Aftermarket TPMS Solutions
Servicing tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) can be a quick money-maker that requires minimal labor. The service is also essential since this maintenance applies to every vehicle made or sold in the U.S. since 2008.
Manufacturers have their own monitoring devices, direct or indirect, that serve the same purpose. However, these devices follow their own operating procedures and have specially fitted stems, grommets, washers and other hardware. Being able to diagnose and repair a wide range of TPMS sensors with quality aftermarket solutions will maximize TPMS service profitability and decrease the chance of a comeback or worse, a hefty fine for releasing a vehicle with a faulty TPMS sensor. The aftermarket has grown rapidly to accommodate all the high-production road vehicles with various TPMS sensors, hardware kits and quick service scan tools with features and software to service any TPMS system. It is important to note that manufacturers of high-end imports may not be covered by any aftermarket solution, and a trip to the dealership for specialty service in that case becomes inevitable.
TPMS Sensors in the Aftermarket
The aftermarket has come up with some pretty nifty TPMS sensors, and there are a lot to choose from. So, which is the best for your shop? Aftermarket solutions offer direct OE replacements, but for a shop servicing one kind of vehicle, the quantity of parts and inventory required would be overwhelming. You want to minimize the number of parts you keep on hand but still be able to service multiple vehicles. That requires a completely programmable TPMS sensor that complies with the latest software and works with a wide range of part numbers across multiple manufacturers. Direct OE replacement TPMS sensors are mostly suitable for dealerships and shops that stick to one manufacturer. Multi-protocol TPMS sensors are also direct replacements; however, they cover multiple vehicles with fewer part numbers by running a number of protocols at once, with no pre-programming required. Multi-protocol TPMS sensors can be updated to support new part numbers and are ideal for a shop servicing a few manufacturers or offering a quick lube and tire service.
In the quest for maximum profitability, ordering direct replacements or even multi-protocol TPMS sensors to service multiple manufactures may flood your inventory — not only with sensors, but also with fittings. For a shop that services a multitude of vehicle manufacturers, a completely programmable TPMS sensor is the way to go. They do require pre-installation programming, but you will only have to carry a few of these to take care of most of your clientele. These also offer the latest software coverage with the most available part numbers.
TPMS Scan Tools
Whatever TPMS sensor you choose, you need an aftermarket scan tool that can communicate with multiple manufacturers, diagnose a faulty system or sensor, and/or communicate with the key fob. The more you pony up for a TPMS scan tool, the more features you get. That means an increased ease-of-use that will result in fast service. High-end TPMS scanners can test communication between the fob and the vehicle, key fob functions, apply quick sensor relearns, and perform TPMS health checks to alert customers to future service needs. Some of these scanners can also scan any OBD-II port and, with Wi-Fi functionality, provide TSB reports and even technical tips and solutions. Some TPMS scan tools allow you to plug the sensor directly into the tool for quick programmability.
TPMS sensors are small and fragile, but are located in one of the most abused areas of a vehicle where temperatures and friction create a risk of serious damage. When performing tire service, it is important to position the tire so that the bead does not pop off in the wrong direction and snap the body off the stem. However, this can happen, especially in a high-volume shop with a quick service lane. A busted TPMS sensor or one without the proper tools to allow the technician to service extremely small bits in tight places can be a nuisance.
Investing in TPMS aftermarket solutions to service a multitude of manufacturers is a smart move. The benefits far outweigh the costs. You will attract more business and retain the business you already have, resulting in higher profits for your shop.