Info On Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) | Page 4 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

Info On Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS)

I had a class the other day for work, and it was all about the Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems coming out on newer vehicles. I found out a good amount of information. I wanted to share it with the 03-newer Explorer owners, because most newer Explorers-Mountaineers have the TPMS!

What's Covered In This Section:

1. Hard Facts (Sub-Categories: (a) Reasons Why)
2. Two Types Of TPMS (Sub-Categories: (a) Indirect, (b) Direct, (c) Old Fashion)
3. What/Who Uses What
4. How Do I Know I Have It
5. Changing Tires and Wheels
6. How Do They Relearn
7. Aftermarket Wheels and Tires

Hard Facts:

-- NHTSA - New proposed rule requires TPMS on all passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less. (excluding duallys under 10,000 pounds)

-- 100% compliance is required by January 1, 2007 subject to phase in schedule: 20% by September 2005, 70% by September 2006, and 100% by Jan 2007.

Reasons Why:

-- The National Highway Traffric Safety Administration conduced an inspection of 6,240 vehicles within a 14-day period in August of 2001. Found that out of those vehicles tested, 27 percent of the passenger cars had one or more tires substantially under inflated. They also found that 33 percent of light trucks and suVs had one or more tires that were also under inflated.

-- About 8,000 blowouts every year result in serious injury or death.

Note: some TPMS check and warn about HIGH air pressure. The NHTSA mandated systems do not require high pressure warnings.

Two Types Of TPMS:

-- One type measures the pressure in the tire directly (Direct TPMS). The other checks tire pressure indirectly (Indirect TPMS) by testing the effects on the tire from the pressure change (i.e. - through the ABS system - wheel sensors).

Indirect TPMS:

By watching the wheel speed sensors, the ABS module "knows" how fast each wheel is turning. Two modes of operation while driving: Calibration and Detection. After tires are rotated or replaced, the "reset" button must be pressed to clear the prior saved calibration from its memory.

When the vehicle reaches a predetermined speed (or speeds) for the first time after resetting the system, it enters into its calibration mode.

- In this mode, it "learns" how fast the individual wheels are spinning. It also takes a sampling of those measurments and saves those values in memory. It cannot detect a low tire in calibration mode.

The indirect method does not satisfy the NHTSA's requirements and will not longer be on new model vehicles after 2006. Diagnostics of these types of systems should not be a problem for any shop that does ABS systems. Same type systems, senosors, electrical devices, etc.

Direct TPMS:


The only method that currently satisfies the NHTSA's requirements. It works by use of a radio trasmitter located inside the tire:


The radio transmitter is actually the valve stem's base. The valve stem is part of the transmitter and serves double duty as an anchor and as an antenna. If the vehicle is equipped with a spare, the spare will have a transmitter as well. The first direct TPM sensors (like found on some older Corvettes) were a rather large sensor (approx. 3 inches long, 2 inches high, and a inch wide).

The typical modern direct TPM sensor has a 10-year lithium battery that is not replaceable. The sensor weights just over one ounce. It's accurate up to 2 PSI of its reading, and have been tested over 200 MPH. they carry price tags in the low hundreds each (higher for BMWs, Lexus, etc.).

Transmitters/sensors are not constantly on. They only send a signal about every 30 to 60 seconds at speeds of 15 to 20 mph. then, when sitting still, they transmit a pressure reading about once each hour.

Every manufacturers system is different, and diagnosing and fixing these systems vary. should the module determine pressure to be too low, or fail to recieve a signal, the TPM light will illiuminate (on top of page) or will state so in message center. This INCLUDES the spare tire!

If a tire is low, and you inflate the tire, the light should go out (if that was the problem). However, if the tires are rotated, then most of these systems require retraining the sensors/modules. The TPM system "knows" the placement of each tire (LF, RF, RR, LF, and spare), the technician must retrain the module each time the wheel assemblies are rotated. Or if the tires are replaced and the rims are not put back in the origional positions.

