Autel is a well known producer of TPMS diagnosis and service tools. In case you do not know what TPMS stands for, it is the Tire Pressure Monitoring System. The TPSM light on your dash board often comes on when you’re having tire pressure issues. It is important to have the right type of TPMS diagnostics tool to help monitor and maintain your systems. Take a look at Autel MAXITPMS TS408 vs MAXIPTMS TS401.
How does TPMS work?
TPMSs are electronic systems that help monitor the state of your tire for safe driving conditions. Before we discuss how the tool works, you must understand there are 2 types of TPMS systems; Indirect and direct systems. The direct TPMS system is whereby the ECU on your vehicle uses sensors to calculate the rotation speeds on each wheel and determine if a tire isn’t properly inflated compared to the others.
Direst Fit systems employ the use of sensors on the valve of each wheel to capture radio frequencies which they transmit to the ECU. You will notice the low pressure warning light come on when you have an issue with your experience fluctuating tire pressure, rotating tires, or switch tire sizes.
Basic scanning functions every TPMS should carry
A good tool should allow scanning, diagnosis, activation and programming and in many cases relearning. Here is a more elaborate explanation of basic functions on a TPMS device.
A TPMS tool will activate or trigger sensors that are inactive. Upon activation, the device will receive sensor information and send it to the ECM. This information indicates the location of the sensor among other details. The tool will help detect faults within the system based on the information it is provided. In case of any issues, you might notice the TPMS indicator light come on. The tool should help clear the indicator light when it comes on. Additionally, these devices can program sensors.
Some of the benefits of TPMS include
- Maintain your tires in safe driving conditions means safer driving experience
- TPMS reduce the distance of braking when you pres on the brakes, thus decreasing the chances of skidding
- Optimizes fuel consumption and tire life
- Reduced risk of slow punctures
- Alerts the user of tire issues that may pose driving risks
Let’s review and compare Autel’s must have tools for all your basic TPMS needs whether beginner DIYer or Professional
|Basic TPMS functions||Yes+||Yes|
|Advanced features||Quick mode
|Best feature||Program MX sensors 3 ways||Ergonomic design with easy to use interface|
|Operating temperature||(32°F to 122°F)0°C to 50°C||(32 to 122 °F)0 to 50°C|
|Storage temperature||(-4°F to 158°F)-20°C to 70°C||(-4 to 158 °F)-20 to 70°C|
|Display||TFT color display (320 x 240 dpi)||Backlit, 128*64 pixel display with contrast adjustment|
|Power||3200 mAh 3.7 V Li-polymer battery;||Li-polymer 3.7V battery|
|Software update||FREE||Lifetime Upgrade Free|
|Weight||0.38 kg (0.84 lb.)||0.37kg (0.82lb)|
|Dimensions||215 mm (8.46”) / 105 mm (4.13”) / 37 mm (1.46”)||195.5mm (7.7″)\104 mm(4.09″)\37.5 mm(1.48″)|
The TS408 is a capable device that is designed to active all known sensors in addition to performing functions such as reading the sensor ID, pressure, battery condition etc. Equipped with the on tool relearn procedure, this tool saves you the tedious task of scouring the internet for guidelines.
, the device will show necessary steps on screen making relearn operations quite easy. You must then proceed to perform the relearn procedure using the instructions displayed. Here are some other specifications that make operating this device convenient.
First off the display which is a color screen allows the user to view the data quite easily. With some care and help from your tool monitoring the battery health, you can expect to use this device for a long time without needing a change.
In addition to these features, the TS408 is designed for easy use and navigation. The menu is categorized in an easy to navigate manner and with a rich graphing interface, you can easily go through the features and perform operations.
With this TPMS device, you can program and replace the sensors three different ways.
- Copy by activation which works by coping already existent sensor details to newly installed sensor.
- Copy by Manual input whereby the user must input the ID into the sensor manually after which you can find the ID printed on the original sensor.
- Auto create 1-16 that requires you to input the make, year and model of your vehicle. Once done correctly, the device will display further instruction to help the user program the sensor.
To summarize, the TS408 is a reliable TPMS device, constantly keeping you alert and informed on all matters TPMS.
- This device can activate all types of sensors quite simply; you don’t need to see a mechanic to do it for you.
- Equipped with the read sensor ID, this device is able to identify which particular tire is acting out. The TS408 will help identify issues with tire pressure including proper inflation, under and over inflation.
- An automatic shut down when not in use for improved battery management
What we like
- With a TFT color display and 3.7V Li-Polymer battery, you can use this tool effectively for long successions without fail.
- This device receives both 315MHz and 433MHz signals and activated all kinds of sensors
- The on-tool relearn procedure for every TPMS equipped vehicle eliminates the need for internet look ups and relearn charts.
What we don’t like
- You will be unable to read or erase TPMS codes
- This device will not connect to OBD 2 ports
The TS408 is a combination of easy to use yet highly efficient features. Anyone from professionals, technicians, DIYers and even beginners can utilize this tool.
