TPMS Tools: Servicing VW Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems

TPMS Tools: Servicing VW Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems

Understanding VW TPMS is the first step to efficient diagnosis and service.

Volkswagen tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) can be some of the easiest to reset and relearn. But, VW TPMS relearns can also be some of the most time-consuming if you don’t follow the procedures or don’t realize why specific steps are essential. 

Tip #1: Use a TPMS Tool 

Use a TPMS tool that can interface with the vehicle using the OBD II connection. Yes, it is possible to relearn sensor positions using button pushes in the driver information center and to navigate menus, but most dedicated TPMS tools can do it faster with fewer errors. Also, for most models, you will need a TPMS tool to program new sensors to the vehicle. 

Tip #2: Set the Correct Tire Pressures 

Before any relearn or reset procedure is performed on a direct or indirect system using either a tool or vehicle menus, set the tires to the correct pressure. When the system is reset, VWs use this pressure as the reference pressure. If it is not accurate, the system might assume an incorrect pressure is the correct pressure. 

Tip #3: Check the Second Set for Snow Tires 

Some VW models allow for a second set of IDs to be stored in the system for snow tires. Typically, these can be found on higher-end models like the Passat, Tiguan and R32/Golf R. 

Tip #4: Understand Sensor Operations 

The most important operational aspect to remember is how and when the VW TPMS sensors transmit. All TPMS sensors have a tiny accelerometer to sense when the wheels are moving. The movement has to reach a specific threshold of g-force or speed, for the sensor to start transmitting. The speed for most VWs is 16 mph. This is why a quick test drive is critical. Some VWs need to be driven at 16 mph to relearn the sensor IDs. It’s really a good practice no matter the make. 

When the wheel stops moving, it takes a specific amount of time for the sensor to stop transmitting. Depending on the make and model, it could be five to 20 minutes. For some VWs, it might take 20 minutes of just being stationary. 

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Scan Tool Tech

While systems can and will differ, here’s a look at common ADAS features, their general configurations and calibration requirements.

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Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) require the use of a scan tool for diagnostics, and the majority of the time, it’s required for post-repair calibration. ADAS, like any other system, requires a diagnostic routine, which begins with a base knowledge of the system. Knowing ADAS will help understand fault symptoms and scan tool data for the most efficient diagnosis.While systems can and will differ, here’s a look at common ADAS features, their general configurations and calibration requirements.Parking assist sensors, of which there can be more than one, are generally located in the front and rear bumpers. They are the inputs that affect active parking assist and parking collision warnings. Any time they are disturbed in any manner, a static calibration must be performed with a scan tool.Side object sensors, sometimes called collision avoidance sensors, are commonly located in the rear bumper. These sensors provide input for blind spot warnings, lane change alerts and rear cross traffic warnings. Static calibration with a scan tool is required when these are removed or replaced.Rear vision cameras will be located in the rear decklid, liftgate or tailgate, and act as either a backup camera alone, or part of a surround view system if the vehicle is so equipped. These cameras generally require a dynamic calibration, and no scan tool is required.A forward-looking camera is sometimes located behind the grille, and usually part of a surround view system. These too do not require a scan tool, but a dynamic calibration must be performed when they are removed or replaced.Different ADAS features may have dedicated control modules which can be located in various areas, often behind interior panels. As with most control modules, these require scan tool programming when replaced and, depending on the system, both static and dynamic calibrations may be required.The Haptic Seat Motor creates the vibration to provide a safety alert for blind spot, forward collision, lane departure, lane keep assist, parking collision and rear cross traffic warnings. These motors, sometimes called seat warning actuators, generally require no type of calibration.Cameras located in a sideview mirror are part of surround view systems. These require calibration when removed or replaced, but most of them dynamic, and no scan tool is required.The steering angle sensor located in the steering column is an input for lane keep assistance, and a static calibration is required with a scan tool any time it is removed or replaced, or any time a wheel alignment is performed.Last, but not least, is the front view, or forward-looking camera located in the windshield area. This camera is a vital part of adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, automatic high beam headlights, forward collision and lane departure warnings, and lane keeping assistance. A scan tool and static and dynamic calibration are required after removal and replacement, but also after windshield removal or replacement, or any service that affects the ride height of the vehicle. TS

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