Service

TPMS: Chevrolet HHR and Malibu, 2007-16

Information provided by Mitchell 1
Posted on October 16, 2019

Figure 1: Identifying the driver information center (DIC) controls (2007-12).
Figure 1: Identifying the driver information center (DIC) controls (2007-12).
SUBJECT VEHICLES: General Motors’ Chevrolet HHR (2007-2011) and Malibu (2008 – 2015), Malibu Classic (2008) and Malibu Limited (2016).

SPECIAL TOOLS NEEDED? A TPMS activation tool (J-46079) may be used.

The tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) on certain models of the Chevrolet HHR and Malibu (2007-2016) alerts the driver of a large tire pressure change in any of the four tires while the vehicle is being driven. The system also will display individual tire pressures and their locations on the driver information center (DIC).

The TPMS uses the body control module (BCM), instrument panel cluster (IPC), driver information center, remote control door lock receiver (RCDLR), a radio frequency (RF) transmitting pressure sensor in each wheel/tire assembly, and the serial data circuit to perform the system functions.

When the vehicle is stationary, the sensors go into stationary mode. In this mode, the sensors sample the tire pressure once every 30 seconds and only transmit if the tire pressure changes, to minimize sensor battery consumption. As vehicle speed increases, the sensors go into drive mode, in which they transmit once every 60 seconds.

Each sensor takes a pressure measurement sample continuously; if the tire pressure increases or decreases by more than 1.2 psi (8.3 kPa), the sensor will transmit in re-measure mode in stationary mode or drive mode. The RCDLR receives and translates the data contained in each sensor transmission, then sends the tire pressure and tire location data to the DIC.

When the TPMS detects a significant loss or gain of tire pressure, a “CHECK TIRE PRESSURE” message will appear on the DIC (if equipped), and the low tire pressure warning indicator is displayed on the IPC.

The RCDLR has the ability to detect malfunctions within the TPMS. Any malfunctions detected will cause the DIC to display a “SERVICE TIRE MONITOR” warning message.

Tire pressure monitor warning indicators

When the TPMS detects a significant loss of tire pressure, the “CHECK TIRE PRESSURE” message is displayed on the DIC and the low tire pressure indicator is displayed on the instrument panel. Both the message and indicator can be cleared by adjusting the tire pressures to the recommended pressures and driving the vehicle above 25 mph (40 km/h) for at least 2 minutes.

If the warning indicators are still on or the display shows dashes instead of a value, there is a problem in the TPMS. The RCDLR has the ability to detect malfunctions within the TPMS. Any malfunctions detected will cause the DIC to display a “SERVICE TIRE MONITOR” warning message. See the appropriate manufacturer service information.

TPMS reset procedures

NOTE: If a tire pressure sensor or the RCDLR is replaced, or if the wheels have been rotated, the tire pressure sensor must be relearned. When the TPMS detects a significant loss of tire pressure, the “CHECK TIRE PRESSURE” message is displayed on the DIC and the low tire pressure indicator is displayed on the instrument panel. Both the message and indicator can be cleared by adjusting the tires to their recommended pressures and driving the vehicle above 25 mph (40 km/h) for at least 2 minutes.

Tire pressure sensor learn

NOTE: Once the learn mode has been enabled, each of the sensor’s unique identification (ID) codes can be learned into the RCDLR’s memory. When a sensor’s ID has been learned, the RCDLR sends a serial data message to the BCM to sound a horn chirp. This verifies the sensor has transmitted its ID and the RCDLR has received and learned it. The RCDLR must learn the sensor IDs in the proper order to determine correct sensor location. The first learned ID is assigned to left front, the second to right front, third to right rear and fourth to left rear.

Figure 2: Identifying the driver information center (DIC) controls (20013-16).
Figure 2: Identifying the driver information center (DIC) controls (20013-16).
NOTE: Each turn signal will illuminate one at a time indicating which location is to be learned next.

NOTE: Each sensor takes a pressure measurement sample once every 30 seconds while in stationary mode. If the tire pressure increases or decreases by more than 1.2 psi from the last pressure measurement, another measurement will occur immediately to verify the change in pressure.

If a pressure change has indeed occurred, the sensor transmits a learn mode. When the RCDLR receives a learn mode transmission while in sensor learn mode, it will assign that sensor’s ID to the location on the vehicle relative to the order in which it was learned.

NOTE: The TPMS will cancel the learn mode if more then 2 minutes have passed and no sensors have been learned, or if the ignition switch is turned to the OFF position. If the learn mode is canceled before the first ID is learned, the RCDLR will remember all previously stored IDs and their locations. As soon as the first sensor ID is learned, all other IDs are erased from the RCDLR’s memory. If the learn mode is canceled after the first ID is learned, the RCDLR will store the IDs as invalid and the DIC will display dashes instead of tire pressures.

NOTE: In the following procedures, a TPMS sensor activation tool (J-46079) may be used in place of the increasing/decreasing pressure method to enable the sensor. To use, place the activator antenna against the tire sidewall close to the wheel rim at the valve stem location, and then press and release the sensor ACTIVATE button.

