The Autel MAXITPMS series contains a variety of great tools suitable for use by beginners or even professionals. Among these, the TS401 and TS501 are popular models that cater to TPMS needs across a wide range. We are going to discuss what each of these tools has to offer and finally compare how the TS401 racks up to the TS501. Read on for more on Autel MAXITPMS TS501 vs. MAXITPMS TS401.

A quick comparison

TS501 TS401
Basic TPMS functions Yes+ more Yes
Other features Some OBD functions


Best trait Quick and accurate diagnosis Ergonomic design with easy to use interface
Software update Free update on the internet via USB port Lifetime Upgrade Free
Operating temperature 0 to 50°Celcius 0 to 50°Celcius
Storage temperature -20 to 70°Celcius -20 to 70°Celcius
Display TFT color display (320 x 240 dpi) Backlit, 128*64 pixel display with contrast adjustment
Power 3.7V Li-polymer battery 3.7V Li-polymer battery

How does TPMS work?

The Tire Pressure Monitoring System as the name suggests is an electronic system designed to monitor tire pressure on each wheel. This system promptly alerts you when the pressure drops to a dangerous level. In maintaining tire pressure at proper levels, these systems increase your driving safety.

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. It is advisable that you keep the tire pressure at manufactures recommendations to keep the indicator light off.  After which you must ensure the

Basic TPMS features

What do we mean when we say basic TPMS functions? At the very least, a TPMS diagnostic device must allow scanning, diagnosis, activation and programming and in many cases relearning. The tool will activate or trigger inactive sensors. It will then receive sensor information and send it to the ECM. This information indicates the location of the sensor among other details. The device helps you detect any flaws within the system.


The MAXITPMS TS501 is a well equipped, ergonomically designed yet incredibly easy to use tool. Specially designed to perform a variety of TPMS functions, you can rely on this tool for all sorts of TPMS needs. Let’s review some of the specs that confer such functionality to this device. First off, this tool receives both 315MHz and 433MHz signals. It can easily read all the sensory data and relearn information. It will then proceed to provide audio and visual responses to confirm if the sensors are working properly.

Using this tool is quite convenient considering it doesn’t require wire connections to function. The intuitive navigation, ergonomic design and step by step on screen instructions make it an ideal diagnosis device.

Additionally, this device offers four programming methods that allow the user to program MX-sensors four different ways. These include:

  • Copy by OBD
  • 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.

In summary, the TS501 is a quick and accurate device that not only helps diagnose TPMS related issues like a pro but also easy and convenient to use.

Notable features

  • Can program MX sensors to replace OE sensors 4 different ways
  • Has a pre-selection process for faster activation and diagnostics
  • Will program vehicle ECU to learn sensor ID and position
  • You can use this too to check remote Keyless Entry or transmissions

What we like

  • it is designed to activate all known sensors with 125KHz continuous or modulated wave signals
  • Unparalleled sensor coverage and activates all magnetic, frequency and tire deflation triggered sensors
  • Automatic power off feature helps save on battery
  • Available in multiple languages including English French Spanish and much more

What we don’t like

  • While this tool will tell you how to perform relearning, it won’t actually perform it

Who is it for?

Because the TS501 offers more than the basic TPMS function an individual needs, this tool would best suit a professional at small or even large repair and auto shops where it can be utilized t its full potential.


The Autel TS401 is a compact tool, great for DIYers and even beginners who want to read and possibly program sensors. With this device, you can read the OE part number, tire pressure, temperature, battery status and information from the sensor. The device produces audio or visual data to affirm the status of your sensors.  MX sensor programming on this tool allows you to well, program the MX sensor. You can also replace OE sensors and even relearn procedures. This device identifies issues quickly and. With a inbuilt rechargeable lithium polymer battery, you get good runtime and even has an auto shut off feature to help save on the With an easy to use interface, and detailed step by step instructions, anyone from beginners to professionals can rely on this tool.

In summary, the TS401 is a functional, easy to use device great for all your basic TPMS diagnosis needs.

Notable features

  • This device saves up to 10 TPMS sensory records or data for future review
  • Unparalleled sensor coverage and activates all magnetic, frequency and tire deflation triggered sensors

What we like

  • An automatic power off feature reserves battery life by turning off when not in use.
  • This tool is compact, strong and easy to use
  • The modular design allows for future capability expansion
  • Online Free software updates available

What we don’t like

  • The TS401 may experience issues with functionality when operating on Japanese vehicle
  • Possible difficulties with updating the tool might

Who is it for?

Anyone from beginners to professionals can use this device.

