Sorting Through TPMS Sensors: Programmable? Pre-loaded? Here Are Your Choices
Like tires, the proliferation of tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) sensors in the automotive aftermarket gives you plenty of choices. However, with limited inventory space, choosing what sensors to stock takes some research.
“Go with what makes the most sense for (your) particular business,” says Scot Holloway, CEO and general manager of Bartec USA LLC.
Bartec, one of a number of TPMS sensor tool manufacturers, categorizes aftermarket sensors into three groups.
- Direct replacement, or “part for part” replacement sensors. They can be obtained from original equipment as well as aftermarket providers, and typically do not require any programming or configuring with a TPMS tool.
- Multi-protocol sensors. As the name suggests, multi-protocol sensors come “pre-loaded” with many sensor protocols in a single sensor body.
Again, no configuring is required, but a TPMS tool is needed to do the “re-learn.”
- Programmable sensors. They typically represent fewer SKU’s, but are able to cover a greater range of vehicles. The sensors are blank or in need of configuration before use.
“It’s a complicated TPMS world out there, and with the proliferation of aftermarket sensor replacements and processes, installers are getting confused,” says Holloway. “As an example, an installer doesn’t always know that the sensor they’re using is programmable, so he doesn’t program it. If the sensor is still blank, the tool — and the vehicle — will not recognize it and we get a phone call.”
Here is a list of some of the latest TPMS sensors on the market.
There are two models of Smart Sensor Pro+ TPMS sensors from Group 31: 315 MHz and 433 MHz. There also are two valve options for the programmable universal sensors: bolt-in or snap-in.
The company says the two sensors can service 90% of vehicle applications, broken down as follows:
95% of vehicles from the “Big Three” domestic manufacturers (General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and FCA US LLC);
85% of imported vehicles (including Honda, Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen models).
Smart Pro+ sensors can be programmed in seconds using the Pro+ tool, adds the company.
For more information, visit www.31inc.com.
AirTech TPMS Inc.
AirTech just released its 200 Series sensors. One is a wireless configurable for fast installations; the other is a programmable sensor. Either can be used separately or in tandem, according to Mark Rodgers, CEO of AirTech.
“Both are high coverage systems using either our affordable A200 or Ateq VT55/56 tools.”
AirTech offers a platform of three distinct TPMS solutions. “No single solution is perfect for every retail tire store chain,” adds Rodgers. AirTech supports its sensors with on-demand videos, structured training certification courses and shop forums on its website.
For more information, visit AirTechTPMS.com.
Continental Automotive Systems Inc.
The new VDO REDI-Sensor Rubber Snap-in TPMS sensor (Part No. SE10001HPR) from Continental Commercial Vehicles & Aftermarket comes ready to install right out of the box and is pre-programmed to fit popular domestic and Asian vehicles. It simply snaps together without any threaded components and is the latest multi-application sensor to join the game changing VDO REDI-Sensor program. Just like the original metal clamp-in REDI-Sensor (Part No. SE10001HP), this rubber snap-in version is designed to follow OE vehicle relearn procedures and no aftermarket sensor programming or cloning steps are required. The addition of a rubber snap-in sensor adds a new option to the VDO REDI-Sensor program that already replaces more than 200 OE sensors with only four sensor SKUs. It helps to dramatically reduce the SKUs needed to service incoming customers. VDO REDI-Sensor works with all major TPMS scan tools and no new training is required.
For more information, visit www.usa.vdo.com.
Denso Products and Services Americas Inc.
Unlike one-size-fits-all sensors, Denso Products and Services Americas Inc. says its First Time Fit TPMS sensors never need to be programmed or cloned before installation; they’re built to fit the specified vehicle right out of the box. The company says all of its TPMS sensors relearn just like an OE part, restoring the vehicle to its original condition. Tested to OE specifications, Denso First Time Fit sensors provide immediate coverage for applications which cannot be programmed. The company says 16 Japanese and 36 new domestic and European part numbers cover 70% of the market, or more than 900 popular Japanese, European and Domestic passenger cars, sport utility, trucks and crossover vehicles. The sensors have a 10-year battery life. The company says its First Time Fit TPMS sensors have the lowest return rate in the industry.
For more information, visit densoautoparts.com.
Dill Air Controls Products LLC
The new Dill 7001HP-R REDI-Sensor features a snap-in VS-90 rubber stem with the key sticking out of the base. The key attaches to the sensor by sliding it into the press clip. It can be removed by simply pushing a button. As an option, Dill also has a “corrosion-free” chrome clamp-in valve that attaches to the 7001HP-R for wheel packages and performance cars.
According to Dill, four part numbers cover approximately 92% of market. “This is ever-changing, as new OEM (sensors) come out all the time,” says Tyson Boyer, Dill’s sales manager.
The 7001HP and 7001HP-R are the same sensor; while the second uses a snap-in rubber stem with the press-button clip design, the first has an aluminum stem.
For more information, visit dillaircontrols.com.
John Dow Industries Inc.
