AKRON (April 10, 2006) — Many tire dealers still don't seem to sense the urgency. But they need to take steps now to be able to service and recalibrate tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) mandated by the federal government as original equipment on new passenger vehicles and light trucks.
If dealers don't, they could wind up losing customers to other service shops better prepared and equipped to handle these systems. And you know they'll gladly accept the business.
Plus, dealers don't want to potentially put themselves in the middle of a lawsuit for having failed to properly service, repair or recalibrate a TPMS unit involved in a tire-related accident.
Despite scores of stories on this subject as well as efforts by many tire dealer associations to train and inform their members on this issue, many dealers still haven't begun to get prepared.
This assessment comes from the response of dealers attending three different state tire dealer association meetings held this year and attended by Tire Business.
Speakers at these meetings polled their dealer audience regarding TPMS.
At one gathering, dealers were asked if they had purchased any of the tools needed to recalibrate these systems. Only one or two hands went up.
Attendees also were asked whether they had trained any of their employees to service TPMS. Again, only a few raised their hands.
When asked whether they had plans in place to train their workers in this area, the results were much the same.
Granted, these were unscientific polls, and it's assumed that some in the audience maybe didn't respond because they were uncomfortable giving their position in public. So hopefully the reality is higher.
Nevertheless, the low response serves notice that many dealers have yet to embrace the need to train their employees and buy the necessary equipment to service TPMS.
This could be a make-or-break issue for some dealers. Becoming an expert in TPMS offers an opportunity for forward-thinking dealerships to boost sales.
But the opposite could happen to those shops unwilling to accept that servicing TPMS soon will be a standard operating procedure.
Still, it's not too late to do something about this. The mandatory use of tire pressure monitoring systems only began late last year. So they've been required on new vehicles for only about a half a year.
Tire dealers need to step up to the plate now and get their dealerships ready to handle the expected growth of vehicles equipped with TPMS.
Tire dealers' shops should be the most, not least prepared to handle these systems. Otherwise, they risk giving credence to car dealers' claims that they know the customers' car best. Now's the time to prove them wrong.