CLEVELAND—Tire pressure monitoring systems are here to stay, all over the world, and tire dealers and servicers had better be prepared for that.
This was the message of Carl Wacker, vice president of global sales and marketing for Schrader Electronics Ltd., at the International Tire Exhibition & Conference in Cleveland Sept. 21.
“TPMS will be as common as seatbelts,” Wacker told his ITEC audience. Schrader alone had shipped 130 million TPMS sensors as of the end of August 2010, and that will only grow as other parts of the world follow the U.S. and mandate TPMS.
The European Union mandated TPMS last year for full phase-in by November 2014, Wacker said. South Korea, Japan and China are quickly following suit.
That means, he said, that on a worldwide basis 257.5 million TPMS sensors will enter the market every year on new vehicles alone.
Also, by 2015 just about every used vehicle will have TPMS, making another 400 million to 450 million sensors for servicers to deal with, he said.
This, of course, will mean new challenges for tire shops that have to service TPMS along with tires, according to Wacker. But those tire dealers who take care to learn the ins and outs of the technology, and take care to educate their customers, will handle the issue successfully, he said.
Wacker outlined several important factors for tire dealers to remember in servicing TPMS, both as part of his speech and in response to questions from the audience.
For instance, auto makers will warranty TPMS the same as they will any other safety feature on a car, he said. But tire servicers need to remember that some common items—such as balancing beads and powders and tire seal-ants—can damage sensors.
Unexpected things can affect the operation of TPMS, such as metalized and hybrid window film, said Wacker.
“I got a call from the Red Army in China that their TPMS sensors weren't working,” he said. “I had to go to China to solve the problem. It turned out they had put metalized film on all their military vehicle windows. Roll the windows down, and the problem went away. That is not the way to find out you have a problem.”
On the other hand, nitrogen inflation has no effect on TPMS. “Air is 78-percent nitrogen,” he said.
Schrader has been the major innovator in TPMS technology, and was the first company to develop sensors for snap-in valves, Wacker said. Within a few years, he said, there will be sensors in the tires themselves.
“Once we're in the tire, we can do all sorts of neat stuff,” he said. “We will be able to measure load and tire temperature.”