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Tesla 1st Gen TPMS Sensors Issues

JSD17

Member
Feb 23, 2021
25
2
Toronto
Hey guys,

I've been having TPMS issues with my 2012 Tesla Model S. I tried a bunch of aftermarket TPMS and it never worked, so I bought 4 brand new OEM TPMS from someone. I got them installed today, and thought I would have to drive the car a bit to re-learn the TPMS.

However, when I went back to my own mechanic (had to change wheels also) he said that his waking up tool can sense 3 of the 4 TPMS, but he cannot wake the 4th one up. So either it's a bad TPMS or not programmed or something. It's frustrating as I have been going back to this tire shop forever to deal with this. I would have assumed if it was defective they would have told me before installing, as then I could easily exchange it rather than using it and taking it out, etc.

Should I try driving it around a bit or if 3/4 sensors can be sensed and not the 4th should I go back to the tire place? Any way for me to try to wake it up? I assume it just hasn't been woken up rather than it being bad but who knows at this point. Any suggestions or similar experiences that you can share?

Thanks
 

Kaveman

Member
Oct 27, 2020
58
26
FL
Sounds like one of the batteries in the ones you received is dead. You can get New ones via [email protected] ITM, and they come pre programmed, you just need to tell the car to do a TPMS reset after you install them. Some other brands claim to work with the older Balong System, but they don't produce the power to communicate with the module(ask me how I know).
Kaveman
 

pabla

Member
Oct 17, 2016
332
185
Vancouver
I had a similar issues on my '21 S and turns out the car remembers only 2 sets of TPMS sensors and anymore after that aren't recognized correctly. My SC was able to reset the system (not the same as hitting reset in the MCU) to get it working. See my thread here, you may be experiencing the same thing
 

JSD17

Member
Feb 23, 2021
25
2
Toronto
So I went back to the original shop, they can sense all 4 TPMS no problem.

It must be a programming issue because it's 2012 (1st gen). I'll book an appointment with Tesla and see from there. Unfortunately they charge at least $175 just to diagnose/install, so I've been trying to avoid that.
 
Last edited:

gaswalla

Model S,3,X.. CT with Austin delivery
Sep 23, 2012
3,549
4,184
San Diego
are you the original owner? Are you sure they are Gen1? Can you pull up PSI readings for each tire on the instrument cluster?
 

Kaveman

Member
Oct 27, 2020
58
26
FL
What brand Sensors are they. I can say from previous experience that Autel sensors unfortunately don't work well with the older Balong system used in earlier cars. They will connect and reset with the car, but in use, they lose communication with the module.
 

JSD17

Member
Feb 23, 2021
25
2
Toronto
are you the original owner? Are you sure they are Gen1? Can you pull up PSI readings for each tire on the instrument cluster?
What brand Sensors are they. I can say from previous experience that Autel sensors unfortunately don't work well with the older Balong system used in earlier cars. They will connect and reset with the car, but in use, they lose communication with the module.

They look like this:


Bought from a guy online who claims they were pulled from Tesla wheel, never used. All 4 sensors are confirmed to be working. It may be the issue of the 'car only remembers 2 sets of sensors' thing I've been reading where the service center needs to reset it so the car can read it. I will take it back there, hopefully they do not charge me $175 for that as it's a software limitation if that is the case.

I cannot pull up the PSI readings for each tire on the instrument cluster. The car is a Signature P85 2012, so it should be first gen as it was the first year Model S. Unless the previous owner upgraded it, I will double check that. I am not the original owner, I bought the car pre-owned. It's had the TPMS sensor light on since I purchased. Initially I was going to get a second set of rims for it, so I wasn't bothered to fix it as I was going to use these as winter tires but now I am running all-season and would like that annoying light off.
 

Kaveman

Member
Oct 27, 2020
58
26
FL
JSD17, I am going to assume(you know what that means), that you car doesn't have the newer "Conti" system installed. That means you will only get a warning if any of the sensors stop working or you actually have a low tire. The original Balong system didn't display actual pressures on the dash. The least expensive way to remedy your problem, figure out which system is installed, get some new sensors (ITM's work well with the Balong system)and get them installed.
My two cents.
Kaveman
 

JSD17

Member
Feb 23, 2021
25
2
Toronto
Yeah, I don’t get a tire pressure low message. I’m getting a TPMS fault message. I’ve replaced them with confirmed working 1st Gen sensors, they can even scan and show functioning on a TPMS tool.

