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Discussion Starter #1
This is sticky topic from a trimmed down version of a long and rambling thread about TPMS in winter wheels.

Initially I asked a three-part question:

Part the first:
Is it worth the hassle of getting a second set of TPMS sensors for my winter wheels and getting the car reprogrammed to see them? I can live with the light on the dash for three months but if that light means I can't turn off the VSA, that's a different problem entirely.

Part the second:
Where do you get Honda TPMS sensors? H&A don't seem to do them (which is odd because I could swear they did at one point). According to hondatpms.com I need TRW 42753-SNA-A83 for my 2009 Element. eBay is awash with "deals" but they all seem a bit dodgy.

Part the third:
Because none of the previous topics seem to agree - can a national chain reprogram my ECU to the new sensors or not? I don't want to pay dealer prices if I don't have to but equally I don't want to go to a chain and have them give me some **** and bull story about needing a "special" tool that they either don't have, or want to charge me extra for.

This was the ultimate resolution:

First - yes - you do need working TPMS sensors in order to be able to disable the VSA / Traction Control.

So I took my winter wheels and tyres down to my local Les Schwab and they fitted the sensors and rebalanced the wheels for me.

Here's the final cost :

4x sensors: $118.32 inc.shipping from Hondapartsnow

4x washers and 4x nuts, which I forgot and had to buy locally: $18.65

Taking my wheels to have the sensors fitted: $84.41

Re-learn when I put the winter wheels on - $22.39 all-in for all four wheels

(Not relying on a Honda dealer - priceless )

Now this assumes you have a second set of wheels and tyres and that you're willing to do the changeover yourself (and frankly why wouldn't you?).

$23 twice a year for the re-learn is a complete no-brainer too. The guy told me that most big-name wheel fitting places can do Honda TPMS without any trouble. He said the biggest problems were normally Toymotor - they can't do those systems and have to take them to dealers to get them re-learned.

So there you go - if you end up with winter wheels, the up-front cost of getting the sensors in isn't too bad, and the re-learn from a non-Honda dealer is el cheapo.

Plus it means you don't have the hassle of continually changing tyres on the same rims with all the issues that involves. (constant dinging of your rims and constant rebalancing).

Note: I used Les Schwab because of prior experience but for the sake of nerdy forum completeness, I called Big O Tires and Discount Tire Center too. Their re-learn costs were about $40 all-in and the cost just to fit the sensors in the winter wheels was $94 and $89 respectively in my area - so not a giant difference.
 

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Thank you Paul.

Dom
 

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I have a 2007 SC with stock 18" wheels. For my winter tire package, I dropped down to a 16" wheel/tire. Is the recalibration (re-learn) possible and just as cheap?

Ted
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That's what I've got - the old 16 inchers off my old Element EX but with winter tyres on them. The stock TPMS units fitted the smaller wheel without problem. The re-learn is irrespective of the wheels - it's simply a case of reading the RFID code from the four sensors then reprogramming the ECU via the OBD2 port to see those four codes.
 

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me and the tire guy talked about this today after they installed my new tires on the winter rim. I guess I am going to have to get some sensors now.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I thought it was time for a followup on this, as I've completed the entire process. I put my winter wheels on this weekend and went back to the local tyre place and it turned out they actually could NOT relearn the sensors.
Here's what I discovered:

Up until the 2008 model year, Honda sensors had a "discoverable" mode in them - sort of like a bluetooth headset. To get a car to see new sensors, each one has to be set in "discoverable" mode by a handheld analog RF scanner. Once in that mode, you drive the car up to 20mph and it relearns the sensors on its own. At that point, the wheel sensors go back into transmit-only mode.

From 2009 onwards, Honda changed to a simpler sensor because of unreliability with the discover mode. The new ones are the ones where you need a digital scanner, not an analog one. The digital scanner pulls the four sensor codes from the TPMS modules and is then plugged in to the OBD2 port to blast the codes into the onboard computer. Not many aftermarket tyre places can do this because the Honda equipment is pricey and they don't get the volume of work needed to recover the initial cost of the scanner.

So in the end I had to get my four new sensors relearned by the local dealer. It took them 30 minutes from checking the car in to getting it back to me (and it was washed and all the fluids had been topped off for free). It cost me $52 which isn't that bad in the grand scheme of things.

However I also learned a couple of other important things in the process:

1. It takes about 10 miles or 30 minutes of driving before the onboard computer turns the TPMS light on. ie. for the first little bit after you fit the other wheels, the system is in WTF? mode and eventually it gives up and turns the light on. Similarly, if you change back to your normal wheels, it takes about the same amount of time for the TPMS light to go out.

2. You actually can disable the traction control when the TPMS system is offline. This means that if you can live with the TPMS light on the dash for 4 months over winter, you really don't need sensors in your winter wheels at all.

3. The idea about keeping the sensors in your glovebox, or keeping your summer wheels in the back of your car is flawed. The wheels need to be turning for the sensors to transmit. They're normally in sleep mode, but have a mercury centrifugal switch in them which wakes them up once the wheels are spinning.

So there you go - everything you need to know about TPMS in winter / aftermarket wheels.
 