What you need to know about ECU programming

ECU programming is an important feature for professional diagnostic scanners. The ECU comes with pre programmed instructions and programmable chips. Using the input sensor information these programs   generate the need output and thus control various engine functions.  Programming your ECU basically involves placing a ROM file into your car’s engine management ECU.

When your TPMS indicator light comes on:

There are many reasons your TPMS light could come on. The primary purpose is to alert you about an issue with your tire pressure. The immediate response should be a check with a TPMS diagnostic tool to trigger and read sensor data. After your vehicle is serviced to manufacturers recommended tire status, you will need to reset your TPMS system.

Relearns allow the ECU to see each wheels sensor ID, after which the TPMS diagnostics code will be cleared. The light will no longer indicate an issue with your TPMS as the system is functioning at optimum specifications and thus will stop blinking.

TPMS relearns are usually performed after servicing or sensor replacement. Battery depletion, Corroded r damaged sensor stems or incorrect functions are some of the issues that could trigger sensor replacement. After market sensors are used to replace the faulty sensors. Relearns vary greatly depending on the vehicle manufacturer, model and year.

Relearns vs reprogramming

While you can perform both of these functions using a TPMS tools, they differ in nature. Relearning is the simpler action of the two activities. Reprogramming is more tedious task.

As we discussed earlier, there are different ways to program your sensors. The type of sensor will influence the method you choose. There are three types of sensors including Universal, programmable or configurable sensors, each with a preferential method of programming.

Comparing the MAXITPMS TS501 to the TS401

Evidently, the 501 s far more equipped compared to the TS401. While the TS 401 can efficiently perform basic function like activating the sensors, reading sensor data and programming them, this tool is incapable of many other functions. Take a look at how the TS401 compares to the TS501.

Different display features

The TS501 comes with a TFT color display 320X240 dpi while the TS 401 is equipped with a backlit 128X64 pixel display that allows for contrast adjustment. Apart from the difference in hardware, there is a distinct difference in display capabilities. Unlike with the TS501, you cannot view the onscreen definitions on the TS401.

Additionally, the TS401 does not offer multilingual support for a variety of users unlike the TS501. This might hinder users who cannot read the interface language. The TS501 allows you to use English, the default language, Spanish or French.

Lacking TPMS functions

The TS501 will perform all the TPMS functions the TS401 is capable of and more.  Minus the inability to program MX sensors by OBD function, the TS401 can neither relearn OBD function nor relearn procedure to guide on the tool. Moreover, the TS401 unlike the TS501 doesn’t have a TPMS status for all information on one page.

Here is a quick comparison between their functions

Feature TS401 TS501
Basic TPMS function Yes Yes
Simultaneous MX-sensor Programming No Yes
Read and write sensor ID from vehicle ECU No Yes
Sensor information and relearn procedures No Yes
Read and clear codes from TPMS system No Yes
Check key FOB and Display OEM part number No Yes
Onscreen code definitions with audio visual responses No Yes

Extra tool features

Unlike the TS401, the TS501 allows the user to print TPMS sensor data via PC. This might come in handy for reference and review purposes. However, you can store up to 10 TPMS sensory records which somehow make up for the printing issues.

Advanced function

As we have discussed, there are some advanced functions only the TS501 can manage; compared to the TS401. For example, not only can the TS501 read and clear TPMS DTCs and Check key FOB and see on screen code definitions. With zero OBD capabilities, the TS401 could be considered inferior to the TS501.

Dependable runtimes

Both devices run on Lithium ion batteries which are rechargeable. You can depend on these tools for long runtimes. Additionally, they both come with Autel’s battery shutoff management function that helps prolong the bat life.

A tip on Data storage and access on TPMS tools

Apart from proper basic function, a good diagnostic tool should have proper data storage and connectivity capabilities. The Autel TS401 for example allows you to access you historical records indicating reasonable storage capabilities.

Importance of proper tire inflation

Why pay so much attention to tire inflation? Well, the status of your tires can influence your safety and the safety of other drivers. It is an essential part to safe driving. In fact, TPMS primarily increases road safety by improving handling and traction. Apart from keeping you safe, healthy tires save you money and are great for the environment.

With your tires at manufacturer recommended pressures, you can expect improved fuel economy and longer lasting tires. This is not only good news for your bank account but also reduces your carbon footprint. The minimal fuel consumption ensures you can effectively reduce your emissions.

Final word

Choosing a TPMS diagnosis and service tool from the Autel MAXITPMS series might be quite difficult considering all the tools this series has to offer. The TS401 and TS501 are a good place to start in terms of functionality, ease of use and price. When you decide to purchase a TPMS device, there are several considerations that often influence your purchase. Apart from the basic functions and comparisons we’ve discussed, there’s more that goes into purchasing a good TPMS device.


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