Most modern vehicles are equipped with TPMS technology that uses battery-driven sensors attached to the tires. So, what happens when the TPMS battery dies? Can you replace them or does the whole TPMS need to be replaced?
It’s important to note that the average lifespan of a TPMS sensor battery is typically between 5-7 years. This average is again dependable on factors consisting, of the type of battery, usage, and environmental conditions.
Considering the importance of TPMS it is imperative to know the consequences of a dead battery and the causes behind it.
Moreover, one should also be aware of the precautions to prevent premature damage and improve the lifespan of TPMS batteries.
What happens when the TPMS battery dies?
When the TPMS battery dies it will no longer be able to monitor, and send the tire pressure readings to the receiver/dashboard.
As a result of the TPMS battery losing its life, there will be a malfunctioning warning on the dashboard, connectivity issues with the sensors, and discrepancies in the pressure readings.
In short, it won’t be wrong to say that you are running your vehicle without knowing the actual status of your tires if the TPMS battery is dead.
It is usual for a TPMS sensor battery to stop functioning after completing its lifecycle or it can also lose its life because of some external sources.
Whatever the reason, when the TPMS battery dies there will be…
Malfunction warning from the system
The first sign of battery problems occurs through the TPMS dashboard. The warning sign can vary depending on the type of TPMS you have but in general, it is an indication to notify you about the malfunctioning of the system.
Some advanced TPMS modules come with different modes that offer alarms and signs (battery symbol) when the battery voltage is low.
The basic understanding of such a symbol is to charge the battery however if you frequently notice the appearance of the battery symbol then it could be more than just charging and may require urgent attention.
Connection problem with TPMS
Many users often notice connectivity issues wherein they are not able to view the tire pressure readings. The system will also display popping warning signs or symbols, and may keep blinking constantly.
Such problems are again an indication that there is something wrong with the TPMS sensors (most likely the battery) that are causing a lack of connection.
Incorrect pressure readings
When the battery is nearing its lifespan the burden of reading the pressure sucks the power much more quickly compared to normal conditions.
Hence, the sensors are not able to read and transmit the data in the correct manner leading to wrong pressure readings which could be misleading for the driver.
Incorrect tire pressure readings due to a suffocated battery could be very dangerous and may result in bigger tire issues in the long run.
It is important to regularly service the TPMS and inspect the conditions of sensors to improve their lifespan. But, to do that you need to understand the…
Causes that reduce TPMS battery lifespan
One of the primary causes that not only reduce the lifespan of the TPMS battery but many other parts of a vehicle is exposure to extreme temperatures and humidity.
Warmer temperatures and high heat are responsible factors to degrade a TPMS battery more quickly. Continuous exposure to hot weather conditions makes the battery life shorter than expected and it will eventually fail to operate.
On the other hand, lower temperatures are helpful for longer battery life but not until it is exposed to road salt.
In extreme cases, road salt used in the winter season can corrode the metal parts of the sensor leading to quicker battery drain. In fact, the spread of rusting/corrosion is not limited to TPMS sensors but many other vital parts of a vehicle.
It is therefore necessary to inspect and monitor the conditions of TPMS sensors after every visit and especially if you reside in locations captured by extreme heat or cold.
External load and capacity issues
The position of TPMS sensors is vulnerable to various load and capacity issues. Vehicle tires have to pass through many obstacles such as potholes, debris, dirt, rubbles, etc. that potentially impact all the components attached to them.
Many tire issues such as flatness, punctures, and replacements can damage the sensor and its battery. All these external issues lead to poor contact between the TPMS sensors and their batteries.
Additionally, TPMS activity is consistently loaded with regular vehicle movement which brings the battery-draining scenario into the picture.
All these external causes can contribute to the load capacity issues resulting in the reduced lifespan of TPMS batteries.
The best way to protect the TPMS sensors from the impact of external sources is safe driving. It is important to drive with caution, protect the vehicle from extreme temperatures as much as you can, and handle the vehicle properly on bad roads.
External sources and atmospheric temperature lead to premature exhaustion of TPMS battery life. These can be controlled with proper precautions and maintenance. What you can’t control is aging.
While most TPMS sensors work on battery-saving mode when not in use to save power this feature is only good to the extent of the actual lifespan of a battery.
Once the battery life is completely exhausted due to aging (5-7 years) the best option is a replacement.
Is the TPMS battery replaceable?
No, as of now TPMS batteries aren’t replaceable. Depending on the TPMS model, sensors’ driving power from batteries is built to last from 5 to 7 and in some cases up to 10 years.
As and when the replacement need arises, it is the whole sensor that gets replaced by the manufacturer instead of batteries that are actually sealed inside the sensor compartment.
Can you replace the battery on your own?
First of all, TPMS batteries are not designed to be replaced. Secondly, the process of replacing batteries could be tricky, tedious as well as risky.
It requires a technician’s mind and lots of tools to perform the act of replacement without impacting other parts of a sensor.
Still, if you are looking for a way to replace the TPMS sensor battery then here is a small video on how to do it:
I am sure after watching this video most of you will change your mind about replacing the TPMS battery yourself.
How much does it cost to replace the TPMS battery?
The cost of battery replacement could be well within $100. Most of the sensors (not batteries) cost around $10-$15 per piece.
If it is confirmed that the TPMS is malfunctioning due to one sensor battery it won’t be long before other sensors replicate the same behavior.
It is therefore recommended to replace and install all the sensors at once to avoid additional costs on multiple replacements.
Related Read: Do new tires come with TPMS sensors?
Does TPMS work without a battery?
Yes, there is a phenomenally invented sensor called SAW (Surface Acoustic Wave) that works on radio frequency signals for the transmission of pressure readings.
According to SEMA, there is no requirement for batteries for such sensors that rely on the piezo-electric surface acoustic waves to generate a radio frequency electrical field for the exchange of real-time pressure data.
TPMS sensor batteries are prone to expire naturally after their lifespan. There are also some external sources such as the temperature and on-road accidental scenarios that may result in early damage to TPMS sensor batteries.
When the TPMS battery dies there are technical issues and discrepancies in the pressure readings which could lead to bigger problems and consequences related to tires.
One of the solutions is to replace the sensor battery on your own which I personally don’t recommend. What I do recommend is changing the sensors completely with the new ones irrespective of the cost.
This will ensure the smooth performance of the TPMS system and also the safety and security of your vehicle tires as well as your life.