NOTE: If the TPMS sensor activation tool (J-46079) is used, and the vehicle is having trouble entering the relearn mode, check the batteries in the activation tool. Low batteries may allow some functions to work, but not allow the vehicle to perform the learn function. When the internal battery is fresh (fully charged), the indicator is “full” or all dark. When the battery is depleted, the indicator shows “empty” or all light.

The learn mode can be enabled using any of the three following methods:

  • Using the keyless entry system (except 2013 and later)
  • Using a scan tool
  • Using the driver Information center

NOTE: Before proceeding with the steps below, ensure that no other sensor learn procedure is being performed simultaneously and that no tire pressures are being adjusted on another TPMS-equipped vehicle within close proximity.

Using the keyless entry system (except 2013 and later)

1) Turn the ignition switch to the ON position. Apply the parking brake. The left front turn signal also will illuminate to indicate the learn mode has been enabled.

2) Simultaneously press the keyless entry transmitter’s lock and unlock buttons until a double horn chirp sounds, indicating the learn mode has been enabled.

3) Activate the sensors by one of the following methods:

  • Increase/decrease method: Starting with left front tire, increase or decrease the pressure for 8-10 seconds, then wait for a horn chirp sounds. The horn chirp may occur before the 8-10 second pressure increase/decrease time period has been reached, or up to 30 seconds after the 8-10 second pressure increase/decrease time period has been reached.
  • Sensor activation tool method: Starting with the left front tire, hold the scan tool against the tire wall aiming upward with the antenna. Press the activate button and wait for a horn chirp. After the horn has chirped, the turn signal will illuminate indicating the next location to be learned.

4) After horn chirp has sounded and the right turn signal has illuminated, repeat procedure for the next 3 sensors in the following order: right front, right rear, left rear.

5) After left rear sensor has been learned, a double horn chirp will sound, indicating all 4 sensor IDs have been learned.

Turn the ignition switch to the OFF position. Adjust all tire pressures.

Using scan tool

NOTE: Before proceeding with the steps below, ensure that no other sensor learn procedure is being performed simultaneously and that no tire pressures are being adjusted on another TPMS-equipped vehicle within close proximity.

1) Connect the scan tool. Turn the ignition switch to the RUN position. Apply the parking brake.

2) Using the scan tool, select “SPECIAL FUNCTIONS.”

3) Select “SENSOR LEARN MODE ENABLE,” and press the ENTER key.

4) Press the ON soft key. A double horn chirp will sound, indicating the learn mode has been enabled.

5) Activate the sensors by one of the following methods:

  • Increase/decrease method: Starting with the left front tire, increase or decrease the pressure for 8-10 seconds, then wait for a horn chirp sound.

The horn chirp may occur before the 8-10 second pressure increase/decrease time period has been reached, or up to 30 seconds after the 8-10 second pressure increase/decrease time period has been reached.

  • Sensor activation tool method: Starting with the left front tire, hold the scan tool against the tire wall aiming upward with the antenna. Press the activate button and wait for a horn chirp. After the horn has chirped, the turn signal will illuminate indicating the next location to be learned.

6) After a horn chirp has sounded, repeat the procedure in the following order: right front, right rear, left rear.

7) After the left rear sensor has been learned, a double horn chirp will sound, indicating all 4 sensor IDs have been learned. Turn the ignition switch to the OFF position. Adjust all tire pressures to specification.

Using the driver information center (DIC)

NOTE: Before proceeding with the steps below, ensure that no other sensor learn procedure is being performed simultaneously, or that no tire pressures are being adjusted on another TPMS-equipped vehicle within close proximity.

1) Turn the ignition switch to the ON position. Apply the parking brake.

2) Press the “INFO” button on the DIC (see the appropriate figure), until the “TIRE LEARN” message is displayed on the DIC. Then press the “SET/RESET” button on the DIC, until a double horn chirp sounds, indicating the learn mode has been enabled.

3) Activate the sensors by one of the following methods:

  • Increase/decrease method: Starting with left front tire, increase or decrease the pressure for 8-10 seconds, then wait for a horn chirp sounds. The horn chirp may occur before the 8-10 second pressure increase/decrease time period has been reached, or up to 30 seconds after the 8-10 second pressure increase/decrease time period has been reached.
  • Sensor activation tool method: Starting with the left front tire, hold the scan tool against the tire wall aiming upward with the antenna. Press the activate button and wait for a horn chirp. After the horn has chirped, the turn signal will illuminate indicating the next location to be learned.

4) After horn chirp has sounded and the right turn signal has illuminated, repeat procedure for the next 3 sensors in the following order: right front, right rear, left rear.

5) After the left rear sensor has been learned, a double horn chirp will sound, indicating all 4 sensor IDs have been learned. Turn the ignition switch to the OFF position. Adjust all tire pressures to specification.

Demounting/mounting procedures

NOTE: If vehicle’s tires are replaced with those not having a TPC Spec number, the TPMS may give an inaccurate low pressure warning. Non-TPC Spec tires may give a low pressure warning that is higher or lower than the proper warning level achieved by TPC Spec numbered tires. If a tire pressure sensor or the RCDLR is replaced, or if the wheels have been rotated, the tire pressure sensor must be learned. See “Reset procedures.”