The Autel TS401 is a portable device that tracks the air pressure on your vehicle tires. It then proceeds to report the tire pressure information in real time. Using an Indirect Tire Pressure Monitoring System, ITPMS, the Autel 401 is able to monitor the rotational speeds of each wheel on your vehicle. Additionally, it is able to track signals present outside the tire. With this data, the Autel TS401 will detect under inflation or any pressure related issues, in all four heels simultaneously.
This device achieves this spectrum analysis by advanced signal processing techniques. However, because it is an ITPMS the Autel TS401 cannot measure the absolute pressure values in your tires. The values are relative and must be reset every time the tires are checked and readjusted. Upon reset, your systems undergo a relearning phase where all reference parameters are relearnt and stored.
- A preselecting process allows faster activation and diagnostics.
- Additionally, this device saves up to 10 TPMS records for future reference and review
What we like
- With unparalleled sensor coverage, this device can activate all sensors including magnetic, frequency and tire deflation triggered sensors.
- Designed with and easy to use interface and ergonomic
- The proper LF signal will prevent your device from getting fooled other RF signals.
What we don’t like
- Does not include and OBD2 cable
- This tool may develop performance issues if not properly updated
Anyone from beginners to professionals can use this device.
TPMS relearn procedures explained
Relearns are usually performed after serving when you need the ECU to see the Sensor ID on each wheel. Performing relearns often clear the TPMS DTC and allows the system to function properly. Direct TPMS relearns can be performed after tire adjustment, air pressure or sensor replacement.
Who should have their sensors replaced?
As we have already explained, a healthy TPMS is important for safe driving. There are many instances that could lead to sensor replacement. These include the following
- When TPMS battery is depleted
- Corroded or damaged stems on your sensors will mean a replacement. Do not worry, stems can be provided separately
- Incorrectly performing or completely ignoring relearn procedures might lead to sensor replacements
- A physically broken sensor maybe during tire changing needs replacement
The Tire Pressure monitoring system relies on and monitors data from your sensors to ensure the tires are in good health. These sensors are therefore an important element of this system. There are 3 different types of sensors that TPMS systems utilize.
These aftermarket sensors can be Universal, programmable or configurable sensors. The grouping is based on the sensor configuration and their operations.
Unlike the universal and configurable sensors that have new sensor ID encoded onto the sensor and only need activation using the TPMS tool, programmable sensors require you to create a new sensor ID or transfer it from the old/replaced sensor.
Performing a reset on your vehicle
Most of the time, resets are performed when you want the TPMS to go off. The light shouldn’t come on as long as your tires are in prime conditions. However, some drivers experience unwarranted TPMS warning light blinks. This may mean your TPMS is incorrectly recalibrated or you didn’t get the tire pressure right.
Before you reset anything, ensure the pressure is actually at required point. There are many ways you can manipulate your tires to the correct pressure. After you confirm the tire pressure is correct, you can use a variety of methods to rest the TPMS. These include
- Using the TPMS reset button which is usually under the steering on many cars.
- Use a tool to reprogram the sensors in case they lost any information. Usually TPMS tools or even OBD tools can help reset your TPMS warning light.
Comparing the Autel 408 to the Autel 401
There are many similarities between TS408 and TS401 models in terms of features and functions. Both tools are capable in their own right however, differences in some of their features essentially makes them different tools.
Data presentation and display on the devices
With a TFT color display (320 x 240 dpi), the TS408 boasts a better display compared to the backlit, 128*64 pixel display with contrast adjustment on the TS401. Not only do these two devices differ in display, but also data presentation. Unlike the TS408, the 401 is incapable of audiovisual responses.
More advanced features
The TS408 does what the TS401 can do and more. For example, the TS408 gives you the additional option to program multiple MX sensors in one time with the Auto create method, something the 401 isn’t capable of doing.
In addition, you can access the TS408 on quick mode, while 401 lacks these diagnosis modes all together. The TS408 might not have the advanced mode option present on more evolved TPSM diagnostic tools; it still has the quick mode that comes in handy.
Importance of proper tire inflation
Because TPMSs are designed to help maintain tire status, it is only fitting that we go through why optimal tire inflation is important. First off, maintaining the tires at manufacturer specs is great for you, the environment and other drivers.
As we discussed, TPMS primarily increase road safety by improving handling and traction. This keeps the tires healthy and other drivers including you safe. Next, you benefit from improved gas mileage and longer lasting tires, saving you from dreaded tire replacement or spending extra on fuel. Lastly, because of the decrease in fuel consumption, you generally reduce your carbon footprint by decreasing emission.
The TS408 and 401 are great for anyone looking for a well equipped basic function TPMS diagnostic tool . While there are some nuanced differences in features and performance, both devices perform considerably well when it comes to basic TPMS diagnostics and service.