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Is there a LAW mandating working tire pressure sensors?

I went to my local Wal Mart this morning to pick out a set of tires for my 2008 Ford F-150. The TPS system has not worked for some time. Of course the sensors are bad. I don’t care. I have eyes and a tire gauge. Ford wants over $110 each for them. A-Z wants about $60. My inclination is to leave new sensors out, and/or tape over or remove the indicator bulb.

The girl in the auto department at Wal Mart told me that there is a $10,000 fine for deleting the system. I had not heard about that. Is she right, or just trying to sell more sensors? I didn’t price them there.

She’s correct. She cannot disable a federally mandated safety system.
But YOU can… as long as you don’t have to pass an annual safety inspection in your state.

It depends on the state’s inspection requirements. I live in PA and the TPS has been lit in both of my cars for a few years now and they haven’t failed us for them.

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$33.79 ea at

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Technically removing tpms components is akin to removing catalytic converters or smog pumps. They are systems required by law to be on your car.

They can’t remove them but they don’t have to dix them either. Just install your new tires and drive on.

Or replace the sensors. Keep your car working the way it was designed.


We have emission testing in WI, but over the last year I have seen a pickup truck, ran into a power pole or something and smashed the front bumper, and you can see the rotted out frame from a drive by view, and the bed of the truck is leaning into the cab, who knows what the heck is holding it together, but it did pass the emissions test so is street worthy. I am not out to fix everything, and do not even really care about the truck road worthiness, it will find it’s point of failure in time.

MA, they are not required to be working. I checked.

So it really depends on the state.

Yes, there typically is a steep fine, if a shop disables a vehicle’s safety features

That said, I believe there’s no law against installing new tires on your rims, fully well knowing your tpms isn’t working. But I believe they are required to inform you it’s not working, and note it down on the repair order

As for those sensors, Ford is not the only game in town. There are cheaper aftermarket sensors available, for considerably less money, and they program the same way. In fact, it’s very easy to reinitialize the tpms on your truck, after replacing sensors. If anybody tells you it’s difficult, they lack the knowledge, or the proper equipment to do so

These guys are making an excellent point… you can just have the tires installed and drive on…
but be sure you won’t need the light out for your state’s inspection requirements if you have state inspections.

Thanks for the Rock Auto suggestion @Keith. THAT might be worth doing. Here is what I see on their website:,2008,f-150,4.2l+v6,1441659,wheel/tire,tire+pressure+monitoring+system+(tpms)+sensor,12036

I note that my wheels have a band inside that is supposed to hold the sensors. Most of the Rock Auto sensors, at least the cheaper ones, are the type that goes in the valve stem hole, and incorporates the valve stem. Can I use the cheaper type, or do I need the ones that go on the band that goes around the inside of the wheel?

Should the sensors from Ford be expected to last any longer than those from Rock Auto due to the shelf life of their batteries? Should I be skeptical of Rock Auto’s battery operated items? I’ve had good luck with their hardware type parts.

No, you NEED the banded type of sensors

Just the sensors, the band can be reused, unless the guy installing the tires isn’t being careful

The newer style of sensors will NOT work. You’ll never be able to reinitialize the system properly, in spite of what anybody may tell you. I’ve figured that out for myself

The genuine Ford sensors will not last longer. You should probably expect 6 years or so, regardless of what brand you get. Standard or Airtex should be fine

Do NOT get clone-able . . . it’s simpler to just get direct-fit with a new serial number. And let the guy reinitialize it in the normal fashion. I won’t get into what that entails, because that’s not really the point, and the mechanic should know how do that, anyways, or at least know where to find that information

What kind of trouble have you had with cloned sensors? I have yet to have an issue with one.

I love this warning in my owner’s manual:
Do not place metal film or any metal parts in the cargo area. This may cause poor reception of the signals from the tire pressure sensors, and the tire pressure monitoring system will not function properly.

But the spare and the jack are metal??

I really can’t carry any metal parts in the trunk? strange. But I have (and will continue to) ignored this totally. It does lower my confidence in statements in the owners manual (and I have seen other such)



Your car’s manufacturer is required to tell you that since the car has to have a constantly functioning TPMS. You are not required by law to replace the sensors, so you are not required by law to keep a signal blocker, like metal, from a line of sight between the sensor and receiver. I bet whoever wrote that warning would do exactly as you would.

LOL, now THAT is an interesting note! I guess I’ll have to let the Tin Man out of my trunk! :grin:

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I didn’t say there would be trouble

IMO it’s just easier to get a new sensor with a new serial number, and reinitialize the system the normal way, which isn’t that difficult with this Ford

With cloneable sensors, you’d need a way to copy the original sensor’s serial number over to the blank sensor

Our shop, for example, isn’t set up for that. We primarily work on GM, Ford, with a few Toyotas and Hondas thrown in, and that’s only in regards for vehicles that actually have tpms. We have plenty of things too large to even have it, but that’s another story. It’s easier for us just to get the direct-fit sensors and do our thing, versus trying to get approval to get the devices which are actually capable of cloning serial numbers. Since we’re fleet, things don’t always work the same as in your shop. It’s different. Better in some cases, not better in others.

I was wondering if you’d seen issues or failures with the clone sensors as I haven’t had any.

No, the shop doesn’t need any equipment or way to copy anything. Cloned sensors are just that, cloned, plug and play, with no initializing needed. Remove the sensor, have your vendor/supplier/parts store pick up the sensors, they write the serial number into the replacement sensors and bring them to you. All done inside an hour. There’s no charge for the programming, and the sensors tend to be half to 3/4 the price of factory sensors. Plus I don’t have to charge the customer for TPMS initializing. Everyone wins. Been doing it that way for years, both at my old place and now at my new job.

I imagine the busier tire shops would do their programming in house, and the DIY guy would need to find a way to get his old sensors to the parts store, but I don’t see many DIY’ers doing their own tires.

I was under the impression your shop actually had the programming device on the premises

Anyways . . . trust me on this, the scenario you just described wouldn’t work at the shop I’m at, because of various logistical reasons, all due to the fleet nature of the business

For us, it’s far easier to just keep the various Ford and GM sensors we often need on hand, and replace them and reinitialize the systems as needed, with our tpms tools. Snap on, in my case.

I acknowledge the scenario you described makes financial sense

But it wouldn’t work in my setting

We’ve got TPMS dedicated equipment at this shop, we are able to initialize new factory sensors. But it’s not 100% coverage (is any aftermarket tooling 100%?). Even so, it’s quicker and easier and cheaper to use the aftermarket sensors that come plug and play. The sensors are often half the price of dealer and no equipment needed to use them.

I’m not trying to be nosy or argumentative, but I can’t see any difference between ordering an alternator or a set of brake pads and a TPMS sensor cloned to serial#12345678.

The cost of testing every Ford or GM vehicle model in the fleet may be prohibitive.