TPMS is really cool, when it works properly. As much as the old geezer in me wants to say that it’s just as easy to bust out a gauge and check tire pressure manually, it’s not. My van does not have the “message center” in the instrument cluster. All I have is trip, odometer, and miles to empty.
After 6 tires, 2 flats, and 28 thousand miles in 7 months, I have learned my way around the Transit’s TPMS. I air down my tires on trails enough that this reset tool has paid for its <$15 price tag several times by now.
TPMS Sensor Relearn / Reset Tool
While we’re on the topic, I regularly use this deflator tool, this Viair 88P portable compressor, and this tire plug kit. Looking back, I should have invested in on-board air rather than making the portable work (it was just slow). I have the ARB CKMA12 for the 31″ tires on my Jeep and it’d work well for the sizes running on Transits — though the CKMTA12 would be much faster, if budget allows. If you want to stay portable, but still have a faster compressor — the Viair 300P kit would be an excellent upgrade over the 88P, at about half the cost of the ARB CKMA12 I mentioned.
There is a method to reset the TPMS without this tool. It’s ridiculous and involves deflating all four tires. Just don’t, seriously. There’s also a method of using this tool that involves some procedure of key-on-key-off sequence that is also unnecessary.
Here’s how I reset the TPMS system with this cheap tool:
- With the key in the ON position (but engine not running), press and release your hazard indicator button six times quickly, cycling the hazards on and off three times total. Your horn should sound for a moment. Prepare to walk outside of the van and visit each tire in this order: Driver Front, Passenger Front, Passenger Rear, Driver Rear
- Take the tool and hold it near the valve stem on each tire as pictured below, press the button. The horn should honk within 3 seconds. If not, reposition and press the button again.
- Once the horn honks, proceed to the next tire in the order mentioned above (Driver Front, Passenger Front, Passenger Rear, Driver rear and repeat the button press process.
- After the 4th honk, return to the driver’s seat and turn the key to off. The system should be reset and the TPMS light will be off at this point.
I can’t find solid documentation of exactly what value the TPMS system uses. I found a Ford article specifying that running other tire sizes will require different PSI, so my educated guess is that it just compares the average of the tires and looks for anything out of the ordinary.
I recommend checking your tire pressure periodically, especially if you do any off-road driving. Tire shops would always inflate my tires to 60-65 PSI and I found that way too harsh, even on-road. I carry an inexpensive digital gauge like this one for routine checks.