I have a 2009 F150. The truck just turned 35,963 miles (i.e., bumper
to bumper warranty is all but up). The truck is 15 months old. For at
least the last 10 months, I keep getting a message that says "Tire
Pressure Sensor Fault." When I get this fault, the tire pressure
warning light blink about 18 times and then goes solid. It irritates
the heck out of me. This is not the same as a low tire pressure
warning. This is a warning that indicates there is a problem with a
tire pressure snesor, but provides no indication of which sensor (at
least to me). It is not a consistent problem. I can go weeks without
seeing it. It can come on, stay on for a hundred miles and then go
off. When I first saw the fault indication, I called the dealer. They
told me to bring it in when the fault was indicated. Of course the
fault was never "active" when I went anywhere near the dealer until
yesterday. It finally was on when I arrived at the dealer. Of course
it was Sunday, so the dealer was closed. I abandoned the truck at the
over night drop off in hopes it would still be "bad" today. So far I
have not heard anything. I am not hopeful.
Has anyone else had this sort of problem? My truck has the valve stem
type sensors. I've had one flat fixed, and one tire replaced (with the
OE tire originally mounted on the plain spare tire rim - the spare tie
does not have a sensor). The sensor failure occured randomly before
and after these tire changes.
I have a theory - As a part of typical dealer scamology, my truck had
the tires filled with nitrogen. I actually watched the process. The
hooked all four tires to a machine that sucked the tires flat and then
pumped them up with nitrogen (well ~96% nitrogen instead of the usual
80% - what a SCAM). I think this was a horrible idea. I think there
is a good chance that this stupidity damaged one or more sensors. I
doubt they are designed to be exposed to a vacuum. How likely is it
that the dealer damaged a sensor in an attempt to scam another $30 out
of me for this nitrogen nonsense?
YOU PAID $30 FOR NITROGEN?!
Sorry dude, but they see suckers coming for miles.
1.) There is no reason to suck the air out, just remove the valve stems and
let the air drain to atmospheric pressure. The few molecules of air that
remain are not going to affect the $30 worth of nitrogen you bought.
2.) Nitrogen is a scam, almost as bad as the Nigerian lawyer that sent you
details on how to collect your uncle's inheretance from the oil company
after he drove off a cliff last weekend.
3.) There's no way to tell if sucking the air out of the tires did anything
to the sensors, but if they did it at the stealership, it ought to be okay.
It's not a total scam. The tire pressure will remain more constant than
if you use air, because of the water vapor in air. Thing is that if you
use nitrogen, the difference between that and air is very little when it
comes to real life performance unless you race the truck and exact tire
pressure is critical, like it is for NASCAr vehicles. For the common
truck and car, it hardly makes a difference.
While it's not a total scam, it is a waste of the energy needed to get
rid of the oxygen and other gases in air (other than, of course, nitrogen).
Nitrogen is a scam. Period.
The scam is diminished when nitrogen is put in for FREE. Period.
There is NO benefit to private automobiles to have tires filled with
nitrogen. Mostly because 1.) we pay very little attention to our tires, and
2.) because we go to the gas station and fill our tires after we notice they
are low. I suppose your argument is the benefit of nitrogen comes from the
notion that we pay so little attention to our tires. But forstalling the
need to refill tires from time to time is not worth the cost of the
nitrogen, unless it's free.
As for NASCAR, and what they may or may not do -- there is very little
comparison in the way they operate an automobile and how you and I operate
an automobile. They can put solid gold into a tire if htey want, and find a
way to justify it.
As a practical matter, mere mortals like you and I shouldn't care whether
the tires are filled with air or nitrogen, and we CERTAINLY should not PAY
for having nitrogen put in. If the tire company wants ot put in nitrogen and
do it for free, there is certainly no reason to object. But if they come out
and say, "we put in nitrogen, and it's gonna cost an extra dollar," then
refuse the service because it's not worth a dollar. Indeed, at a dollar, it
costs precisely a dollar more than it's worth.
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
If a garage air system is adequately maintained, there should be little or
no moisture in the air delivered to the end of the hose. If there is any
possible danger of filling a tire with "wet" air, it will likely come from
some of the conveninece store type air dispensers that compress the air "as
Face it... how many people do you know that want moisture laden air passing
through their expensive air powered tools?
Ed... we do occasionally see tire pressure sensor failures (but I do have to
state that the majority are cause by unknowning tirebusters).
