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Old 01-26-2021, 09:30 AM   #1
MyNameIdeasWereTaken
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Default Visually determine if wheels have TPMS? (2016)

Is there a quick way to visually tell if my wheels have TPM sensors without removing the tire?

The wheels are off a 2018 and the TPMS light has always been on, which led me to assume the previous owner swapped the wheels without sensors because of the black rubbery valve stems.

I'm about to put on new tires and was planning on ordering new TPMS, only to discover that Subaru's TPM sensors appear to have black rubbery valve stems as well, not aluminum like you see on most direct sensors.

I know my 2016 will need the 315 MHz sensors.
If my wheels do have TPMS, is there any way to visually identify if they are the factory 315 MHz sensors from my 2016 or the 433 MHz sensors from 2018+?

I'd hate to go through the hassle of ordering and returning new sensors if I don't need them. But I also want to avoid mounting/balancing the tires twice.
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Old 01-26-2021, 01:04 PM   #2
R1Armadillo
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I don't know that there is a way to visually tell. There is a tool out there that lets you scan the sensor(s) and then allows you to plug into the OBD port and update the car with the "new" information.
Conversely you could take it to a tire shop and get them to scan them. The two places that I called said they would do it for free, but at the time were unsure of being able to update my car with the information (had just switched to new winter wheels and wanted the TPMS light off).

I decided to buy the tool (Quickset X - not cheap @ 250.00) but I'll have it for switching out my winter/ summer wheels as well as being able to help friends who need to do the same.

There is another thread in this section where the tool is discussed. https://forums.nasioc.com/forums/sho...2900059&page=2
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Old 01-27-2021, 04:39 PM   #3
krzyss
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You need a scanner, AFAIK.
Or dismount the tires.

Krzy***347;
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Old 02-01-2021, 12:58 PM   #4
MyNameIdeasWereTaken
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With only very subtle visual differences between Subaru's TPMS valve stems and rubber valve stems, the best way to determine if you have TPMS (without a scanner) is to attempt to bend the valve stem just below the cap. Don't bend too hard! It'll be rigid if it's a TPMS valve stem and flex if it's not.
A good reference is the valve stem on the spare.

Now that being said, you could still have a TPMS valve stem and no sensor...

I ended up buying used Subaru 315 MHz TPM sensors to swap on with the tires.

The local tire shop used their SnapOn scanner to reprogram them to the car for free.

I run summer tires all year, so I have no need to purchase my own scanner for cloning/reprogramming for winter wheels.
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