I’ve read first gen systems have to be programmed or reset to the car by Tesla to get rid of the message. I will have to try that avenue as I doubt it’s the sensors itself at this point. One of the previous messages says he had to reset it cause it can only recognize 2 sets of TPMS. I wish there was a way I could reset it myself. Maybe I can call them and ask if they can do an OTA update but I doubt it.
 

pabla

Member
Oct 17, 2016
332
185
Vancouver
One of the previous messages says he had to reset it cause it can only recognize 2 sets of TPMS. I wish there was a way I could reset it myself. Maybe I can call them and ask if they can do an OTA update but I doubt it.

I'm sure your SC will be nice enough to reset the system for free if that's all you ask them to do. If you ask them to figure out what the issue is then they may charge you a diagnostic fee. A box of donuts for your SC won't hurt either ;)
 

JSD17

Member
Feb 23, 2021
25
2
Toronto
I'm sure your SC will be nice enough to reset the system for free if that's all you ask them to do. If you ask them to figure out what the issue is then they may charge you a diagnostic fee. A box of donuts for your SC won't hurt either ;)

My experience with service centers has been horrible. They charged me $175 to just look at the car, per issue. I paid $1000 in diagnostics because I pointed out 5 issues last time.

Then, they quote you the full replacement cost and even if you decline, you're charged $1000 in diagnostics. So I tend to avoid them whenever possible. However, I called and they said it might need to be reset by the computer, 99.9% sure they'll charge but we'll see. The new TPMS are already installed, so if it is a software limitation, kind of unfair to charge $175 - let's see. Got an appointment booked for next Thursday.
 

JSD17

Member
Feb 23, 2021
25
2
Toronto
JSD17, I am going to assume(you know what that means), that you car doesn't have the newer "Conti" system installed. That means you will only get a warning if any of the sensors stop working or you actually have a low tire. The original Balong system didn't display actual pressures on the dash. The least expensive way to remedy your problem, figure out which system is installed, get some new sensors (ITM's work well with the Balong system)and get them installed.
My two cents.
Kaveman

Just to confirm, if I can see Car Status in my car - even if I see "--" on PSI for all wheels, would that make it second generation? I can see Car Status on my car, which should make it second gen. However, previously when I called the service center they said my car had first generation. Maybe the previous owner upgraded it and they are unaware?

If Car Status is there, without it showing PSI but showing "--" on 4 wheels, does that guarantee second Gen?

I already bought and installed first gen sensors (from a third-party, OEM) based on Tesla claiming it should be 1st generation sensors. If this guarantees it to be second Gen maybe I can try switching them out and paying for the install again (around $60 total) - but I would want to be absolutely sure they are second gen or I would have to pay it again a third time to swap it back to the first gen. Is this a surefire way to know?

Here is a picture:
 

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Brass Guy

Active Member
Jan 5, 2014
1,171
972
Holbrook, MA
That is the updated system. I have a 2013 and do not have access to that screen. You have the wrong sensors.
Tesla probably didn't even look up your car's service records when you asked them, just went by the 2012 build date.
 
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JSD17

Member
Feb 23, 2021
25
2
Toronto
That is the updated system. I have a 2013 and do not have access to that screen. You have the wrong sensors.
Tesla probably didn't even look up your car's service records when you asked them, just went by the 2012 build date.

Yeah, I will call them back and try to confirm. The last thing I want to do is change it to 2nd Gen to somehow find out it was 1st Gen. This time I'll tell them to actually look at if the previous owner upgraded it. Should have never assumed they would have kept track.
 

Kaveman

Member
Oct 27, 2020
58
26
FL
JSD17, that IS the updated "conti" system. Some sensors can just be reprogrammed to work with it. It depends what sensors were installed
Kaveman
 

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