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You might be tempted to think that high performance (HP) and ultra high performance (UHP) tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) service is no different than standard TPMS service. If so, think again.
There are several TPMS-related concepts that technicians should keep in mind when working with HP and UHP tires.
John Rice, TPMS product and support manager for 31 Inc., says low-profile HP and UHP tires “have shorter overall sidewall heights, which means it’s harder to scan/activate /reactivate TPMS sensors as part of relearn (process).”
The reason? “Less sidewall to use for scanning. It is important to position the TPMS tool on the sidewall of the tire adjacent to the sensor and not directly on the sensor.
Rice also notes that “clamp-on TPMS sensors have serviceable parts – nut, core, grommet, and sometimes washers – that must be replaced each time a tire is removed from the wheel”, which highlights “the importance of going through the sidewall of the tire.
Leyla Saad, marketing coordinator for Schrader TPMS Solutions, says HP and UHP tires that have been “installed on performance wheels may have significantly different sensor and rim mounting from original equipment specifications and in some cases, this can make the sensor activation process difficult.
“Inverted mounting, large offset, 90 degree valve hole – these are all factors that can affect whether the sensor activates or scans through the sidewall of the tire.
“For example, a sensor may be too far from the tool’s antenna and may not activate or the tool may not pick up the transmission from the sensor.”
A review of the basics
“High performance wheels and tires require high performance TPMS service and parts,” says Scot Holloway, CEO of Bartec USA LLC. “Technicians would do well to consider these key service points:”
Perform necessary system diagnostics
Install the right sensors
Ensure the vehicle is properly calibrated
Systems diagnostics should include a basic inspection of the TPMS sensors, as well as a reading of the TPMS control module, according to Holloway.
“Technician is looking for all current fault codes” including diagnostic trouble codes. “The rules state that the TPMS must remain operational. Using a TPMS diagnostic tool can help establish the condition of the TPMS.
New tires and wheels “usually mean new TPMS sensors,” Holloway notes.
“When installing a new tyre/wheel assembly, it is necessary to keep the vehicle’s TPMS operational. This means making sure the correct replacement sensor is installed and a system relearn is complete.
Choosing the right sensor is based on function. “In high-performance tire applications, it can also mean choosing a sensor that matches the appearance of the wheel and tire. Replacement sensors that offer painted or chrome shanks further enhance the tire and wheel assembly.
Holloway says aluminum clamp valve stems “are preferred” in HP applications “because they are better suited to higher pressures and higher rated speeds.”
Often installing a better performing tire and wheel requires recalibration of the tire’s recommended inflation pressure.
“This is a critical step in maintaining proper load capacity for a car or truck,” says Holloway.