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Summary
  • TPMS sensor batteries aren’t designed to be replaced. A layer of potting material seals the battery and other electronic components in the housing, protecting it from moisture, dirt, and vibration.
  • If you want to replace your TPMS sensor’s battery, you can try removing the TPMS sensor first, scraping off the potting compound with a screwdriver, and spot-welding the battery straps.
  • You should replace the TPMS sensor instead because simply replacing the battery can damage the sensor and lead to battery leakage. TPMS sensors are also relatively affordable.

Every driver knows just how dangerous it is to drive around with low tire pressure. Underinflated tires can lead to tire failure, blowouts, and increased braking distance. Thankfully, tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) sensors make it easy to know when your tires need servicing. They monitor your tire pressure and trigger the warning light on your dashboard when they detect anything amiss. Powered by batteries, however, TPMS sensors only last around 5 to 12 years.

Can You Replace the Battery in Tire Pressure Sensors?

TPMS sensor batteries aren’t designed to be replaced. Usually mounted on the wheel, TPMS sensors are constantly exposed to the elements. Moisture, dirt, and vibration can all damage the sensor, which is why its housing is protected by a layer of potting material.

See also  Where Is the Tire Pressure Sensor Located?

This protective layer makes it hard to access the battery, which is effectively sealed shut from water, debris, and DIY enthusiasts who want to replace the battery. When TPMS sensor batteries die, it’s best to replace the sensor itself instead of getting new batteries.

How To Replace a TPMS Sensor Battery

If you’re up for a challenge, you can try replacing the TPMS sensor’s battery. It can take a lot of effort, but here are some tips that can make the entire process easier:

Prepare the Necessary Tools

To replace your TPMS sensor’s battery, you’ll have to get to the TPMS sensor first. This will require jacks, a wrench set, and a TPMS hand tool. Depending on how thick the potting compound around the TPMS sensor is, you might need a heat gun to melt it off.

Don’t forget to get the correct TPMS sensor battery replacement as well. Prepare all of these tools first, so you don’t have to go back and forth looking for them once you’re in the zone.

Remove the TPMS Sensor

Depending on the type of sensor, you might have to remove the tires first to access it and its battery. Most TPMS sensors are directly connected to the tire valve stem, such as valve cap sensors. Other types such as snap-in and clamp-on sensors are mounted on the barrel of the rim. If you aren’t sure where your TPMS sensor is and how to remove it, don’t hesitate to ask a mechanic for help.

See also  What Is a Tire Pressure Sensor and What Does It Do?

Remove the TPMS Sensor Battery

This is where things get a little complicated. A layer of potting compound seals the TPMS sensor, making it hard to remove the battery. You’ll have to melt the material off with a heat gun or scrape it off with a screwdriver.

In some cases, the battery is spot-welded to the straps of the circuit board. You can gently unfasten them using a screwdriver or needle-nose pliers.

Spot-Weld the Battery Straps

Once you’ve replaced the battery, you’ll have to secure the straps again. You can do this by spot-welding the straps or using solder and flux instead.

Seal the TPMS With Potting Compound

To protect the TPMS sensor, you’ll have to seal it in the potting compound again. This will keep it safe from constant exposure to moisture, vibrations, and heat.

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Why You Should Buy a New TPMS Sensor Instead

While replacing its battery is a challenge welcomed by some DIY enthusiasts, it isn’t something we recommend. A lot of things can go wrong in the process, and all that trouble is hardly worth it when you can just buy a new TPMS sensor instead.

If you still haven’t made up your mind, here are some reasons why you should buy a new TPMS instead of replacing the batteries:

TPMS Sensor Damage

Because the battery is encased in potting material, you’d have to melt or scrape the compound away. All this force can damage the sensor’s components, rendering all your efforts useless. To save yourself from all that trouble, consider buying a new TPMS sensor instead.

See also  What is a TPMS Sensor? Signs and Causes of Failure, and More

Battery Leakage

Melting the potting compound that seals the TPMS sensor can also damage the battery itself, causing acid to leak and damage the device. Because it’s corrosive, battery acid can also burn your skin if you aren’t careful. Getting a brand-new TPMS sensor instead of replacing the battery is the safer choice.

New Batteries Won’t Last Long

Even if you successfully replace the battery, there’s no guarantee that it’ll last long. In most cases, you won’t find any labels on the TPMS sensor battery, so it’ll be hard to find the exact battery type the sensor needs. Because of this, you might end up using a smaller battery that won’t last as long as the original. With a new TPMS sensor, you won’t have to worry about that as it already comes with a fresh battery.

TPMS Sensors Are Affordable

The cost of TPMS sensor batteries typically ranges from $20 to $200. Similarly, aftermarket TPMS sensors can cost anywhere from $10 to $380, which means you can already score a good-quality one for around $60. Given their similar price range, you’d be getting more of your money’s worth with a brand-new TPMS sensor.

About The Author
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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