Best TPMS Tools: Reset Tire Pressure Sensors Yourself and Save Money
Get a TPMS tool to identify tire sensors and relearn the system after repairs and maintenance
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PUBLISHED ON December 20, 2019
The number one method to obtain maximum fuel economy and superior performance from your tires is to make sure the pressure in all four tires is correct. Most newer cars and trucks now have a tire pressure management system, or TPMS, which automatically checks tires for the right pressure and alerts you if they need attention. Check out our picks for the best for TPMS tools so that you can reset the sensors yourself after repairs and maintenance.
- Best OverallAutel MaxiTPMS New Generation Diagnostic & Service ToolSummarySummary
Activates all recognized universal and OEM TPMS sensors. Provides direct access to the car or truck’s engine control unit (ECU) via OBD II, or the on-board diagnostic connection. Allows for retrieving and clearing diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) and reprogramming of sensor IDs.ProsPros
TPMS relearn gives access to the vehicle’s ECU for quick diagnostics and reading and writing of the sensors’ IDs. The Sensor Check feature allows viewing of TPMS data such as the sensor’s ID, battery, and position, plus tire pressure and temperature.ConsCons
You’ll need a device to store the included sensors. Programming may be a little awkward for some users.
- Best ValueAutel MaxiTPMS TS401SummarySummary
This is a hand-held unit that the maker claims functions on 98 percent of cars and trucks. It works by scanning the TPMS sensor’s ID, then you input the IDs directly into the device. Alternatively, you can manually input the ID.ProsPros
Activates all tire deflation-triggered and magnetic-triggered sensors found in TPMS’s. A lifetime of free updates included. Key-fob testing establishes the correct key frequency.ConsCons
It does not read the battery level of the old sensors (if replacing sensors). May not work on sensors that are not Autel brand.
- Honorable MentionJDIAG 2IN1 TPMS Relearn ToolSummarySummary
This easy-to-use, economical tool works fast with only the touch of a button. Use it on a wide variety of vehicles, including most GM and Ford cars and trucks.ProsPros
This tool saves you money and a trip to the tire shop because it’s a simple DIY unit. Works on after-market as well as OEM tire pressure sensors. Illustrated instructions included.ConsCons
The written instructions could be more complete. Sometimes the tool does not reset the malfunction indicator light (MIL).
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
- Check the compatibility of the TPMS tool you’d like to buy with the make, model, and model year of your vehicle, as well as the tires. While many TPMS tools are universal, some are designed to only work on a certain manufacturer’s vehicles, i.e., GM, Ford, or Toyota.
- Do your research. Prices of these tools vary widely, from under $20 to around $500. Capabilities vary widely, too. Simple tools read and reset the sensors only, while others connect to your vehicle’s ECU for additional diagnostics and allow you to program store and print information.
- No wire connections are needed to use TPMS tools. They sense information through your tires’ sidewalls, rims, and even heavy-duty wheel covers.
Q: What does a TPMS tool do?
A: This tool identifies the types of sensors in your tires and the information that the sensors contain. This information is necessary for the sensors to work correctly after you have performed maintenance such as a tire replacement or rotation. You use the tool to perform the proper relearn procedures to reset the system.
Q: Do all vehicles have a TPMS?
A: No, only newer cars and trucks. Manufacturers began to install TPMS in vehicles in the 1980s on a few luxury cars. Rollover problems on some vehicles in the late 1990s prompted laws mandating TPMS on U.S. vehicles. As of 2012, all vehicles sold in the U.S. and EU must have a TPMS.
Q: What does a TPMS do?
A: A TPMS has sensors that monitor the pressure in each tire. If the pressure is low, the TPMS sends this data to your vehicle’s onboard computer. The computer lights up a malfunction indicator light (MIL) on your car or truck’s dashboard so you can refill the tire(s) with air to the proper inflation level.
We chose the Autel MaxiTPMS New Generation Diagnostic & Service Tool as our top choice overall because it recognizes sensors universally and connects directly to your vehicle’s ECU.
The hand-held Autel MaxiTPMS TS401 is our choice for best value because it works on 98 percent of today’s cars and trucks.