Tire pressure monitoring sensors is not a component that lasts for the life of the car and eventually you will require a TPMS tool. The purpose of the tool is to reset the fault code, relearn new sensors and much more.
The best TPMS tool is the Autel TS601 MaxiTPMS, which is able to read and clear code of a TPMS system and activate new sensors of all known TPMS.
Some of the best OBD2 scanner devices that can double up as a TPMS tool but they can cost a serious amount of money. Therefore you may be better of purchasing a cheaper TPMS tool that is dedicated to the tire pressure monitoring system.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best TPMS Tool
- 2 Autel TS601 MaxiTPMS TPMS Professional Tool
- 3 Autel TS401 MaxiTPMS Activation Tool
- 4 VXDAS EL-50448 TPMS Relearn Tool
- 5 ATEQ VT31 TPMS Reset Tool
- 6 JDiag Super EL50448 TPMS Relearn Tool
- 7 TPMS Tool Buying Guide
- 8 Conclusion
Best TPMS Tool
The tire pressure monitoring system found in most modern cars is an excellent feature. Regularly checking your tires with a pressure gauge can be fairly difficult at times but with a TPMS, you are able to continuously check and receive warnings.
However, the drawback is that the sensors used within the system need to be replaced every so often. This will therefore requires a TPMS tool for sensors to relearn and clear any fault codes that appear on the dash.
Below is a list of the best TPMS tools that will easily reset fault codes and can be used for relearning new tire pressure monitoring sensors.
Autel TS601 MaxiTPMS TPMS Professional Tool
The latest TPMS tool by Autel is their flagship model known as the TS601 MaxiTPMS. It comes with a premium price tag but is able to read and clear error codes from the TPMS system, which is not possible by many other tools.
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
The TS601 MaxiTPMS is a professional TPMS tool that allows you to program and diagnose faults with ease. It does come with a high price tag but compared to the older generation such as the TS401, it is a big improvement.
Overall, it is the best TPMS tool that comes with all the functionality that a professional or home mechanic will ever need with regards to the TPMS system.
Autel TS401 MaxiTPMS Activation Tool
Autel are known for their diagnostic tools but they also produce a number of TPMS tools. Their TS401 MaxiTPMS model is by far the most popular Autel offer and for good reason. It is able to read a wide variety of data from the sensors as well as relearn information. However, if you are looking to read and clear TPMS codes, you will require their premium model above.
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 and offers great value for money. Although it cannot read and clear codes, this may not be a requirement for some. The majority of people will only use this tool for relearning new sensors.
VXDAS EL-50448 TPMS Relearn Tool
The cheapest TPMS tool within this article is the VXDAS EL-50448, which is suitable for GM vehicles from 2012 and later. The brand claim that in just three steps, you are able to reprogram all the tires on your vehicle.
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, this TPMS tool is the best affordable option. However, if you do not own a GM vehicle that is newer than 2012, you will need to use an alternative tool.
ATEQ VT31 TPMS Reset Tool
Another popular brand in the TPMS tool industry is ATEQ and they produce a range of devices for tackling faults. The VT31 is their latest model and includes a basic display, which compared to the previous models makes it far easier to use.
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 functionality of the ATEQ VT31 is perfect for the majority of TPMS tasks. However, unlike the Autel devices, you cannot update this TPMS tool. This is a major drawback as it means that it will only work with vehicles up to 2017.
Overall, it is a great all-rounder and is compatible with most vehicles but it’s only worthwhile if you only have vehicles up to 2017.
JDiag Super EL50448 TPMS Relearn Tool
Another affordable option is the JDiag relearn tool, which is suitable for GM and Ford vehicles. It is the latest model and with a single click of a button, you are able to activate 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 is a very basic tool with no display but this does keep costs down. Overall, it is a cheap device that is suited to the average car owner simply wanting to reset their tire pressure sensors and nothing more.
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 a replacement. Once replaced, they will 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 are not, you will fail your inspection. These laws and regulations have been put in place to help improve driving safety. The pressure in your tires makes a huge difference to the way it handles on the road.
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 that you purchase, you may have the opportunity to perform a variety of functions. Below are some of the most common that can be found on some of the recommendations within this article.
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, you will be able to retrieve all these metrics and decide whether the sensor needs to be replaced or not.
Premium devices will also be able to program sensors to meet the certain requirements before they are installed. Many people confuse relearning and programming as the same functionality but this is not the case. The relearning functionality is a basic functionality and checks whether it is working correctly and suitable for the vehicle.
In order to truly program a TPMS sensor, you will 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. However, the reset functionality may be required when you switch wheels or tire rotation because this may trigger the warning light.
TPMS Relearn and Activation
After replacing the tire pressure sensor, the ECU may 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 is important that you choose a TPMS tool that is 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 will require a fully functioning TPMS in order to pass an inspection. Therefore, it’s worthwhile investing into a quality tool that works with a variety of sensors and can be updated for future systems.
With regards to our recommendations, the popular VXDAS EL-50448 is an excellent choice but does lack in functionality compared to 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 five recommendations being produced by the brand.
All of our recommendations cover all budgets and 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.