Old Fashion/Aftermarket TPMS:


What/Who Uses What:

Indirect TPMS:

- Ford: 2001-03 Windstar
- GM : 97-02 Park Avenue, 99-03 Century and Regal, 02-03 LeSabre, 2003 Rendezvous and Aztek, 00-03 Impala and Mone Carlo, 99-02 Alero, 99-02 Grand Am, 01-03 Aurora, 97 Grand Prix, 2000-03 Bonneville
-Toyota: Sienna Van
-Nissan: Pathfinder

Direct TPMS

-Chrysler: 02-03 300M and Town&Country, 03 Viper, 04 Pacifica
-Ford: '03 Explorer and Mountaineer
-Lincoln: 03' Navigator

-GM: 00-03 Deville, 97-03 Corvette (as well as some older Corvettes)

How Do You Know I Have TPMS:

-If it is factory equipped with Extended Mobility tires (EMT, A.K.A. "runflats"), then it will have a pressure monitoring system. Runflats are required by federal law to have a TPMS -- and any store that will sell you Runfalts on a non-TPMS, will require you to buy new wheels/Sensors.

-You can tell by a simple turn of the key or a look at the valve stem. Turn the key on the ON position and look on the dash for a light. If the vehicle is equipped with navigation, go through the menu and search for the TPMS. If you look at the valve stem and it looks to be metal/aluminum, and locked in place by a nut, more than likely you have a TPMS.

Valve stem looks similar to this:


-Be sure to inflate tires to the pressures specified on the vehicles data plate, no more going by the rating on the tire.

Changing Tires and Wheels:

If you replace new tires, it is highly recommend to get a new grommet, seal, and o-ring set. Replacing these seals are about $10 in parts per wheel. Here's a diagram:


The TPM valve stem cap is made of aluminum and the valve core is nickel-plated for resistance of corrosion. The outer end of the valve stem functions as the sensor's RF antenna. Always place both the cap and the sensor/valve assembly on a clean, dry surface when they are removed from the wheel.


- If the metal stem cap is stuck, DO NOT use plies to remove it -- it will break!
- DO NOT use a self calmping air chuck on the TPMS sensors, valve stems will break off! These things are VERY fragile!
- Valve Cores of the TMPS are not the same as regular rubber stems, do not lose them.
- DO NOT replace cap with a rubber one, it will mess up the transmitters
- DO NOT use "fix-a-flat" with a TPMS; it will clog the sensor and render it broken.

How Do They Relearn?

Different manufacturers use different ways to relearn or retrain the TPMS! Some use magnets with a certain process and some use a "reset" button. Here are some pictures of the magnets that GM Uses:



Aftermarket Wheels and Tires:

This information is still up in the air. Some aftermarkte manufacturers are trying to make wheels that'll work with the sensors, but the problem is that the sensors are made to fit on the wheel a specific way (flush against the rim). If it does not sit flush, it may break off during normal operation. Most systems will allow you to change for bigger/smaller tires. The biggest problem right now is with low-profiles and these sensors.

Of coarse, I would like to hear some feedback, corrections, and opinions about all of this stuff. I hope this will help some people out. I can probably get the "relearn" steps for a Explorer/Mountaineer/Navigator if you all think I should.


Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

Hey guys

You all seem to know a lot about this pressure monitoring system, so I figured I'd pick your brains.

I've got an '03 Explorer LE. Last week, the oil pressure guage stopped working and I was forced to replace the whole dashboard display. After I got the truck back, I got an error saying "Tire Pressure System Fault". It never said anything about pressure being low, just that there is a system fault. I hit the reset button and it clears, but every time I restart the truck, it comes back up.

Is it possible that the mechanic forgot to make a necessary connection from the pressure system to the dashboard?

He's got it now and working on fixing that issue, but I'd like to know what could possibly have caused that so I know if I'm getting screwed or not when I go pick it up.


"Tire Monitor Fault"

Hello everyone! First, I like to start by saying you all have given me tons of very important information and I'm glad you are here!

