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Published on June 6, 2005

Mail Call, June 6

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Opinion

TPMS valves troublesome

I read the Mail Call letter from Barry Steinberg of Direct Tire Sales, Watertown, Mass., in the May 23 issue and will attempt to address his concerns regarding tire sensor valve caps and cores.

Tire sensors have changed components as the auto makers change their specification with the tire sensor manufacturer. It is important to note for future reference the make and model year of the vehicles to better address your questions.

Galvanic corrosion is the primary reason for all your difficulties with tire sensor valve caps and cores. The aluminum tire valve threaded area of the tire sensor can only use components made for this special application.

The use of non-nickel-plated cores and regular metal valve caps causes galvanic corrosion. The difficulty some tire dealers are experiencing in removing valve caps may be due to improper technique in handling the valve cap.

The real issue is that the valve cap is slippery and hard to remove as a result of oil, brake dust or other greasy contaminants. Tire technicians will then use pliers, which can bend the cap into the threads and seize it in place, making it difficult to remove.

Our company (Tuffy Manufacturing Industries Inc.) will be marketing replacement original equipment tire sensors as well as replacement component kits for them. Each component kit will include a tire sensor valve replacement grommet, nut, nickel-plated core and plastic cap.

Schrader Electronics, which is a large original equipment (OE) supplier of tire sensors and tire valves, recommends that when tire dealers replace tire sensors or demount tires that they use a replacement components kit.

The master assortment kit will include a plastic valve cap removal tool. Schrader recommends that the tire sensor valve nut be properly torqued to the OE specification.

I certainly am not an expert on tire sensors. I am confident that the training program the Tire Industry Association is preparing on tire pressure monitoring systems will be the solution for many tire dealers.

I encourage your readers to educate their tire techs and service managers on this subject by reading trade magazines and gathering information from vehicle manuals. Please let me know if I can assist your readers with questions regarding tire sensors. You have my permission to have them e-mail me with their concerns. Good Luck!

Steve Zimmerman

Vice President of Sales

Tuffy Manufacturing Industries Inc.

Akron

Editor's Note: Readers with questions or concerns regarding tire pressure monitoring systems can reach Mr. Zimmerman via e-mail at: steve@tuffymfg.com.

* * *

We read with great interest the letter from Barry Steinberg of Direct Tire & Auto Service, Watertown, Mass., in the May 23 Tire Business.

We, too, have experienced these same difficulties regarding valve caps and cores and tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) and echo Mr. Steinberg's growing concern.

We know of no industry guidance on this matter and would be pleased with any information anyone can provide.

Bob Kaufman

Hub Tire Co.

Norristown, Pa.

* * *

YES!!! We have experienced problems with valve caps and cores seizing onto and into the tire pressure monitoring system valve stems at our store in the Central Michigan area.

It seems to be the same type of problem as with hub-centric aluminum wheels seizing onto the steel hubs on cars and light trucks.

When will the industry realize that certain metals are incompatible, especially for continuous service exposed to the elements?

Maybe they need to put a metallurgist on staff to tell them this.

Dave Stanton

Owner

Metro 25 Tire Center

Mt. Pleasant, Mich.

* * *

Although I don't deal with as many tire pressure monitoring systems as Barry Steinberg of Direct Tire in Watertown, Mass., almost every other one we do is a problem. We have had the exact same problems with the valve caps and core that he has had.

The valve caps seem to oxidize on and can't be removed, or if we try to apply any pressure at all the valve snaps. We also had times when we couldn't remove the valve core, or if we did it would not go back in rendering the valve useless.

Then we have to run to the nearest car dealership—at $25 or more for a valve—to get a replacement, which most of them have in stock. Unfortunately there is no universal valve replacement at a reasonable price, so you're stuck going to the car dealership. As is normal in the tire industry, it seems that "you are the only one with that problem—no one else seems to be having any trouble."

Just try selling your customer new tires at $150 each and then telling him or her that, by the way, you may need new valves at $50 each because the valves on your 2-year old car are no good. Hopefully there will be a solution in the very near future.

Steve Lesieur

President

Maynard & Lesieur Tire

Nashua, N.H.

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