Dynamic Dual Valve Technology (DVT) sensors, offered by John Dow Industries Inc., are designed to work with either a rubber snap-in valve stem or the metal clamp-in valve stem. DVT sensors are versatile, and can match the style on TPMS-equipped vehicles without requiring an additional part number. Technicians can remove either the snap-in or clamp-in stem and replace it with the required valve. DVT sensors provide coverage for more than 95% of domestic, Asian and European vehicles, and they work with all TPMS scan tools. Because one DVT sensor can replace many OEM sensors, they help dealers reduce inventory.
For more information, visit www.johndow.com.
JS Products Inc.
JS Products Inc. says two of its Steelman Select Sensors 97356 (315 MHz) and 97358 (433 MHz) provide over 90% direct TPMS vehicle coverage. Programmed using the ATEQ or Bartec USA tools wireless radio frequency, Steelman Select Sensors require no additional adapters or devices to purchase. The sensors can also be programmed directly through the tire. Steelman Select Sensors have a patented rubber snap-in valve stem, and offer three optional clamp-in valve stems, aluminum, black, and chrome to match the vehicles original valve style. That’s a total of four valve stem options to fit either 97356 (315 MHz) and 97358 (433 MHz) Select Sensors.
The Steelman brand sensors also include high pressure applications and wireless location applications. The company offers a complete line of TPMS service kits, valve stems and TPMS tools.
For more information, visit steelmanselecttpms.com/select-sensor.
Regitar USA Inc.
Regitar USA Inc. is a manufacturer of OE replacement TPMS sensors. The company says its 433MHz and 315MHz versions cover over 90% of vehicle applications (American, European, Asian models). They are compatible with all major scanning tools and follow the OE relearn procedures. The two-piece design allows for a 0-40 degrees adjustable angle to fit any tire rim. Regitar provides multi-application coverage for a broad range of vans, cars and SUVs. With preset design and following OE re-learn procedures, the company says its TPMS can work with all major TPMS scan tools, such as Ateq, Bartec, OTC and T.I.P.S.
There is no requirement for sensor programming and equipment tools.
For more information, visit regitar.com.
Revolution Supply Co.
There are two lines of Oro-Tek pre-programmed OE replacement sensors available from Revolution Supply, says Zach Fuller, marketing manager.
“We offer two sensor lines to best fit the customer’s needs. Our iORO multi-protocol line offers three sensors that cover more than 90% of vehicles on the market.”
There is also a value-priced line of Oro-Tek direct OE replacement sensors. “At a 20% discount to the iORO sensors, this line is perfect for the high-volume sensor distributor looking for a no-frills TPMS solution, adds Fuller.
ORO-TEK sensors are ready for installation right out of the box, without any programming or cloning required. They are backed by the full 24/7 support of the Revolution Supply team.
For more information, visit www.orotekusa.com.
Schrader International Inc.
Featuring tri-band technology, the new “single SKU” EZ-sensor from Schrader is a fully
programmable, OE and replacement TPMS sensor that covers a vast majority of TPMS-fitted vehicles in North America.
This single SKU covers more than 100 million TPMS-equipped vehicles on the road, and is designed “to be infinitely scalable with additional coverage-without adding new SKUs,” according to the company. The sensor also has a programming speed of close to 10 seconds.
The new EZ-sensor combines Schrader’s 314.9, 315 and 433 MHz EZ-sensors into a single part number (33500). It also is future-proofed in support of evolving original equipment technologies, such as Wireless Auto-Location, and new consumer-oriented features such as Pressure-By-Position displays.
“Ground breaking capabilities like our new single SKU EZ-sensor are imperative to the continued rapid growth (of tire pressure monitoring systems),” says Frank Frederick, leader of TPMS aftermarket business in North America.
For more information, visit www.SchraderInternational.com.
Standard Motor Products
For more than 95 years Standard Motor Products has worked to provide high-quality parts that match the original for fit, form and function. That promise extends to an engine line of 40,000 parts, including a full offering of OE-match TPMS products.
Standard TPMS sensors offer coverage for nearly 98% of vehicles on the road. They are pre-programmed, and ready to install right out of the box.
Technicians have the choice to either factory relearn or ID-clone the sensors at installation. They are designed to operate within tighter radio frequency to eliminate most external interference which impedes accurate monitoring.
Standard TPMS sensors are precision-engineered for peak operation, enhanced performance and long service life.
The company also offers its TechSmart TPMS Relearn & Scan Tool Kit (T55001). With it, techs can cover all vehicles, plus relearn steps are displayed on an LCD display. The kit also includes a trigger magnet for activating sensors that require magnetic wake-up.
For more information, visit the website www.smpcorp.com. ■
Dazed and confused: The No. 1 TPMS sensor trend is...
Q.: What is the biggest TPMS sensor trend in the installer segment?
“The short answer to the question is, the current trend in TPMS Sensors in the installer segment is confusion and in some instances frustration,” says Scot Holloway, CEO and general manager of Bartec USA LLC.
“Because there are so many choices in replacement sensors, from the type, method of use to installation, it’s harder for installers to make the decision that’s right for them. Which is precisely why we get asked every day, “Which sensor should we use?”