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      08-23-2017, 11:14 PM   #1
J-Suo
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Dealer says my M3 needs four new TPMS sensors. :/

Took the M3 in to the dealer yesterday, which I usually avoid, but I needed to get the airbag recall done. Since I was there, I asked them to throw a new set of rear tires on.

I got the car back with a TPMS fault for the right rear wheel. (Everything was fine before I took it in.)

Service advisor tells me the sensor has a fault and "won't read" and "can't be reprogrammed." Which, okay, I'm suspicious that they damaged it and just don't want to admit it, but whatever—sensors fail. It happens.

He then proceeds to tell me that since BMW has "updated the sensors to a new MHz," the individual sensor cannot be replaced and now all four have to be replaced as a set. Hands me a written estimate for $873.

I'm admittedly pretty ignorant on this subject. But, this is the same dealership that tried to charge my friend $650 to replace a burned out halo bulb on her X5. (For anyone not familiar, that's a $5 bulb you can buy at AutoZone and swaps out in about two minutes.)

Needless to say I drove the car away with the TPMS warning blaring all the way home. I have a feeling this is a $100 fix at worst. But, feel free to set me straight.
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      08-23-2017, 11:31 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Suo View Post
Took the M3 in to the dealer yesterday, which I usually avoid, but I needed to get the airbag recall done. Since I was there, I asked them to throw a new set of rear tires on.

I got the car back with a TPMS fault for the right rear wheel. (Everything was fine before I took it in.)

Service advisor tells me the sensor has a fault and "won't read" and "can't be reprogrammed." Which, okay, I'm suspicious that they damaged it and just don't want to admit it, but whatever—sensors fail. It happens.

He then proceeds to tell me that since BMW has "updated the sensors to a new MHz," the individual sensor cannot be replaced and now all four have to be replaced as a set. Hands me a written estimate for $873.

I'm admittedly pretty ignorant on this subject. But, this is the same dealership that tried to charge my friend $650 to replace a burned out halo bulb on her X5. (For anyone not familiar, that's a $5 bulb you can buy at AutoZone and swaps out in about two minutes.)

Needless to say I drove the car away with the TPMS warning blaring all the way home. I have a feeling this is a $100 fix at worst. But, feel free to set me straight.

The early M3s did have different sensors, yes. I've never heard that all four need to be replaced.

I would just tell you to drive to the local Discount Tire and have them replace or rebuild the TPMS. I think they only charge like $15/sensor to rebuild.
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Last edited by dparm; 08-23-2017 at 11:36 PM.
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      08-23-2017, 11:34 PM   #3
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You can get this done at probably any tire place for like $200 at the most.
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      08-24-2017, 10:32 AM   #4
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I also would go to a local tire place. I would have the tire place also save and show you the old sensor. If it is physically damaged then have it documented on your receipt from the tire shop. Pay your bill and bring the bill and sensor back to the dealer and make them pay the bill.

If it's by chance that it just failed. Then yea just pay a local shop to do it for way less.
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      08-24-2017, 11:36 AM   #5
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A TPMS 'rebuild' consists of replacing the valve stem, screw, and rim seal. The sensor itself is sealed in an epoxy potting and not-serviceable, so if it's an electronic fault they will need to be replaced. They do eventually go out. I believe BMW suggests a 4 year lifespan IIRC.

BMW wants a fortune for their sensors but they're still mostly made by Huf Group. You can find the correct ones for your car on eBay for $200 per set or less, still made by Huf (an OEM supplier). If you get the correct mhz ones for your year then they will be plug and play, no programming required (just reinitialize your TPMS from your iDrive). Just reference the PN's on your existing sensors, you can also find the frequency on the sensor as well.

The biggest PITA around TPMS is having to R&R your wheels/tires to access/replace them.
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      08-26-2017, 01:18 AM   #6
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Thanks for the info everyone—this is about what I expected to hear, but I still freak out a little whenever something goes wrong with this car. I searched and couldn't find any instance of someone needing all four sensors replaced, so I figured it was probably a shakedown. I'll try the local tire store next and see where that gets me. Cheers!
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      08-26-2017, 07:17 AM   #7
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Different model years, from 08-10 uses a specific set and 10-13 uses another. They are not interchangeable.

Tirerack sells them
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      09-11-2017, 05:33 PM   #8
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Wow that is quite a bit just to replace your sensors. If you do need a replacement, we do have individual units available for sale at a reasonable price here!

-Matt
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      09-11-2017, 07:03 PM   #9
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$800 That's hilarious
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      10-02-2017, 11:15 PM   #10
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Kind of a strange update to my original post: Before I even had a chance to go to a tire shop, I had to disconnect the battery for an unrelated repair. When I reconnected everything, lo and behold, the TPMS fault had vanished. I assumed it would come back within a day or two, but it's been several weeks now with no issue. The sensor seems to read just fine.

Now I'm really suspicious. Could they have deliberately de-synced the sensor, or borked a setting somewhere? Not sure whether to chalk this up to incompetence, or outright sabotage. Or maybe neither, and I just need to wait longer for the fault to return?
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      10-11-2017, 03:30 PM   #11
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I've seen this before at stealerships and even once with my own car (my Caddy). Was getting an oil change and that includes tire rotation, tire rotation requires TPMS reset. Light obviously came on after the rotation and the dealer tried telling my my TPMS were all bad. My vintage Caddy requires a special dealer tool to reset or so they thought. I pulled out a strong magnet I keep in the car, entered the reset mode with the keyfob, hit each sensor with the magnet from outside the wheel and successfully reset the codes right infront of that asshole. Told him I looked forward to answering the dealers performance survey for his service and drove off.

The look on his face....
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      10-11-2017, 05:13 PM   #12
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Rip that shit out and code the car to the FTM system. Bye bye annoying ass, expensive TPMS sensors.
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      10-11-2017, 05:29 PM   #13
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Has anyone wondered if we can replace our TPMS with TPMS that could read the actual tire pressure (perhaps visible on an ap!). I hate that currently all we see is "green" or "red".
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