Is it possible to disable/cheat the TPMS?

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FinnishCoffee

I torture VFDs
Joined
Feb 27, 2023
Messages
92
Location
Finland
Hi,

as the temperatures are slowly starting to come down, I'll soon be switching to my winter set of wheels and tires. The only niggle is that they don't have TPMS sensors in them.

The question is: is there an easy or cheap way to disable or cheat the TPMS system to not show the tire pressure light? I do have Leafspy Pro, and my car is a 2012 ZE0 imported from the US.

(I know, the proper way is to have sensors installed. I am not currently willing to do that.)
 
I wish it was that easy, but the TPMS light also illuminates the yellow triangle in the upper cluster, and covering that one isn't that wise.
 
I also don't have TPMS sensors in our Leaf's winter wheels, and when the TPMS sensors died in the wheels of our other car I didn't replace them, resulting in a constant TPMS light in the dash. Annoying, but not worth $30-40 per wheel for generic replacements to me. Our two current cars are the first I've had with any sort of modern "conveniences" such as TPMS and I've survived for several decades without them by using my eyes, thumbs, and tire gauge to monitor tire pressure regularly, including during transition seasons such as we're in now where the falling temperatures will affect tire pressure. My time is semi-valuable, but a couple minutes on Saturday morning checking tire pressures on two cars isn't that onerous.

I fully understand the supposed benefits of TPMS, but based on the number of new model cars I see driving around with low or flat tires I would argue that in general TPMS isn't doing much for most drivers on the road. I'm a daily runner, and when we moved to a northeastern U.S. city for my wife's work I would regularly wave at folks in stopped cars to tell them that they had a low/flat tire, which being from the Midwest seemed like the friendly thing to do. Rarely the person would thank me, but much more commonly the response was either an aggressive eye roll or an equally friendly "Eff you." I love city folk and I love Massachusetts (sarcasm).

Having said all that, I am considering getting TPMS sensors for the Leaf winter wheels because my wife is the primary driver of the car. When I asked her if the warning lights bothered her a few weeks after first installing the winter wheels last year she said "What lights?" Whoo-boy. I guess I should be thankful that she didn't tell me to "go %&ck yourself."
 
I also regularly look at my tires and check the pressures if they look low or particularly when the temps drop in the fall but I did have one case where the TPMS really saved the day. I was driving down the freeway in rather heavy traffic at 65mph and my TPMS came on. For some reason I decided to work my over to the shoulder and pull off. I walked around the car and found a rear tire that looked somewhat low and luckily I'd stopped the vehicle so I could see a fresh screw sticking in the tread. As the tire wasn't flat I quickly got back in the car and got off the next exit, less than a mile ahead. Again luckily their was a tire shop very close to the top of the exit. I quickly made it into their parking lot and pulled in front of a service door, got out and the tire was near flat by this point. I went in the shop, they got me right in and about 20 minutes later I was told they got the screw out and installed a plug and I should be good to go.
I asked how much I owed them and they said nothing! They just said to keep them in mind when it was time to get new tires, nice :D
So in this case even though I regularly looked at my tires, the TPMS saved the day and saved a possible blowout or having to get a tow alongside a busy freeway as the Leaf doesn't have spare and I doubt the air compressor and can of fix-a-flat would have worked, but maybe it would have but I'd kind of hated to use it as apparently it makes quite a mess inside the tire.
Note after this incident I bought a $5 tire plug kit and put it by the air compressor for just such emergencies.
Oh I also tell people if I see their tire is low, generally they thank me and generally they were totally oblivious anything was wrong :lol:
 
Somewhat tangential but every time I refill the tires and rely on my 2015 SV to beep at me, the tires end up overfull. I decided to test that by using LeafSpy, and I was careful to stop at the first beep.

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Why do they end up too full and at such different values?

Thanks!
 
lutefisk said:
Somewhat tangential but every time I refill the tires and rely on my 2015 SV to beep at me, the tires end up overfull. I decided to test that by using LeafSpy, and I was careful to stop at the first beep.
Every tire is different...and every tire heats up (which affects pressure) differently.
Having said that, I apply the "pirate's code" to TPMS: it's more of a guideline than a rule. I use a proper tire pressure gauge when filling tires (especially since I over-inflate my Leaf).
 
I personally love the double honk when I'm airing up each tire. It's so convenient.

Too bad that even if I am fast on the draw, I still can get a variation of 1-2psi between the lowest/highest inflated tires.
The good news is the dashboard is triggered to populate the values, even if it's a coldstart and I haven't driven down the road yet.

It seems to double honk at 43-44psi.
 
For about $30 you can get an external TPMS with pressure sensing caps that screw on to the tire stems. The batteries in the sensors do need to be replaced periodically but that's easy to do. Much cheaper than the $70 each for OEM sensors. I use them on my truck which only had a warning light ( no individual tire pressure or indication of which tire was low). It would work well for winter tires or failed TPMS sensors. It is easy to swap the sensors to new tires and no need to reregister them.
 
johnlocke said:
For about $30 you can get an external TPMS with pressure sensing caps that screw on to the tire stems. The batteries in the sensors do need to be replaced periodically but that's easy to do. Much cheaper than the $70 each for OEM sensors. I use them on my truck which only had a warning light ( no individual tire pressure or indication of which tire was low). It would work well for winter tires or failed TPMS sensors. It is easy to swap the sensors to new tires and no need to reregister them.

Tell me more, can they be synched to the dash light and if so, how do you know what tire is sending out the low warning as my Leaf only has a low tire warning.....a link to a seller or brand you like would be helpful too.
Thanks!
 
jjeff said:
johnlocke said:
For about $30 you can get an external TPMS with pressure sensing caps that screw on to the tire stems. The batteries in the sensors do need to be replaced periodically but that's easy to do. Much cheaper than the $70 each for OEM sensors. I use them on my truck which only had a warning light ( no individual tire pressure or indication of which tire was low). It would work well for winter tires or failed TPMS sensors. It is easy to swap the sensors to new tires and no need to reregister them.

Tell me more, can they be synched to the dash light and if so, how do you know what tire is sending out the low warning as my Leaf only has a low tire warning.....a link to a seller or brand you like would be helpful too.
Thanks!
There's a small external screen which attaches to the windshield. It has a solar cell to keep the monitor charged up. Look on Amazon for TPMS System. The monitor shows the pressure for each tire. It's an independent system so it won't sync to the dash light.
 
Welp, I at least found a way to stop the light from blinking, now it just is on all the time, which is a little less annoying. You will need LeafSpy Pro, and mine is a ZE0, don't know if this works for newer cars.

By going into the tire registration, starting it and then stopping immediately, LeafSpy Pro will write all sensor IDs as FFFFFF. The light will blink until the car is started again, and afterwards the TPMS light will just stay lit.
 
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