The TPMS system in my wife's car just did it's job recently. The temperature here in Wisconsin went from the 70's to the 30's and 40's in almost no time at all. As a result, every tire on my wife's vehicle literally lost a lot of tire pressure over night. I've been way too busy recently to think about constantly checking the air pressure on my wife's vehicle's tires, so it was nice that the system warned me that her tires were low (which prompted me to check the tires on my truck as well.)
On a different note, I just had Schrader EZ-Sensors installed in a set of winter wheels for my Tacoma at Discount Tire
and had the sensors 'cloned' to my summer wheel sensors. Even though Discount Tire has the ability to do the sensor cloning, I feel like I'm always teaching them how to do their jobs when I go there... I wonder if I'm the only one who has ever asked them to clone sensors???
My Tacoma's aftermarket summer wheels already have Schrader EZ-Sensor sensors in them. When I went to get the new sensors for my winter wheels cloned to the summer wheels, the technician at Discount Tire didn't think you could "clone a clone", which to me makes me think he doesn't really understand how TPMS sensors work. After a couple of minutes of trying, he told me his tool wouldn't clone my already cloned sensors. As he was sitting next to me telling me this and showing me that it won't work, the tool successfully cloned the sensor he had in his hand.
The problem wasn't that you can't "clone a clone", the problem was that one of the four sensors he had was bad and he happened to be using the bad one.
FYI... TPMS sensors are just radio frequency devices that emit a signal that includes the sensor ID. As long as the sensor programming tool can read the sensor ID being emitted by the sensor, then the tool could care less if the source or destination sensors are OEM or aftermarket, as long as the destination sensor is programmable.
As the original poster of this thread, my goal was to be able to swap-out my summer and winter tires and still having a working TPMS system w/o going to the dealer to reset the sensor codes in the ECU... and then share my experience with *you* so you don't have to go through the pain-in-the-butt that I did to get this to work. Thanks to Discount Tire, I've now 'succeeded' in accomplishing this mission.
However, accomplishing this seemingly simple task was not so simple. There is a lot of cost and effort
on the consumer's part to simply make it possible to swap-out summer and winter wheels. I had to do a ton of research on TPMS, had to drive an hour to Discount Tire several times because no closer dealers know how to clone sensors that I'm aware of, and the sensors add ~$200-$300 to the cost of each wheel set (a cost that will keep repeating every 7 to 10 years, depending on the battery life of the sensors).
It's my opinion that wheel and tire shops should stop selling non-programmable sensors and just use only programmable sensors. I don't think the shop should even tell the customer that they're going to clone the sensors... just do it and the customer will be none-the-wiser and the system will just work. I still think there's some kind of conspiracy going on where dealers don't want to clone sensors because they want the customer to have to come back as much as possible, giving the dealer an opportunity to sell more stuff.