Tire pressure monitoring sensors aren’t a component that lasts for the life of the car and when they start to malfunction, they can cause the dreaded TPMS error to appear on the dash. However, by investing into a TPMS tool, you can reset the fault code, relearn new tire pressure sensors and so much more.
If you require a quick answer, the best TPMS tool is the Autel TS601 MaxiTPMS, which is able to read and clear all codes of a TPMS system and activate new sensors of all known TPMS’s. However, if you want a device that’s cheap and simply resets and relearns tire pressure sensors, the VXDAS EL-50448 is perfect.
To rate the recommendations within this article, we based the TPMS tools upon our own experience of using them as well as a number of factors. The factors that we considered included their ease of use, functionality, display, compatibility, warranty and value for money.
It’s worth noting that if you are also in the market for a new OBD2 scanner, many of the premium options include TPMS tool functionality. Therefore, it may be a more cost effective solution to purchase a new scanner.
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TPMS Tool Comparison
The tire pressure monitoring system found on most modern cars is an excellent feature. Regularly checking your tires with a pressure gauge can be fairly difficult at times. However, with a TPMS, you are able to continuously check the pressures and receive warnings if there is an issue.
However, the main drawback of this technology is that the sensors used within the system need to be replaced every so often. This therefore requires a TPMS tool because the sensors need to relearn the system and you will also need to clear any fault codes that appear on the dash.
Below is a list of the best TPMS tools that easily resets fault codes and can be used for relearning new tire pressure monitoring sensors.
The Best TPMS Tool
1. Autel TS601 MaxiTPMS TPMS Professional Tool
The latest TPMS tool by Autel is their flagship model known as the TS601 MaxiTPMS. Although expensive, it’s able to read and clear error codes from all TPMS systems, which isn’t possible by many other tools.
The TS601 MaxiTPMS is a professional TPMS tool that allows you to program and diagnose faults with ease. It’s also the brand’s new and improved model that offers far more functionality when compared to its predecessor.
Other features of the Autel TS601 MaxiTPMS Professional Tool include:
- Activates new sensors of all known TPMS
- Read and clear TPMS error codes
- Reads and writes sensor IDs
- Live data stream and freeze frame
- Additional OBD2 functionality
- Free software updates for future TPMS functions
Overall, the Autel TS601 MaxiTPMS is the best TPMS tool that comes with all the functionality that a professional or home mechanic will ever need. It’s also developed by the reputable Autel brand for complete peace of mind.Check it Out
2. Autel TS401 MaxiTPMS Activation Tool
By far the most popular TPMS tool that Autel offer is the TS401 MaxiTPMS model. It’s suitable for reading data from a wide range of tire sensors and activating new sensors from all known TPMS systems. It’s also cheaper than the advanced TS601 alternative above but it does lack the ability to read and clear TPMS codes.
Other features of the Autel TS401 MaxiTPMS Activation Tool include:
- Activates new sensors of all known TPMS
- Scans TPMS ID’s, battery levels, air pressures and temperatures
- Displays vehicle specific relearn procedures
- Unlimited free software updates
- 128×64 graphical display
The Autel TS401 MaxiTPMS is an excellent all-rounder that offers great value for money when you consider its functionality. Although it can’t read and clear codes, this may not be a requirement for some as most people may only use this tool for relearning new sensors.Check it Out
3. VXDAS EL-50448 TPMS Relearn Tool
The most popular and cheapest TPMS tool on the market is the VXDAS EL-50448, which is suitable for GM vehicles from 2012 and later. According to the brand, in just three steps, you are able to reprogram all the tires on your vehicle and thus clear the fault code.
Other features of the VXDAS EL-50448 TPMS Relearn Tool include:
- Basic functionality that is easy to use
- Wireless design that uses a 9V battery
- Fast functionality due to a clever circuit board
- Suitable for GM vehicles and a few other manufacturers
- Compact design that can be stored safely
The basic design of the VXDAS EL-50448 means that there is a limit to what you can actually achieve. However, for simply resetting and relearning tire pressure sensors, this TPMS tool is the best affordable option. However, if you don’t own a GM vehicle that’s newer than 2012, you will need to use an alternative tool.Check it Out
4. ATEQ VT31 TPMS Reset Tool
Another popular brand in the TPMS tool industry is ATEQ and they produce a range of devices for tackling TPMS faults. The VT31 is their latest model and includes a basic display, which compared to the previous models makes it far easier to use.
The functionality of the ATEQ VT31 is perfect for the majority of TPMS tasks. However, unlike the Autel devices, you can’t update this TPMS tool. This is a major drawback because it means it only works for vehicles up to 2017.