Figure 3: An exploded view of a clamp-in style tire pressure sensor.
Figure 3: An exploded view of a clamp-in style tire pressure sensor.
Tire pressure sensor

CAUTION: Do not inject any tire liquid or aerosol tire sealant into the tires, as this may cause a malfunction of the tire pressure sensors. If any tire sealant is noted upon tire demounting, replace the sensor.

Also remove all residual liquid sealant from the inside of the tire and wheel surfaces.

Removal and installation

1) Raise the vehicle on a suitable support. Remove the tire/wheel assembly from the vehicle.

2) Demount the tire from the wheel following the tire changer manufacturer’s instructions while paying special attention to the following to avoid damaging the tire pressure sensor:

  • Place the sensor’s cap and valve on a dry, clean surface after removal. Note that the cap is aluminum and the valve is nickel-plated to prevent corrosion. Do not substitute a cap or valve made of any other material.
  • Position the bead breaking fixture 90 degrees from valve stem when separating the tire bead from the wheel.
  • Position the mounting/demounting head so the tire iron (or pry bar) can be inserted slightly clockwise of the sensor body when prying the tire bead up and over the mounting/demounting head.
  • Using a tire machine, rotate the tire/wheel assembly clockwise when transferring the tire bead to the outside of the wheel rim.
  • Repeat items
    Figure 4: An exploded view of a snap-in style tire pressure sensor.
    Figure 4: An exploded view of a snap-in style tire pressure sensor.
    for the inner bead.3) If the TPMS sensor is the clamp-in style (see Figure 3), follow the clamp-in style removal as follows. If it is a snap-in style (see Figure 4), follow the snap-in style removal instructions.

Clamp-in style sensor removal

1) Remove the tire pressure sensor nut (see Figure 3).

2) Remove the sensor from the wheel hole.

3) Remove the sensor grommet from the valve stem.

4) See clamp-in sensor installation below, to install the sensor.

Snap-in style sensor removal

1) Remove the Torx screw (3) from the tire pressure sensor (2) and pull it straight off the tire pressure valve stem (1). See Figure 4.

2) Remove the tire pressure valve stem by pulling it through the rim.

3) See snap-in style sensor installation below, to install the sensor.

Figure 5: Installation of a snap-in sensor/valve assembly.
Figure 5: Installation of a snap-in sensor/valve assembly.
Clamp-in sensor installation

1) Clean any dirt or debris from the grommet sealing areas. Install the grommet on the sensor valve stem.

2) Insert the sensor in the wheel hole with the air passage facing away from the wheel.

3) Install the sensor nut, and position the sensor body parallel to the inside wheel surface while tightening the nut to 62 in.-lbs. (7 N.m).

4) Before installing the tire on the wheel, note the following items to avoid tire pressure sensor damage upon tire mounting:

  • Position the mounting/demounting head 180 degrees from the valve stem.
  • Position the bead transition area 45 degrees counterclockwise of the valve stem.
  • Using the tire machine, rotate the tire/wheel assembly clockwise when transferring the tire bead to the inside of the wheel rim.
  • Repeat the items for the outer bead.

5) Install the tire on the wheel. Install the tire/wheel assembly on the vehicle. Retrain the tire pressure sensor. See “Reset procedures.”

NOTE: A service replacement tire pressure sensor is shipped in the OFF mode. In this mode, the sensor’s unique identification code cannot be learned into the RCDLR’s memory. The sensor must be taken out of the OFF mode by spinning the tire/wheel assembly above 25 mph (40 km/h) for at least 10 seconds in order to close the sensor’s internal roll switch.

Snap-in style sensor installation

1) Assemble the tire pressure sensor (2) to the valve stem and install the new Torx screw (3). See Figure 4.

2) Apply tire soap to the rubber portion of the valve stem.

3) Using a tire valve stem mounting tool, pull the valve stem through in a direction parallel to the valve hole on the rim (see Figure 5).

4) Before installing the tire on the wheel, note the following items to avoid tire pressure sensor damage upon tire mounting:

  • Position the mounting/demounting head 180 degrees from the valve stem.
  • Position the bead transition area 45 degrees counterclockwise of the valve stem.
  • Using a tire machine, rotate the tire/wheel assembly clockwise when transferring the tire bead to the inside of the wheel rim.
  • Repeat the items for the outer bead.

5) Install the tire on the wheel and the tire/wheel assembly on the vehicle. Retrain the tire pressure sensor. See “Reset procedures.” ■

Information for this column comes from the tire pressure monitoring systems data in ProDemand®, Mitchell 1’s auto repair information software for domestic and import vehicles. Headquartered in Poway, Calif., Mitchell 1 has provided quality repair information solutions to the automotive industry since 1918. For more information, visit www.mitchell1.com.

Related Topics: auto service, Chevrolet HHR, Chevrolet Malibu, Mitchell 1, service, tire pressure, TPMS

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