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TIA stays on top of TPMS issue

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The Tire Industry Association (TIA) is doing tremendous work for tire dealers and other tire retailers with its training on tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS)—and by keeping an eye on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) when it comes to issues about servicing the systems.

While it seems that working on, maintaining and understanding TPMS should be getting easier and clearer for everyone involved—since they have been required on new passenger cars since 2007—this safety requirement continues to create issues with the various constituencies.

That's why it's so important to have an advocate and training organization like TIA watching out for and guiding the tire dealer community.

The reality is, TPMS probably will create issues with tire servicers for years to come, which is why the industry must stay on top of this subject.

For one, there likely never will be consistencies in the devices themselves, making it more difficult to be an expert in servicing the different designs that come on customers' cars.

Sean MacKinnon, TIA's director of automotive training development, and Matt White, director of tire service, delivered that message to attendees at a TPMS seminar during last fall's Specialty Equipment Market Association show in Las Vegas.

Companies supplying TPMS hardware likely never will get on the same page with their designs, so dealers will just have to get over it, they said.

“Figure it out, get in the system, get a good tool behind you, get a good distributor, get your products in place, start training your people and then, guess what happens: You make money,” Mr. MacKinnon said.

Considering that the market for replacement TPMS parts and service in North America and Europe is expected to more than triple by 2018, this is practical, real-world advice.

TIA also serves its members well with its latest submission to NHTSA that auto makers' written instructions in owners' manuals on TPMS are inadequate.

If vehicle owners fail to understand the TPMS systems on their vehicles, Maryland-based TIA said, the burden falls on tire dealers and other auto service providers, which takes time and can impact dealership productivity.

While tire dealers probably can turn any time with a customer into an advantage, if confusion about TPMS ends up driving customers back to the new-car dealership for service, it's a problem.

In 2011, TPMS systems were found on only about one-fourth of all personal vehicles registered in North America—a number that is expected to climb to 38 percent in 2014.

By then, there likely will be even more TPMS issues arising for watchdog TIA to address.
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