The main reason for TPMS sensor failure is the battery. TPMS battery life is quite good, but even the best batteries and sensors will only last so long.
TPMS Battery ReplacementMost TPMS sensor batteries are not designed to be replaced but can usually still be replaced.
The TPMS sensor’s battery is sealed inside the sensor’s molded plastic housing and embedded in a silicone-like sealant.
You must open the housing and carefully remove the sealant to replace the battery.
If you’re having problems with one of your tire pressure sensors, you should also expect the other sensors to fail soon. If the problem is due to a dead battery, all the sensors will eventually suffer the same problem.
Let’s take a closer look.
Table of Contents
Can You Replace A TPMS Battery?
Most TPMS sensor batteries are not designed to be replaced. But where there’s a will, and always a will, there’s a way, and there’s always a way.
Since you’re expected to discard sensors with dead batteries, there’s no risk in attempting to replace the battery yourself. The process will likely be tedious and frustrating since they aren’t designed to be serviceable, so be prepared for the process to be a bit of a headache.
Unless you have the free time to spend on this task or are just looking for a challenge, you may not save as much money as you think. Also, the sensor itself may be the root of the problem and not a dead battery.
Replacement TPMS sensors are inexpensive and can often be found for $30 or even less. However, you will usually need a TPMS tool to clone the unique IDs of your current sensors over to the new sensors. Otherwise, you will need to reprogram the sensors to the tire pressure monitoring system.
Where Is The TPMS Battery Located?
Snap-In and Clamp-On sensors will have the battery sealed inside the sensor housing and the electronics. Band-style sensors, much less popular these days, will also have a battery embedded inside the sensor housing.
Tire pressure monitoring systems with sensors in the valve stem caps will also have batteries and electronics. Many valve stem cap sensors are designed to replace the batteries easily.
How To Test TPMS Sensor Batteries
The most common method for testing the status of the batteries in each tire pressure sensor is using a TPMS scan tool. Some TPMS tools, such as a scan tool, are only designed to read sensors, while others are designed to program new sensors or relearn tire positions after a tire rotation.
Another method you may be able to use to determine the current battery life of the tire pressure sensors is by accessing the vehicle computer through the OBDII port under the dashboard, usually to the left of the steering wheel. Using the OBDII port will require a vehicle diagnostic computer compatible with your make and model of car or truck.
How To Replace A TPMS Sensor Battery
Some sensors will be more easily opened to access the battery than others. For instance, Schrader brand replacement sensors have the plastic housing laser welded to better seal the battery from water and chemicals.
Other sensors can be more easily opened with screws that hold each half of the sensor housing together. Or they may snap together and are easily pried apart.
Once the sensor is open, you’ll need gently remove any sealant the battery is embedded in, being careful not to damage the circuit board the battery powers.
Youtuber theDiYwizard has created an excellent detailed step-by-step guide showing how he replaces the battery in a sensor.
TPMS Battery Replacement Cost
The cost to replace the battery in one of your TPMS sensors should only be a few dollars. The battery type can vary between different types and brands of sensors, so providing an exact cost isn’t possible.
You will need to remove your TPMS sensors and open them to see what type of battery is used in your TPMS sensors.
Remember that you can purchase aftermarket replacement TPMS sensors for $30 or even less. You can’t be sure that the reason for your troubles with your existing tire pressure sensors may not be the battery but a failure of the electronics within the sensor.
What Happens When The TPMS Battery Dies?
When a battery begins to die in a TPMS sensor, it’s common to have trouble maintaining a connection with the TPMS computer or give incorrect readings.
Once the lithium-ion batteries, or whatever battery formulation is used, are finally entirely exhausted, the tire pressure monitoring system will display a warning.
The low tire pressure light on the dashboard will flash for 60 to 90 seconds each time you start your car or truck and remain lit until the problem has been corrected. Some vehicles display a warning light with the letters T-P-M-S illuminated instead of flashing the low-pressure warning light.
TPMS Battery Life
The typical lifespan of a TPMS sensor is 7 to 10 years. Some may only last 5 years, while others may even end up lasting beyond 10 years.
Aftermarket valve stem sensors for trailers or other applications may not manage quite as long but should still be able to last a reasonably long time.
Below are some links you may find helpful when learning about tires
If you have a sensor battery fail, you can replace the battery. However, it isn’t recommended. TPMS sensors are not usually designed to be opened and the battery replaced.
The effort required to open the sensor housing carefully and remove the sealant to remove the battery is considerable, and the cost of a replacement sensor is relatively affordable.
Good luck and happy motoring.