Other features of the ATEQ VT31 TPMS Reset Tool include:
- Suitable for the majority of domestic vehicles
- Turns off and resets the TPMS system
- Reads sensor data such as the ID, battery and pressure
- Activates all TPMS sensors
- Rugged design that is powered by a 9V battery
The ATEQ VT31 is a cheap TPMS tool that’s easy to use, compatible with most manufacturers and has a compact design that’s built to last. However, unless your car was built before 2017, it won’t be compatible.Check it Out
5. JDiag Super EL50448 TPMS Relearn Tool
Another affordable option is the JDiag relearn tool, which is suitable for GM and Ford vehicles. It’s the latest model by the brand that’s also one of the easiest to use because it works with a single click of a button, which then activates the individual TPMS sensors.
Other features of the JDiag Super EL50448 TPMS Relearn Tool include:
- Compatible with most GM vehicles
- Activation and reprogramming functionality
- Powered by 9V batteries
- Single button design
- Rugged and compact design for storage
As with the VXDAS EL-50448, it’s a very basic tool with no display but this does keep the costs down. Overall, it’s a cheap TPMS tool that’s suitable for the average car owner that simply wants to reset their tire pressure sensors and nothing else.Check it Out
6. TCK Ford TPMS Sensor Training Tool
For those that drive Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicles, you can opt for this basic device by TCK TECH. It’s a single button TPMS tool that resets the tire pressure sensors and removes the warning light from your dash.
Other features of the TCK TECH Ford TPMS Tool include:
- Suitable for Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles
- Clears the fault code upon the dash
- Easy to use and works with a single button click
- Battery powered
- Supplied with instructions
Overall, the TCK TECH is an excellent all-round TPMS tool that ticks all the boxes and won’t disappoint. As long as you are performing the reset upon Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicles, it will work perfectly and clear any fault codes upon the dash.Check it Out
How We Rated The TPMS Tools
As we own multiple cars that feature a tire pressure monitoring system, we have tried and tested a variety of TPMS tools. Below is a photo of us testing out the Autel TPMS tool and we were very impressed with its functionality and how easy it was to use. As well as our experience of using TPMS tools, we also based our recommendations on multiple factors, which included ease of use, functionality, display, compatibility, warranty and value for money.
TPMS Tool Buying Guide
The Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is a great feature when it’s working but a nightmare when it isn’t. If you install aftermarket wheels or the sensors have failed overtime, they will require replacement. Once replaced, they also need to be reprogrammed and any faults will need to be cleared from the dash.
In some states, there are regulations put in place that require your TPMS to be fully operational. If they aren’t, you will fail your inspection. These laws and regulations have been put in place to help improve driving safety and ensure your car handles the way it should.
To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below buying guide regarding TPMS tools.
Functionality of a TPMS Tool
Depending upon the type of device you purchase, you may have the opportunity to perform a variety of functions. Below are some of the most common features that can be found on some of the recommendations.
Decoding and Information Retrieval
Each tire pressure sensor will output a number of different data metrics. These include their ID, temperature, current pressure, battery level, voltage and much more. Using an appropriate tool, allows you to retrieve these metrics and decide whether the sensor needs to be replaced.
Premium devices will also be able to program sensors to meet certain requirements before they are installed. Many people confuse relearning and programming as the same functionality but this isn’t the case. The relearning feature is a basic function that checks whether it’s working correctly and suitable for the vehicle.
In order to truly reprogram a TPMS sensor, you need to invest slightly more into a TPMS tool with this feature. As you can see from the image above, the sensor connects directly to the tool for programming. However, for the average car owner, this is probably not required or too advanced of a feature.
One of the main reasons people require these tools is to reset the TPMS warning light. The reset functionality may be required when you switch wheels or the tire rotation because it may trigger the warning light.
TPMS Relearn and Activation
After replacing the tire pressure sensor, the ECU may also need to relearn the location of the sensor. This is fairly common with the majority of cars after changing your sensors or tire rotation. You may also need to activate the sensor depending upon the sensor as some may remain in a “sleep mode” state.
Installing aftermarket sensors is a popular option for many. The main reason is because they are far cheaper than OEM alternatives. However, it’s important that you choose a TPMS tool that’s compatible with the sensor that you purchase. Failing to check beforehand may result in the inability to program them.
Another compatibility factor to consider is that some tools only work with certain vehicle manufacturers. For example, some may work with only GM manufacturers whereas others work with all manufacturers.
Tire pressure monitoring systems are becoming a standard feature in most cars. Some states by law require a fully functioning TPMS system in order to pass an inspection. Therefore, it’s worthwhile investing into a quality tool that works with a variety of sensors and can also be updated for future systems.
All of our recommendations cover every budget and are suited to professionals and the average car owners. If possible, we highly recommend investing into a quality tool such as the Autel devices but if not, the more affordable options will still do the job.
With regards to our recommendations, the popular VXDAS EL-50448 is an excellent choice but it does lack in functionality when compared to the alternatives. Autel are market leaders within this industry and with a lifetime of free updates, you are able to use the tool for years to come. For this reason, we are big fans of the Autel devices with two of the six recommendations being produced by the brand.