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Published on July 5, 2005

Mail Call, July 4

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Opinion

Don't mislead customers

I was shocked to read in your May 9 edition the comments made by the president of a marketing firm on how to promote tires produced in China.

In the article, it was stated: The trick for tire dealers is to not make a fuss over where the Chinese-brand tire was manufactured. "Tell the customer: I've got a terrific tire. Where's it come from? I don't know, but it's a terrific tire," this person said.

Customers are too sophisticated to accept this statement. A knowledgeable salesman selling a terrific tire knows where it is made and is not ashamed to say it.

John Sleighter

Gibsonia, Pa.

TPMS boondoggle

Tire pressure monitoring systems are only going to put more money in the car manufacturers' pockets.

NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) should have done more re-search on this issue before they put it into effect. General Motors Corp. had a monitoring system it was using in some vehicles—a ride-height system in the car—and it was sufficient. When a tire was low, the sensor would light. It didn't tell you which tire, but at least you knew you had a problem.

This whole thing is supposed to be for the safety of the consumer. I understand the safety aspect, and I think it's a good idea.

But it's only going to add to the cost of the tire—it is not fair to the customer.

Ron Gentley

Manager

Derby Tire Co.

Whip It Tire Division

Waterbury, Conn.

Problems with TPMS valves

In response to Barry Steinberg's letter in the May 23 issue of Tire Business, we have seen similar problems with valve stems used with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).

In fact, we have found the automatic car washes will damage a valve's aluminum threads.

The problem is when you remove the nut over the threads, it will straighten them out but cracks the aluminum stem.

Also, non-TPMS wheels put on with TPMS can stand the sensor at a 90-degree angle, but the first low tire or flat breaks off the tire pressure monitor. Correct torque is imperative, and a ¼-inch torque wrench and newton measurements make the job a lot easier. Advise your customer of all possible scenarios to protect both parties in order to make the job go a whole lot easier.

The problem of caps sticking is caused by magnesium chloride put on the roads for winter corroding the aluminum cap. Also, use non-locking air chucks so they won't damage the threads.

Have your tire techs inspect the valve stem before even touching the tire for a free air check. Clearing the TPMS lights and codes will take some time, but the days of fixing a flat fast in the TPMS era are coming to an end. And a can of "fix-a-flat" sealant will ruin the sending unit.

A little homework saves a lot of headache.

Michael Watchek

Owner

Big O Tires

South Ogden, Utah

* * *

We have exactly the problem described by Mr. Steinberg. We are a small rural dealer and have not had a great number of these, but we have seen this. Thank you.

Rick Frazee

Owner

County Tire Co.

Delhi, N.Y.

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