WASHINGTON—Written instructions on tire pressure monitoring systems in vehicle owners' manuals are inadequate to explain TPMS technology to motorists, according to the Tire Industry Association.
Also, motorists are too often confused about TPMS warning lights that remain temporarily illuminated after service, causing them to accuse tire retailers of damaging the systems, TIA said in comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
TIA responded to a November 2012 request by NHTSA for comments on the economic impact of its regulations on small entities.
The NHTSA TPMS rule requires auto makers to include an image of the Low Tire Pressure Telltale Symbol in owners' manuals, along with a statement about the function of TPMS and the necessity of proper tire inflation.
However, the agency doesn't require auto makers to explain that telltale symbols serve two purposes, said Roy Littlefield, TIA executive vice president, in his Jan. 22 comments. The symbols not only indicate low pressure in a tire, but also indicate a malfunction in the system, he said.
"Since the owners' manual is not required to explain the different, the burden often falls on the tire retailers who must explain why a telltale that stays illuminated after the bulb check represents a low tire and a telltale that blinks for 60-90 seconds and then stays illuminated represents a malfunctioning TPMS," Littlefield said.
"Small businesses waste thousands of dollars each year in lost productivity explaining these federally mandated safety features," he said.