First, look at the tire valve stems and see if they're metal and retained with a large,
collar-style nut (most direct TPMS use a sensor at the base of the valve stem).
Second, check the instrument panel for an indicator light (usually a U-shaped icon with an exclamation point inside). This light is the Malfunction Indicator Lamp for the TPMS system. Look for both metal valve stems and the light because a metal valve stem by itself does not necessarily mean TPMS onboard.
SERVICE TOOLS AND TIPS
Like any new technology, TPMS also means some new
tools may be in your future. When you consider how entrenched this technology has become
so quickly, you won't want to be left behind.
A TPMS diagnostic tool enables you to diagnose and reset the system. In fact, TPMS also changes the nature of basic tire service. For instance, you may need to use a diagnostic tool to communicate with the wheel sensors prior to tire rotation or replacement. Not only does this confirm that they work properly, it may also be required as the first step of a relearn procedure so the system can identify each tire. In some cases, a scan tool may also be used for this procedure. Looking ahead, identify the types of vehicles you service most often and then speak to your tool and equipment rep.
As with OBD II systems, the MIL on a TPMS has dual purposes. A steady light means that the system detects a low tire, whereas a flashing light means there's a problem with the TPMS itself. A TPMS diagnostic tool or scan tool can yield more details.
Even the simple valve
core has changed when it comes to TPMS. Use only nickel-plated valve cores on aluminum stems
or corrosion may result in the valve core area, resulting in loss of tire pressure.
TPMS is an embedded technology that's here to stay. Why not make it just as integrated into your shop's service offerings? It'll help bolster customer satisfaction and can boost your shop's bottom line as well.
Since they come standard with all light-duty vehicles anyway, your fleet might as well start reaping the benefits.
Insight on servicing TPMS.