A few things... first, as far as I can see, putting nitrogen in tires is a
scam (as has been said). $30 for some pretty green valve caps is a lot of
money and the shit we breath IS 76% nitrogen already. Add that, if you have
a low tire, I doubt that you will drive on it to find somebody with
'nitrogen' - I would think that most anyone is going to opt for plain old
air and continue their journey.
For the sensor concern... you can have the dealer or even a decent tire shop
train the sensors - faulty sensors "usually" don't train. But neither can I
say I have seen one go intermittent.
I kne the nitrogen was a scam. We agreed on a price and the nitrogen
was jsut in their. I told them I didn't care aout it, but got it
Well the tire pressure sensor fault was active when I dropped the
truck off at the dealership on Sunday afternoon. The service writer
called me yesterday (Monday) and said the light was off (I figured
that was going to happen). And becasue the light was off, they
couldn't figure out which sensor (if any) was bad. I told them to keep
the truck and try some more. Probably they will jsut park it and call
me today and say they couldn't find a problem. The temperature dropped
from the 90's to the 60's between Sunday and Monday. I suspect the
problem is heat related and there is no chance it will fail for them.
BUT, I'll bet Wednesday when I drive the truck 140 miles, it will fail
and I will be so mad I'll be tempted to ram the truck into the Ford
dealership's service department and set it on fire. I am sure at leat
one sensor is bad. Seems to me, they should replace all four sensors
and be done with the problem. I blame Ford (not the dealer) for not
having a better diagnostic strategy for this problem. I've searched on
the internet and I am not the only person that has problems with
intermittent sensor failures on Ford trucks.
Ignoring the nitrogen issues, you should have established a problem
trail with the dealer, long before the warranty was up. Even if the
dealer is unable to repair the problem because of lack of diagnostic
tools, expertise, etc., establishing the problem trail protects your
warranty and requires them (the dealer and Ford) to repair the
Hopefully the dealer resolved the problem.
After telling me several times I needed to bring the truck in with the
tire pressure sensor fault light on, it turns out they could resolve
the problem without that being the case. When I dropped the truck off
with 35,963 the light was on. Unfortunately when they checked the
truck the next morning the tire pressure sensor failure light was off.
This time instead of telling me there was nothing they could do, they
did something. They retrained all the sensors and told me to drive the
truck until the light came on again, and then bring it back. The
light came on the next weekend. Of course by the time I dropped the
truck off, the light was off. However, they could now magically tell
which sensor had turned on the light. They claimed they couldn't do
this before becasue I had rotated the tires and they didn't know which
sensor was in which position. I explained to them that the tires had
only been rotated once (front to rear, no cross), but I suppose they
didn't have any faith in getting it right if the tires were not in the
original position. I have concluded several things - 1) the truck does
individually register the tire pressure sensors 2) there is a stored
code when the tire pressure sensor light is illuminated, 3) if the
dealership really wants to determine which sensor is bad, they don't
need for the light to be on when you bring it in, they just have to do
a little more work and have you make two trips to the dealership.
Everyone at the dealership was very professional, I just wish they had
fixed it last year when the light first started coming on, instead of
waiting until the warranty was all but up.
One funny aside - on the way home from the dealership I stopped to buy
gas. As I was leaving the station, I noticed a small box in the
passenger's seat. The technician had left the pressure sensor
training/diagnostic tool in my truck. I returned it to the dealership,
although I considered hanging on to it until the weekend in case the
damn light came on again.
I woulda kept the scan tool for a few days. I would have given it back,
eventually, but I'd have held onto it until I was comfortable that the light
was not going to return. Maybe the next service, "Oh, by the way, your guy
left this in my truck the last time I was here. Sorry, I shoulda brought it
back sooner, but here it is."
I can read... honest. If you will notice, Mr.Strickland was conselling
keeping the device "temporarily". One must consider that "temporarily" can
be a subjective concept.
Aside from the fact that it is hardly a case of "finders keepers"... aside
from the fact that the replacement cost of the device is significant...
aside from the fact that keeping it might impinge on the shops ability to
service another customer (or impinge on another customers satisfaction)...
and, aside from the fact that any one here would be incensed if this were to
happen to them....
Being intentionally dishonest is much like being pregnant.... there is no
The world is such an interesting place as so many people demand that we be
honest with them - and they might fail to return the favour.... I think the
translation for that would be "what goes around comes around".
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