ORLANDO, Fla.Tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) are a tremendous opportunity for tire dealersbut only if they learn about the different TPMS technologies and inform their customers about the importance of TPMS.
This was the message of five TPMS experts in a roundtable discussion at the ITEC show in Orlando.
The statistics don't lie, according to Tyson Boyer, sales manager for Dill Air Controls Products L.L.C. There are 113 million vehicles in the U.S. equipped with TPMS, meaning there are 450 million TPMS sensors out there to service and/or potentially replace, he said.
TPMS is a federal mandate and the average vehicle age in the U.S. is 11.4 years, so there will be millions more TPMS-equipped vehicles on the road very soon, Mr. Boyer said.
Also, TPMS is working, he said: Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that the technology is preventing 100 deaths and 10,000 injuries from tire-related accidents annually.
If TPMS isn't Job No. 1 for anyone in the tire industry, it's close to that, according to Mr. Boyer, who said he acts on that notion.
I educate my customers on a daily basis about TPMS, he said. My ads include TPMS, my website has educational material about TPMS and I have a resident expert (on staff) on TPMS.
Motorists are only just starting to learn about TPMS, and it's better to teach them about it in advance than to spring it on them all at once, according to Mr. Boyer.
You don't just want to say, 'Mrs. Johnson, your sensor's broken, that's $124.' It's a little more explainable than that. You've got to own this category if you're a retailer.
Mr. Boyer urged those in the audience to take advantage of TPMS suppliers' instructional materials, which are usually free, and also of the Tire Industry Association's TPMS training courses and videos. But doing them once is not enough, he said.
You have to set goals and have regular training, he said. Educating your staff about TPMS gets you cooperation at the sales counter.
Mr. Boyer was one of several ITEC speakers who addressed the topic of TPMS. In a roundtable discussion after the last TPMS presentation, the panelists agreed that educating technicians to understand the different TPMS technologies in the marketand which cars use which TPMS systemsis absolutely crucial.
Treating TPMS systems as interchangeable can be disastrous, according to Scot Holloway, CEO of Bartec U.S.A., a sensor maker.
If you fit a vehicle for one service kit, and you put another one on, you can't fix stupid, Mr. Holloway said. You can try to make the system foolproof, but there are new fools born every day.
To reach this reporter: mmoore@ crain.com.