A Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is an electronic system that monitor the air pressure inside the tires in real time. The goal of the TPMS is avoiding traffic accidents, poor fuel economy, and increased tire wear due to under-inflated tires. Most people know the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) as being a false dash warning light that has to be dismissed continuously… But did you know it’s mandatory in the USA on all passenger vehicles since 2008 (hence no option to turn it off)? Let’s see how to make it work as it should and how to monitor the tire pressure in real time via a smartphone!
Ford Transit TPMS
The driver is alerted when a sensor detects tire pressure below 25 percent of the recommended tire pressure. On our Ford Transit 2016 and 2021, each wheel (except the spare wheel) came equipped with a wireless sensor.
As soon as we introduced the spare wheel into our tire rotation, we immediately started getting “Tire Pressure Sensor Fault” message. Indeed, the spare wheel now had a sensor and the right-rear wheel had no sensor (because of the tire rotation). After 30 minutes being static (spare wheel), a sensor will be put into “sleep” mode to save battery. Once the sensor go to “sleep”, we get the “Tire Pressure Sensor Fault” message:
To solve that issue, we will buy and install a new sensor so all wheels will have a sensor (keep reading this article to learn how to train the system following a tire rotation). We wish we had done this from day 1, but now we have to wait until we install new tires…
*Note that we are rotating our tires following “G” Pattern (“rearward cross” for rear-wheel drive vehicles):
Buying and Installing TPMS Sensor
TPMS sensors can be obtained through a Ford Dealer or from TireRack:
We personally haven’t installed a new sensor (yet) on our spare wheel, but this is the installation procedure that we will follow:
Because the pressure is different for front/rear tires, the system must be trained following a tire rotation. The training procedure will let the system know where each sensor is physically located (front-left/front-right/rear-left/rear-right). There are 2 options to perform the training:
1- Sensor Training without tool
- This method requires to deflate each tire, so an air compressor is required to re-inflate them after the procedure is completed.
- This method can’t be used to teach the system to recognize a new sensor (i.e. after buying and installing a new sensor), but it will work afterwards.
- The following procedure can be found in the Ford Transit owner’s manual.
1. Drive your vehicle above 20 mph (32 km/h) for at least two minutes to activate the sensors.
2. Switch the ignition off.
3. Switch the ignition on with the engine off.
4. Turn the hazard flashers on then off three times, this must be completed within 10 seconds. If the reset mode has been entered successfully, the horn will chirp once and the system indicator will flash.
5. Train the system sensors in the tires using the following reset sequence starting with the left front tire and following a clockwise order: Left front, right front, right rear, left rear.
6. Remove the valve cap from the valve stem on the left front tire. Decrease the air pressure until the horn chirps. Note: The single horn chirp confirms that the sensor identification code has been learned by your vehicle for this position. If a double horn chirp is heard, the reset procedure was unsuccessful and must be repeated.
7. Remove the valve cap from the valve stem on the right front tire. Decrease the air pressure until the horn chirps.
8. Remove the valve cap from the valve stem on the right rear tire. Decrease the air pressure until the horn chirps.
9. Remove the valve cap from the valve stem on the left rear tire. Decrease the air pressure until the horn chirps. Training is complete when the horn chirps after the last system sensor (left rear) has been trained and the system indicator stops flashing.
10. Switch the ignition off. If two short horn chirps are heard, the reset procedure was unsuccessful and must be repeated.
11. Set all four tires to the correct pressure See Maintenance (owner’s manual page 211) or the tire inflation pressure label
(located on the edge of driver door or the B-Pillar).
2- Sensor Training with tool
- It is not required to deflate the tire using this method, but the following tool must be obtained:
(Official Ford documentation here)
1. Turn the ignition switch to the OFF position, then press and release the brake pedal.
2. Cycle the ignition switch from the OFF position to the RUN position 3 times, ending in the RUN position.
3. Press and release the brake pedal.
4. Turn the ignition switch to the OFF position.
5. Turn the ignition switch from the OFF position to the RUN position 3 times, ending in the RUN position.
*The horn will sound once and the TPMS indicator will flash if the training mode has been entered successfully. If equipped, the message center will display TRAIN LF TIRE.*
6. Place the tire pressure monitor activation tool on the LEFT (Driver’s Side) FRONT tire sidewall at the valve stem. Press and release the test button repeatedly on the TPMS Tool until the horn beeps. (It may take up to 6 seconds for the tool to activate the sensor, Leave the tool on the sidewall for the entire 6 seconds). The horn beeping indicates that the body control module has recognized the TPMS sensor.
7. Within 2 minutes of the horn sounding confirming programming of the LF tire, place the TPMS tool on the RIGHT (Passenger’s Side) FRONT tire sidewall at the valve stem and press the test button to activate the sensor.
8. Repeat step 7 for RIGHT REAR followed by LEFT REAR tire in that order. The procedure is complete after the last tire has been trained. When training is complete, the message center (if equipped) will display TIRE TRAINING COMPLETE. For vehicles not equipped with a message center, successful completion of the training procedure is verified by turning the key to the OFF position without the horn sounding. If the horn beeps twice when the switch is turned to OFF the training procedure was not successful.
NOTE: If the vehicle or wheels/sensors have been stationary for more than 30 minutes, the sensors will go into a “sleep mode” to conserve battery power. It is necessary to wake them up by simply moving them or rolling the tires before they will communicate with the vehicle.
NOTE: The TPMS training procedure must be done on one vehicle at a time, in an area without radio frequency interference – at least 3 feet away from other vehicles equipped with TPMS sensors.
Torque Pro App
With the help of a OBDII Bluetooth Device (Buy on Amazon) and the Torque Pro app, you can monitor the tire pressure of each tires in real-time on your Android smartphone*. And it’s quite accurate; you can see the pressure increasing as temperature changes…
How to display the tire pressure on the Torque Pro app using OBDII bluetooth scanner:
- Turn vehicle ignition to “ON” (starting the engine is not required).
- Insert the OBDII scanner into the vehicle (see picture above for where to insert it).
- Open the Torque Pro app and wait for the app to pair with the OBDII device.
- Click on “Realtime Information”
- Click on settings (that’s the gear icon on the lower-left side of the screen)
- Click on “Add display”
- Select your display style (the picture above shows a “Digital Display” style)
- Click on “[FORD] Left front tyre pressure”
- Repeat steps 5. to 8. to add all three other tires.
(For troubleshooting or more info on the Torque Pro app, please check the official website: https://torque-bhp.com/wiki/Main_Page)
There are endless possibilities with the Torque Pro app (check error codes, monitor tire pressure, battery voltage, MPG, fluid temperatures, etc.), but that’s another topic and we will leave it here for now!
*It seems the Torque Pro app is not great on iPhone… here is another solution for ios but we haven’t tested it: Buy on Amazon