Content contributed by Autel.
When Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) tool and sensor manufacturers speak about tools that only program one brand of sensors, they use the term “locked.” And they refer to a technician’s inability to program a TPMS sensor to a specific vehicle as being “locked out.” “Locked out” because the tool lacks the application software for the vehicle, and therefore it is unable to program a sensor for it.
If the tool has only 40% or even 85% coverage, OK, “locked out” or “locked” might be a reasonable term to use. Even 15% can amount to many vehicles and lead your shop to become a TPMS tool museum of sorts — with a need for a shelf of tools for every programmable sensor out there, piling up in hope that you might be able to service the vehicles that come into your shop. But a tool that offers 99% vehicle coverage with the remaining 1% being vehicles so out of the mainstream or so new to the market that an OE replacement is probably one’s only option, then using the term “locked out” amounts to little more than a scare tactic.
When a tool/sensor solution offers 99% coverage, meaning that its programmed sensors can replace sensors on almost all TPMS-equipped vehicles entering the shop, the accurate term to be ascribed to such a tool is “locked-in.”
Because every shop user of this tool/sensor solution “locks in,” increased profits are realized by speedier vehicle servicing, improved customer satisfaction, reduced individual parts and the cost savings of bulk-packaged sensors.
Even more efficient are the tools and sensors made by the same company. Most sensors and tool makers are not made by the same company. But consider the inherent benefits of a solution when both components are made by the same engineering team and designed to work with each other. The tool and sensor start to mimic an old married couple, but instead of completing each other sentences, they program a Lexus with a batch of sensors quicker and for less cost than any other pair in the industry.
This familial relationship enables quicker product improvements for both tool and sensor, including more accurate testing and better customer support. There’s no finger-pointing between the sensor and tool manufacturer with the poor tech stuck in the middle waiting on hold. And when it comes to coverage, the software can be rapidly updated and pushed to the tool to cover the latest vehicles on the market.
The TPMS tool and replacement sensor segment is highly competitive. Please do your research before sourcing your TPMS tools and sensor inventory to make sure it matches your needs.