Auto Service World
Feature   September 1, 2010   by Auto Service World

Continental Introduces “Game Changing” TPMS Sensor

In what the company calls “a game changer,” Continental is introducing the VDO Redi-Sensor multi-application tire pressure monitoring sensor.

The sensor program works with existing aftermarket and OEM tools for relearn procedures, but reduces SKU count dramatically. Two tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) sensors released in Phase 1 of the program being launched this year will cover 95% of domestic models, making up some 55% of the total vehicles equipped with TPMS systems. A planned two more sensors in Phase 2 will cover import models when introduced in 2011.

Set for an official roll-out at the AAPEX show in Las Vegas, Nev., in November, the sensors differ significantly from existing TPMS programs on the market in that they provide significant advantages of consolidation of parts but are not “blanks” requiring programming, as are available in some sectors of the market. They are usable right out of the box.

In a demonstration at Continental’s headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich., three styles of OEM sensors were replaced with a Redi-Sensor on a Ford Fusion, Chevy Silverado, and Chrysler Pacifica. To emphasize the flexibility of the sensor, the same sensor was installed on each vehicle in succession with relearn procedures activated by a variety of tools (except on the Chrysler, which has to be driven to activate the relearn function).

In all cases, the Redi-Sensor executed the relearn quickly and without any difficulty, in some cases faster than the OEM sensor.

In fact, the only relearn glitch occurred on the Fusion, when one of the OEM sensors refused to recognize the aftermarket tool being used during the relearn procedure.

The Chrysler had three of four OEM sensors replaced with the Redi-Sensor with the fourth having been left off in place of a standard valve stem to simulate an incomplete repair, activating a malfunction code. With the fourth sensor installed, the relearn drive went off flawlessly, taking less time than expected.

Redi-Sensor is designed to work with all leading TPMS scan tools, including tools from ATEQ, Bartec, OTC, and T.I.P.S., and tools to handle OE sensors. The VDO sensor does not require the purchase of new specialized programming tools or software upgrades.

When used with scan tools that incorporate a hunt mode, Redi-Sensor uses an “intelligent design” to wake faster and deliver positive results sooner, says Continental. This prevents the relearn process from timing out and eliminates the need to redo the procedure.

VDO Redi-Sensor was specifically developed for the aftermarket by Continental.

According to Howard Laster, director, prod-uct portfolio and new business development, Continental Corporation, Commercial Vehicles & Aftermarket, “Redi-Sensor represents the first time Continental has used its engineering resources to develop a totally new product concept, specifically designed to meet the aftermarket’s needs. We feel that it will go a long way in helping to simplify the complex and challenging requirements of tire pressure monitoring system service and make it easier for parts stores to stock and sell TPMS replacement parts.”

VDO Redi-Sensor is offered in 314.9 / 315 MHz and 433.92 MHz configurations and provides multi-application coverage for a broad range of popular cars, vans, SUVs, crossovers, and light trucks from GM, Ford, and Chrysler. Model year coverage extends from 2002 through 2011 for Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Jeep, Lincoln, Mercury, Pontiac, and Saturn.

According to Steve Landis, TPMS product manager, applications for Asian and European vehicles are currently in development. “We’re working on the next phase of Redi-Sensor to complement our excellent domestic coverage. Our complete program is targeted to cover over 90% of all vehicles in North America and replace over 100 OE sensors.”

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