Well, I have 2006 Explorer XLS. I'm really enjoing it! I just bought some aftermarket 20" wheels, looks pretty cool. That aside, I can't seem to get the "Tire Monitor Fault" light to go away. Talk about a pain! I had the old sensors reinstalled and no luck. Assuming those were damaged I had some new ones installed by the dealership and still no luck (it only worked temporarily). Putting all the money I've spent which has been close to the price of the wheels and tires themself, I don't have the time or patience anylonger. What I'd like to do is just disable the whole thing. Does any know how to disable the "Tire Monitor Fault" option. The dealership says there is a way but they won't do it. I'm at a loss, can anyone help?:(

Desperate, Dave


Currently aftermarket companies are trying to make wheels compliant with the sensors used so that their wheels will be able to house the sensor. Now - I hope you kept the wheel sensors - if you didn't then thats a LOT of money thrown away. Also, You may look into other types of TPMS sensors that may run at a similar frequency of the stock ones, but I don't know if this would work or not. Call Ford and see what they have to say; if anything. Or ask them a way to dissable it -- it's not mandated yet (not until '07) so they should be able to dissable it (just like if it was fog lights, and you didn't want them or something similar). Good luck.


EDIT: nice truck and welcome! :thumbsup:

i have a 2005 lincolin navagator and we just got it used. well the monitor fault message came up so we took it into the dealer and was told the wrong tires are on the vehical. the tires are from a 2007 lincoln truck. will that cause the error in the tire pressure monitor fault?

How do you relearn the TPMS on the 2006 Explorer. I have read info already on site. Need exact info for the o6 Explorer EB.

How do you relearn the TPMS on the 2006 Explorer. I have read info already on site. Need exact info for the o6 Explorer EB.

It's not a Do It Yourself procedure...

Special Tool(s)
Activation Tool, Tire Pressure Monitor
Vehicle Communication Module (VCM) and Integrated Diagnostic System (IDS)
software with appropriate hardware, or equivalent scan tool
NOTE: If the vehicle has been stationary for more than 30 minutes, the sensors will go into a "sleep mode" to conserve battery power. It will be necessary to wake them up so they will transmit the latest tire pressure information to the smart junction box (SJB). Refer to Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) Sensor Training in this section.

NOTE: The tire pressure sensor training procedure must be done on a single vehicle, in an area without radio frequency noise and at least 1 m (3 ft) away from other vehicles equipped with tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). Radio frequency noise is generated by electrical motors and appliance operation, cellular telephones, remote transmitters, power inverters and portable entertainment equipment.