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I thought it was time for a followup on this, as I've completed the entire process. I put my winter wheels on this weekend and went back to the local tyre place and it turned out they actually could NOT relearn the sensors.
Here's what I discovered:
Excellent!

Thank you.:food004:
 

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First - yes - you do need working TPMS sensors in order to be able to disable the VSA / Traction Control.
NOT TRUE! I can personally guarantee you this in an '07 or '08. If they changed something in the '09+ models you should specify.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
NOT TRUE! I can personally guarantee you this in an '07 or '08. If they changed something in the '09+ models you should specify.
See the post two above where I rectified this, and not in caps either:

2. You actually can disable the traction control when the TPMS system is offline. This means that if you can live with the TPMS light on the dash for 4 months over winter, you really don't need sensors in your winter wheels at all.
 

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tpms light flashing, tyre shoppe couldn't reset

Has anyone run into the case where ye olde tyre shoppe couldn't reset your TPMS sensors?

the guy told me he did it by the book, tried it 6 or 7 times and pulled his hair out trying to get the system to work.

as he said: i got the codes from your sensors... i stored them in my tool... i plugged it into the vehicle... it accepted them... and the light is still blinking.

anyone? i didn't buy sensors to not have them work!
 

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I have a 07' without the sensors and I just have the light, my vsa works fine, turns on and off. Imo, they are not needed on the 07 and 08's, do not know about the 09 up E's.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Has anyone run into the case where ye olde tyre shoppe couldn't reset your TPMS sensors?

the guy told me he did it by the book, tried it 6 or 7 times and pulled his hair out trying to get the system to work.

as he said: i got the codes from your sensors... i stored them in my tool... i plugged it into the vehicle... it accepted them... and the light is still blinking.

anyone? i didn't buy sensors to not have them work!
I suspect your tyre place doesn't have the "official" Honda tool for doing this and it seems the newer Honda systems are particularly picky about this.

From my updated post:
Up until the 2008 model year, Honda sensors had a "discoverable" mode in them - sort of like a bluetooth headset. To get a car to see new sensors, each one has to be set in "discoverable" mode by a handheld analog RF scanner. Once in that mode, you drive the car up to 20mph and it relearns the sensors on its own. At that point, the wheel sensors go back into transmit-only mode.

From 2009 onwards, Honda changed to a simpler sensor because of unreliability with the discover mode. The new ones are the ones where you need a digital scanner, not an analog one. The digital scanner pulls the four sensor codes from the TPMS modules and is then plugged in to the OBD2 port to blast the codes into the onboard computer. Not many aftermarket tyre places can do this because the Honda equipment is pricey and they don't get the volume of work needed to recover the initial cost of the scanner.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I have a 07' without the sensors and I just have the light, my vsa works fine, turns on and off. Imo, they are not needed on the 07 and 08's, do not know about the 09 up E's.
Correct - not needed for the VSA to be able to be de-activated. If you can live with the light on the dash for 5 months of the year, do it.
 

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I have a cheaper way to sort this out. I have an '07 SC and I run a second set of wheels for winter tires. I use a small piece of black electrical tape to cover up the TPMS light for the winter so it doesn't annoy me and I just keep an eye on my tire pressure the old fashioned way. My TPMS light does not affect the VSA button.

Incidentally, have you noticed the TP light only comes on when they're at about 22psi (should be 32psi IIRC). So we should all be checking our pressures regularly anyway.
 

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I have a cheaper way to sort this out. I have an '07 SC and I run a second set of wheels for winter tires. I use a small piece of black electrical tape to cover up the TPMS light for the winter so it doesn't annoy me and I just keep an eye on my tire pressure the old fashioned way. My TPMS light does not affect the VSA button.
Nice easy solution!

Being you are from North Van maybe you can advise me. I'll be driving my E from Vancouver through Jasper, to Saskatoon in February and wonder if I should be getting snow tires. And if so, what should I be looking for?

For anyone who might want to advise think of it as, Seattle through the high rockies to the flat lands in the dead of winter.

I'm a little scared of driving in the snow although I grew up in it and hopefully driving through blizzards will come back to me like second nature. Then again, gotta be careful of what you wish for.
 

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I have a 2009 Element, I got new wheels for the summer and place the tpms sensors from the stock wheels to the aftermarket,, i did not want to swap the sensors back and forth so i purchase 4 new sensors for the stock wheels,,,now my problem was to reprogram the new sensors, the dealer want $120.00,,,so i did some searching and found the (tpmsquickset) by Ateq sold at tirerack.com,,paid $125.00 but it work,,first i retrieve the sensor codes from the element with the quickset wrote them down,, second i wrote down the new sensor codes down before installing them on the wheels and them type them codes on the quickset now all i have to do is connect the quickset to the car press summer and the summer codes get send to computer or choose winter to send the winter codes in the computer and before driving the car for the computer to recognize the sensors i empty the tires by 5 to 10 psi fill them again to recommended psi and drive around and light goes out,,,you can check the Tpmsquickset at tirerack.com and download manual,, hope this work for the ones like me that hate that light on on the dashboard,,,,safe driving to all
 

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vsa

why do you want to turn off the vsa during winter? it really helps me when it is snowy, and the roads are icey. this is the time for stability assist.:?
 
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