Join Date: Jul 2005
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The sensors can definitely be disabled. When I went through my first 'welded on valve caps' episode, the dealer temporarily disabled the system for me because they didn't have time to replace all of the valves on the spot. I don't know whether you need special equipment to do it, or whether there's a switch or button somewhere that does the job. They wouldn't tell me.
But try living with the pressure sensors for a while, and you probably won't want to get rid of them. There's a lot to be said for never having to remove the valve caps unless you know that the tyres need air, which is something you can do on the versions that actually display the pressures. The valves are also very handy as an early warning that you have a problem, and allow you to sort it out before you run the tyre too flat and damage the sidewall. I ended up with a steel bar through the side of one of my tyres on a run from Bradford to Bristol. Fortunately, the system told me about it while the tyre still had its profile. I dread to think what would have happened if it had completely deflated at motorway speeds.
As for fitting the sensors to after-market alloys. They'll probably fit, but even if they won't, you may be able to cheat. The pressure sensor itself is a small box, and doesn't really have to be attached to the valve stem (one problem I've had is the pressure sensor module separating from the valve - it still gives a pressure reading, but seriously throws the wheel out of balance.) If you could find a way of fixing the pressure sensor to the inside of the rim on the new alloys, you should be able to fit a standard valve for inflation.
Currently in Horatio's garage:
2010 Laguna III Initiale.