Auto Service World
Feature   December 17, 2013   by CARS Magazine

CIAA releases policy statement on TPMS

The Canadian Independent Automotive Association (CIAA) says independent shops should never let a vehicle go without tire pressure monitors installed.

The Canadian Independent Automotive Association (CIAA) says independent shops should never let a vehicle go without tire pressure monitors installed.

The association has released a policy statement that independent shops can use when handling customer concerns regarding TPMS.

“It’s your call as a business owner, but we feel that safety is paramount and the liability of shops is at stake,” says CIAA executive director Art Wilderman. “It’s most advantageous, from a safety and liability standpoint, to not allow any vehicle to leave without the TPMS system functioning, if it was functioning properly when it came in.”

He points out that there are no laws in Canada requiring TPMS in vehicles, and none of the provinces have written regulations on TPMS, but every province has legislation that forbids people from disabling safety systems.

“There are a lot of techs that don’t see TPMS as a real safety issue,” he says, “but it has been ruled mandatory in the U.S.”

The association began studying the controversy over TPMS last year and held several discussions with stakeholders. Yesterday, the association’s board of directors released a policy statement that its members can post in their waiting areas.

It explains why customers should welcome the use of TPMS on their vehicles.

“Most shops will take the time to explain the reality of safety, tire life, and fuel economy when explaining TPMS. It’s important to have this discussion with the customer before the job even starts, said Wilderman. “If a tech brings in a vehicle and sees a TPMS light on the dash, it should be addressed immediately. Most of the shops that I’ve talked to that are really behind this policy will simply refuse to install the tires if the TPMS system isn’t functioning.”

In an email to members, Wilderman pointed out that while there are some shops that are “compromising the TPMS” on vehicles, primarily when installing winter tires and wheels, the CIAA has found that most of the more reputable tire centers and independents are not compromising these systems.

TPMS systems became mainstream after a number of crashes in the U.S. involving Firestone ATX about 10 years ago. The fatal crashes were found to be the result of faulty tires, heat, and wear, along with vehicle design. As a result, TPMS was mandated to be installed on all vehicles built in the U.S. or imported into the U.S. beginning in 2006 and 2007.

Wilderman said Canadians are impacted by virtue of the fact that most vehicles built here and imported here have these safety systems installed at time of manufacture.

He said disabling or causing the TPMS system to be non-functioning could open a person or business to a liability if an accident was caused because of tire failure. According to the CIAA, there have been cases of this happening in Canada.
When using this new policy statement, the CIAA says it’s important to stand by your position on the issue and be thorough in your explanations to potential clients if they are to understand the value in keeping the system functioning.
The CIAA TPMS policy statement reads as follows:
The Tire Pressure Monitoring System installed on your vehicle is a critical safety alert system. This system monitors tire pressure and alerts the operator to a possible low tire condition. A tire that becomes low on pressure can result and has resulted in, loss of vehicle control particularly during slippery road conditions.
The tire pressure monitoring system provides other benefits that include, saving fuel by insuring that proper pressure is maintained resulting in reduced rolling resistance of the tire, longer tire life by reducing excessive heat to cause tire to wear prematurely, reduce on hi-way breakdowns or blow outs caused by low tire pressures, this system has many advantages and benefits for your vehicle beyond safe operation.
We at <ABC AUTO> will not disconnect or make inoperable any safety system on our clients vehicles, such as the air bag system, seat belt system, collapsible shock absorbing bumpers etc. we will not cause the Tire Pressure Monitoring System to be inoperable in any way as well. That means if your vehicle is equipped with a functioning TPMS system when it’s in for service we will ensure that the system is properly operational when it leaves. That includes service to install winter tires and winter wheels. Proper air pressure and a safety system to monitor pressure are particularly important when our clients may be driving on icy winter roads.
We at <ABC Auto> believe our clients’ safety is paramount to our level of service and commitment, and the operational TPMS system is critical to our honouring that commitment.

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