Even among experienced service pros, there are still a lot of questions about TPMS service. One of the most common questions we hear is, “What is the difference between TPMS relearn and TPMS programming.” Here’s the answer:

TPMS sensor programming is an extra TPMS service step

TPMS vehicle relearn and TPMS sensor programming are completely different procedures. Aftermarket TPMS sensors that come as “programmable,” “universal” or “clone-able” must be programmed with the proper protocol/application information for the specific vehicle before they can be installed. Once they have been successfully programmed, they must then be relearned to the vehicle.

In order to be able to program programmable sensors, technicians may need to invest in specialized tools, training, and software. In addition, these programming tools will periodically need to be updated to provide the latest application and software in order to work with the newest vehicles.

Multi-application sensors have their TPMS protocols loaded at the factory

Multi-application TPMS sensors, such as REDI-Sensor, do not require the protocols to be loaded in the shop. REDI-Sensor comes out of the box with the TPMS protocols needed to function with multiple vehicles’ TPMS. REDI-Sensor eliminates the time spent on uploading protocols. This eliminates the possibility of programming errors to help make TPMS service faster and more profitable.

Vehicle relearn is always a required TPMS service step

Regardless of whether it is an OE sensor, a programmable sensor, or a multi-application sensor, every aftermarket TPMS sensor must be ‘relearned’ to the vehicle. The relearn procedure not only connects the sensor to the vehicle TPM System, it also provides a check that verifies the vehicle’s TPM System is functioning properly. With the exception of some Chrysler and Mazda models that may be relearned to the vehicle through a driving procedure, a TPMS scan tool is required to complete the vehicle relearn procedure.


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