Why did Toyota make their TPMS require dealer only repair?

2014 Toyota Camry about 100k miles.

The TPMS light flashes for about the first minute after start and then goes steady. All tires good, no TPMS on the spare. The flashing indicates that one of the sensors is bad and since they are all about 10 years old, they are near the end of their life anyway.

Costco replaced all 4 sensors and programed the serial numbers (codes) into the cars computer. It took the numbers, but the TPMS still flashes the first minute and then goes steady. They have verified the numbers a second time and verified the computer has the right numbers, but the light still stays on.

The owners manual says this is a dealer only repair and several Toyota forums and some Youtube videos say the same thing, particularly with the 2014 and 2014.5 Camrys. Not all Toyotas are this way. It is also not just Costco that has had issues with this model Toyota.

Note: Costco charged $255 for the sensors and programming, the dealer wants $800 for the sensors and $155 for programing. It is going to the dealer next week and Costco will refund their charge if the sensors they put in are returned. The dealer is going to try to program the new sensors, but if it doesn’t work, then they will have to be replaced.

Edit: if the receiver wasn’t working, then the FOB would also not work, they use the same receiver. There is no reset button in the glove box on this model.

Hard to say, likely one of these

  1. Costco could do it as easily as the dealership, but their techs don’t know how
  2. Costco could do it, but they don’t own the needed scan tool (likely the Toyota pro version).
  3. The OP could do it themselves without needing any special eqpt, but doesn’t know how.
  4. Toyota designed it this way to improve dealership income.
  5. Toyota designed it this way to improve driver’s safety.

OP, you may have been following the ongoing discussion here about which cars the owner can turn off the engine maintenance light themselves, and which cars that isn’t possible. In many cases it seems when in fact the owner can do the job themselves , it’s a pretty complex procedure.

Costco does this all the time and their tire tech’s actually receive training, unlike other big box stores.

There are some TPMS scanners out there that claim to be compatible with the Toyota TPMS, and they may be, but they are high dollar. Those $10 units only work on GM vehicles. For about $20, you can get one for Fords. TPMS scanners for Asian vehicles run $400 and up, a little pricy for a one time job.

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Stupid question, but did you/they check the spare? Some Toyotas use a sensor in the spare as well.

As for dealer only service, that’s just not true. A well-equipped indy shop will have all the tooling needed to replace and program/learn your sensors. The shop I was at until 2 years ago did.

Of course we would have charged much more than $255 for 4 sensors and programming to pay for that equipment.:grinning:

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Yes, I checked the spare. The Camry is a car and has a doughnut spare. AFAIK. those doughnut spares do not have TPMS. The full size spares in the trucks do. But it is not a stupid question.

BTW, the spare only had 9 psi in it. I pumped it up to 60 psi and then it would not fit. The clamping bolt was too short to reach the captive nut. I chiseled some of the hardened sound dampener away and finally got it to fit. Would have been easier to just get a longer bolt, but why do it the easy way?

BTW, this is the first repair the car has required since new. Up till now, only PM, tires and brakes.


Another stupid question, did you flip the spare, back/inside up??

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Yes. 567890

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You didn’t hear it from me, but word on the street is that very cheap clones of the Toyota Techstream software can be had by web…Once up and running they are fully functional Techstreams. You’ll need to be at least a little computer saavy to get one up and running, but it can be done for very cheap and a little bit of computer work. Access to some manner of ancient 32 bit Windows systems helps. Search the web as I know little about it (as I couldn’t get one to work on my 64 bit system :wink:).

If TPMS ever needs more than maybe a hundred dollar repair, I’ll do without it.


Concur. IMHO no question that is asked here is stupid. For a healthy forum, as long as car-related, both new & long-term members must feel welcome to ask whatever they they’d like to know more about.

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I have a different opinion

I think certain regulars DO ask silly questions :roll_eyes:


Here’s mine: Isn’t there a simpler method to prevent axle-wrapping problems than going to the bother of a torque tube?

For axle wrap, are talking about a torque arm like a Camaro/Firebird (etc etc) used, or a torque tube where the engine is up front with a torque tube then the transmission is in back?? Cause a torque tube is not for axle wrap, it is to transfer the engine power to the transmission

Leaf spring, coil spring, air bag or possibly even torsion bar suspension set up???
I am assuming you are talking about leaf spring axle wrap… if not you got other issues… lol
You need to be more specific.…

I use a home my made adjustable pinion snubber for my Mopar leaf spring set up, works very good…

You can also buy them…

You can also use ladder bars (about the best), traction (slapper) bars or about the 2nd best thing is Caltracs for leafs…


Or you can just do a coilover & 4 link w/trac bar kit and be done… $$$$

One of the TPMS sensors on our 2011 Prius went out. Same symptoms as the flashing light and then steady as explained. Sent my daughter to a shop (after I called). They tested all of them and only one was shot-dead battery. For $120 they changed the one sensor and all is well-knock on wood-so far. I know the others are on borrowed time but had to fix this on a whim as the kid was scared of the light and I was out of town. Called Costco and their price was more reasonable.
I have seen the programmer sold on Amazon but I didn’t want to buy it as the most difficult part is getting the tire off. I did look at the manual tire tool from HF but then I felt it is too much work for what at this point is a one time repair.

Just remember that you do NOT have to dismount the tire from the wheel for a stem mounted TPMS sensor replacement, you just have to break the bead loose (closest to the sensor, normally outer) to remove the sensor, as well as be able to hold the sidewall down enough to do the work…
We were taught (though most didn’t) to break the bead down and unbolt/screw (whatever) the sensor and let it drop down into the tire before dismounting the tire to keep from damaging it, then mount the tire and then install the old/new sensor before airing up the tire… Seem lots of rookies break sensors not doing it that way… lol
But me?? I’d rather pay a shop over messing with it myself at home, unless I had a pro tire machine…

Of course none of this matters if you have the older Ford band type sensors… lol

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I’ve had a couple sensors replaced in my 2014 Highlander and my wife’s 07 Lexus at my local tire shop. They use Denso sensor which is the OEM provider to Toyota.

??? … suggest to explain further …

“The purpose of a torque tube is to hold the rear end in place during acceleration and braking. Otherwise, the axle housing would suffer axle wrap”

Too keep it short, sorry I misunderstood your question… That is why I asked questions…
But I got ya now… :+1:

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Update, the Toyota dealer tested her system and found that the Costco installed sending units are not communicating with the car. That diagnostic cost her more than the cost of the units from Costco. She (we, as I am going with her) have an appointment this Saturday at Costco.

I am going to let them know that I think they should put the serial numbers/codes on the invoice for each of the sending units so the tires do not have to be broken down to get the codes each time.

A hand-held receiver can read the ID numbers while the tire is on the vehicle. Every tire shop that replaces sensors should have this equipment.