I don't know if resetting it will be much of a help long run in my experience.
 

dflett68

Active Member
#12
Thursday I had Les Schwab swap out the winter tires and wheels on our car - I can make the swap at home but I don't know how to reset the TPMS system so its easier to just drop the car off with the local store and walk home. Two days later the TPMS warning light came on. After shutting the car off for lunch, when I started it back up and began driving, the light started flashing and then stayed on. I stopped by a shop and had the pressure checked. Everything was fine. Leaving this store, the light once again flashed several times and then stayed on. This is the status now, start driving the indicator light flashes then locks on.

The tires and wheels are 2 years and 11 months old and for about seven months a year are stored under my house. I believe I have a faulty TPMS; the car (a 2013 Forester) doesn't indicate which tire is showing the error (false low pressure indication). My "internet" research suggests that a TPMS unit normally lasts 5.5 - 6 years so I've contacted the dealership where I bought the tires/wheels to ask for their "recommendation" and am waiting to hear back. Again with "internet" information, I was shocked to read about replacement costs for these units; installed costs at your automobile dealership - $150 - $180 per tire/wheel*.

A friend of mine (with the same year and model car) had the same problem with his winter wheels. His solution was pretty old school: electrician's tape over the indicator light (@dld - you won't have to deal with this on your cars!). I guess, unless the dealership where I purchased the tires/wheels "gifts" me a replacement TPMS, that I'll be cutting a little piece of tape and periodically checking the air pressure like I did for 50 years before the advent of electronic tire pressure monitoring.


* Note: On line purchase of the units and working with your tire store can cut this cost by a huge margin but......... tape is cheap.

Sorry: zero fishing related.
i believe if it flashes first it indicates a failing battery within the unit - could be just one unit, but the odds are if one is failing the others will follow shortly. supposedly if the indicator illuminates without flashing, this means tire pressure is out of range. the real drag about these things (besides being inside the wheel) is that "failure" generally just means a dead battery, but the batteries are integrated and can't be replaced.
 

Old Man

Just an Old Man
#13
My wife's Kia has the same problem with those stupid sensors. .A tire pressure goes down just a few pounds and on comes the sensor. A normal person does check their tire pressure every once in a while. We used to take it Les Schwab And they would fix them( Replace them) Finally we got tired of taking it in and just let it shine.+

WE bought the car used and got an extended warranty. But they pulled a fast one on use and told us that we needed to pay each time we took it to the dealer to get fixed. We quit that hassle. Two more payments and it's ours. Les Schwab fixed it fo a lot less than the Dealer.. Won't use them again. The Chevy dealer in Dillon.
 

SilverFly

Active Member
#15
We're just seeing the tip of the electronic nanny iceberg. Roughly one third the cost of building a new vehicle today is electronics. It's projected that by the end of the next decade chips will represent half the cost of a new car.

Good news for me since I work in a semiconductor fab that makes automotive chips (among others). But God help us if we suffer a nuclear EMP strike, or get direct hit from a massive solar flare (Coronal Mass Ejection). If either of those happen, the only folks on the road might be those driving pre-chip vehicles with points and distributors.

As for TPMS, using a tire gauge should be a required part of driver training, along with knowing what a low tire feels like when driving. What is truly unsafe is relying on what amounts to a marketing gimmick to tell us that.
 
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