By Rick Lancaster
I don’t think I can blame this on engineers, although I do know there are better technical solutions.
My 2005 Toyota Tundra came with tire pressure sensors now required on every car. They work great, and I only became a little concerned when a tire store broke a valve stem - they paid for Toyota to replace the $150-plus pressure transmitter connected to the valve stem and hidden
within the wheel.
Now that my truck is five years old, I started to wonder what powers these things and how long they will last. After a quick web search, I got my answer: these run off a built-in non-replaceable battery and are expected to last 7 to 10 years (sometimes a lot less). And there are five of them on my truck (including spare), at over $150 each. Since replacement requires a tire machine and rebalancing, expect to see this $750 parts plus who-knows-what labor as a part of “preventative” maintenance. That’s more than the set of Michelins I just installed.
No wonder several of the web sites showed how to put tape over the tire pressure warning light.