NOTE: If a sensor does not respond to the activation tool, attempt to activate the same sensor with the activation tool. If the sensor still does not respond, move the vehicle to rotate the wheels at least 1/4 of a turn and attempt to activate the same sensor again.
NOTE: The SJB has a 2 minute time limit between sensor responses. If the SJB does not recognize any 1 of the 4 tire pressure sensors during this time limit, the horn will sound twice and the message center (if equipped) will display TIRE NOT TRAINED REPEAT and the entire procedure must be repeated.
NOTE: For vehicles with different front and rear tire pressures (such as the E-Series and certain F-Series), the tire pressure sensors must be trained following a tire rotation. Failure to train the sensors will cause the TPMS indicator to illuminate. For vehicles with the same tire pressure for front and rear tires, tire rotation will not affect the system.
  1. NOTE: Click here to view an animated version of this procedure.
    Turn the ignition switch to the OFF position, then press and release the brake pedal.
  1. Cycle the ignition switch from the OFF position to the RUN position 3 times, ending in the RUN position.
  1. Press and release the brake pedal.
  1. Turn the ignition switch to the OFF position.
  1. Turn the ignition switch from the OFF position to the RUN position 3 times, ending in the RUN position.
    • The horn will sound once and the TPMS indicator will flash if the training mode has been entered successfully. If equipped, the message center will display TRAIN LF TIRE.
  1. NOTE: It may take up to 6 seconds to activate a tire pressure sensor. During this time, the activation tool must remain in place 180 degrees from the valve stem.
    Place the activation tool on the LF tire sidewall opposite (180 degrees) from the valve stem. Press and release the test button on the special tool. The horn will sound briefly to indicate that the tire pressure sensor has been recognized by the smart junction box (SJB). Click here to view an animated version of this procedure.
  • N0037897.gif
  1. Within 2 minutes of the horn sounding, place the activation tool on the RF tire sidewall opposite (180 degrees) from the valve stem and press and release the test button to train the RF tire pressure sensor.
  • A0086882.gif
  1. NOTE: Do not wait more than 2 minutes between training each sensor or the SJB will time out and the entire procedure must be repeated.
    Repeat Step 7 for the RR and LR tires.
    The procedure is completed after the last tire has been trained. When the training procedure is complete, the message center (if equipped) will display TIRE TRAINING COMPLETE.
    For vehicles not equipped with a message center, successful completion of the training procedure will be verified by turning the ignition switch to the OFF position without the horn sounding. If the horn sounds twice when the switch is turned to the OFF position, the training procedure was not successful.
  1. Using the scan tool, locate the updated TPMS sensor IDs trained to the SJB and document them on the applicable warranty claim.
  1. NOTE: This step is required to clear DTC C2780, cause the SJB to exit the manufacturing mode and to make sure there are no other concerns with a newly programmed SJB.
    If the sensors are being trained due to the installation of a new SJB, clear any DTCs and perform the SJB on-demand self test.


I was wondering if I need a special magnet when training the sensors in my 05 Ford Explorer XLT. Can I use any magnet or is it coded and have to be purchased somewhere? I just bought some tires at Discount Tire and really do not want to pay the Ford Dealership for training the sensors when it is something that I can do myself. Could you please let me know?

Thanks So Much,

Did it myself and saved $49.00

After loosing a couple caps I bought replacements that were aluminum. I didn't know they would corrode and stick on the valve. I needed to add air on one of my tires and when the cap wouldn't come off, I used a pair of pliers. OOPS! snapped the metal part of the valve clean off. Oh well, it was time for new tires anyway.

PepBoys wasn't able to retrain the sensors. I was told the guy who knows how to do that is on vacation, so I can come back next week, or take it to my dealer.

My dealer charges $49.00 minimum. Somehow I knew this would cost more, and there had to be a way to do it myself.

Basically I followed the steps gijoecam posted above, minus the warnings and special tools needed.

For the magnet, I used one of those screw driver magnetizing magnets I had from sears. Best $5.00 I ever spent. I wasn't sure where exactly to put it, so I just held it by the tire valve, and moved it around the stem. When the horn sounded, I moved to the next tire.

Also - It took me two tries to get it into training mode. So if it doesn't work the first time for you, give it a minute, and try it again.

How to Re-train TPMS

1. Turn the ignition switch to the OFF position.

2. Turn the ignition switch from the OFF position to the RUN position three times, ending in the RUN position. Do not wait more than one minute between each key cycle.

3. Press and release the brake pedal.

4. Turn the ignition switch to the OFF position.

5. Turn the ignition switch from the OFF position to the RUN position three times, ending in the RUN position. Do not wait more than one minute between each key cycle.

6. The horn will sound once and the TPMS indicator will flash if train mode has been entered successfully. If equipped, the message center displays "TRAIN LF TIRE", place the magnet on the valve stem of the Left Front (driver side front) tire pressure sensor. The horn will sound briefly to indicate that the tire pressure sensor has been recognized by the TPMS module.

7. Within two minutes after the horn sounds, place the magnet on the valve stem of the Right Front tire pressure sensor.

8. After the horn sounds repeat on the Right Rear tire

9. Wait for the horn again and repeat on the Rear Left tire.

When the tire training procedure is complete, the horn will sound once and the message center (if equipped) will display "TIRE TRAINING MODE COMPLETE".

