While it might not feel like it, Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) have been around for quite a long time. The TPMS has actually been in development since the early 1980s, and in 2008 the TPMS was mandated to be fitted to any vehicle sold in the United States. It may be hard to believe, but that was 13 years ago. Knowing that the average age of a vehicle on the road today is 12 years, this would lead us to believe that a large majority of the cars you see driving on the road have a TPMS installed from the chain of Assembly. Even before the 2008 term, there were still many models that came stock with a TPMS or at least offered it as an option.
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That being said, there are still a small number of vehicles on the road that do not have the TPMS directly installed. The good news is that if a vehicle was not originally equipped with TPMS, the driver has the option of adding it using an upgrade kit. Upgrade kits can be purchased online by the driver or the store and installed. The system operates much the same as an installed system. Four or five sensors are fitted, one in each tire, and these sensors send signals to a display unit which will display live pressure information for each tire.
Most home improvement kits are still “do it for me (DIFM)”, which provides stores with a revenue opportunity. These kits come complete with valve mounted sensors (the same type fitted to most vehicles off the assembly line) and a display unit. The display unit will be dash mounted or some other type of easy to install concept such as plugging into a cigarette lighter. Ultimately, the driver would have to go to a shop to have this system installed as it requires tire changing equipment to install the sensors in each tire.
Another type of upgrade kit on the market is largely a “do it yourself (DIY)” product. Rather than using a valve mounted sensor, it uses a valve cap sensor. The sensor is located inside a valve cap which is simply screwed into place by the driver. These sensors then communicate with a display unit mounted in the vehicle cabin. Although these are very easy for the driver to install, they must take special care when fitting these valve caps as in some cases they will press on the valve to gauge the pressure, leaving only the cap itself to retain the air inside. the tire.
Regardless of the type of retrofit kit, there is a market for them. The more the driver understands the benefits of a working TPMS, the more these TPMS modification kits leave the shelves. It all comes down to educating the driver about their options and how TPMS can benefit them both in the short term (safety, early puncture detection, better handling) and long term (saving money, lifespan tires, less emissions).
Anytime a customer shows up for service after a flat tire and hasn’t installed a TPMS, consider it an opportunity to educate and then sell. Being stuck with a flat tire is stressful; The TPMS can help with early detection and has the potential to prevent them from being blocked next time. That might be enough for this driver to invest in a TPMS upgrade kit, but it starts with education at the counter.