That's it. :thumbsup: Hope this saves someone else a couple bucks.

Can I use wheels and sensors from an 06 on my 04 Explorer with the sensor on the valve stem. I know the 06 uses the blue one attached with the stainless band.

New Rims, Tires, and TPMS

I am new to this forum, (a month or so) and am very thankful for all the information found here.

After reading all the posts on TPMS nightmares, I reluctantly bought a set of new rims (aftermarket that look like stock), new TPM Sensors and today new snow tires.

They are Firestone tires installed at the Firestone shop, and so far so good.

They were the only people, other than the dealer, that knew how to program
the TPMS System, and at no charge.

The sensors on my 05 Explorer are the valve stem type.
I paid about $37.00 each, and I feel it was money well spent.

I do not like to break down tires from winter to summer on the same rims, and that is why I did it this way.

Thansk for all the info.


I am a new member to this forum.... I rotated my tires (myself) and now have a Tire Sensor Fault. My question is can I use the same process as in these threads on a 2007 Sport Trac?

I'm sorry I can't answer that question for you.

If they are the stem sensors, I think you can.

If they are the band type sensor, I think some special device is needed.

Maybe some of the knowledgeable people on here may know which sensor type you have.

Good luck

Nitrogin for tires?

I was introduced to using nitrogen to inflate the tires on my 94EX. Don't know if you guys do it or have being doing it but I find it fantastic. Started out with my Harley. I would "adjust" or check the pressure 3 times a riding season, spring, mid summer & fall. My rear tire would only last 1 riding "year" & I would have to replace it for the following spring. At $150. a piece, that`s a lot of coin but you only have 2 wheels & it`s best to be safe....any way, this will be the 2nd time that I will get 2 riding seasons out of 1 tire, great ,cost us $5.00 per tire....saved me $145 & did not have to "adjust" the pressure once, remained constant even after sitting all My 94EX loves it too. Fill it , forget it....all car dealers & tire shops up here use it now, $20. a car / truck for 4. Transport companies claim they can get up to 10,000 more miles on their tires only need 40% nitrogen, rest`s rubber friendly, does not take on heat like air, the molecules are larger than in air so it stops that slow leaking in hot weather & NASCAR HAS BEEN USING IT FOR YEARS.... what they put their cars through is a proven test...that`s good enough for me!

Wow, I can't believe I didn't find this thread earlier!!!!

If you guys need to know anything about your Ford/Lincoln/Mercury TPMS system that you cannot find here, PM me. I guarantee answers!!!

Btw, if you have a Tire Pressure Monitor Fault, take the truck to your dealer. Ask them to re-train the tires. If one isn't re-training, skip to the next. The one(s) that don't train are BAD...And these *****es are expensive.

And to all of you that own 06 and up with the band style sensors, Motocraft makes bands up to 24"(if I'm not mistaken), so GET ON IT! They're not cheap though.

Let me know what you have and if you need P#s.

2007 ford explorer sport trac

I have a 07 ford explorer sport trac, my horn wires were disconeccted, well, ripped apart, and now my tire senor fault message is on always, Ford told me that the horn not working would cause this, and want 400.00 to reconnect my horn wires. Is this true, the horn being disconnected will cause the tires sensor fault?

is it possible to remove the tpms from all four tires and replace with rubber stems or(anything other than those easily breakable glass stems) and still install nitrogen air into the tires

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

Hey guys, just experienced the same issue after getting 4 new tires put on at Sears. I got the TPMS fault on the dash, tried to train the tires with the 3 turns on, brake, 3 turns on, but it wouldn't work. Thought it was the magnet and got a very powerful one but it still wasn't working. Turns out the left front (the first one you do) was not responding. I learned this after taking it to a tech who actually had the right tool and tested them all. Got sears to replace the sensor for free and they said just drive it around and the fault will go off, but I knew this wasn't the case and grabbed a magnet off the fridge and reset them without a problem. Magnet doesn't need to be that strong after all. Will never buy tires at a place that doesn't know TPMS again.