Auto Service World
Feature   March 1, 2018   by Geoff Kirbyson

Don’t count on mandatory TPMS

There's little appetite in Canada to demand sensors in vehicles

Even though it seems like a no-brainer, tire pressure monitoring systems aren’t going to be mandatory on vehicles made in Canada any time soon.

Despite the fact that American regulators found enough safety and fuel-efficiency evidence to require that they be installed on all cars and trucks made in the U.S. starting a decade ago, their counterparts on this side of the border don’t feel the same way.

A spokesman for Transport Canada said it simply hasn’t been convinced to follow the U.S. lead.

“Transport Canada has not followed suit as the department was unable to establish a direct link between these devices and improved vehicle safety. Until safety data becomes available supporting the mandatory requirement of tire pressure monitoring systems, Transport Canada is not considering reviewing this decision,” he said.

Based on its research and investigation into collisions, Transport Canada said it has not identified a pattern of motor vehicle accidents across the country caused conclusively by tire failure. In the United States, however, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that an underinflated tire was three times more likely to be involved in a crash.

Federal regulations in Canada set out the safety performance requirements for new vehicles when they are manufactured but they do not deal with the licensing or use of aftermarket modifications.

Transport Canada said they will continue to monitor the effectiveness of tire pressure monitoring systems to see if they make cars and trucks safer and said it will “take action as required.”

Regardless of what Canadian manufacturers do, their counterparts in the U.S. are going to continue to build vehicles with TPMS and a growing number of Canadians will buy those vehicles and drive them over the 49th parallel. So there will continue to be opportunities for jobbers and shops alike to sell the sensors.

“It hasn’t been a hot topic. We’re not really seeing a reason to go out there with it.”

— Dan Messner, CAA

If the day comes for mandatory TPMS in Canada, the industry is ready. Jeremy Shecter, Michigan-based national accounts manager at Schrader International, a leading manufacturer of sensors for the automotive industry, said most jobbers and distributors north of the 49th parallel already carry the product.

“They understand the safety elements and they’re ready for any [changes in] legislation. Most jobbers are already familiar with the sensors,” he said.

Every time a tire is changed, rotated or replaced in the U.S., the sensors have to in working order and the vehicle can’t leave a bay or shop if the light indicating a problem is on. By contrast, cars and trucks in Canada are allowed to leave a garage with the light on.

Mike Bundick, product marketing director for Michelin North America in Greenville, S.C., advises jobbers to make sure their shop customers are reminding drivers to check tire pressure manually and not rely solely on a notification on their dashboard.

“It is important to note that, although a big help, the presence of a TPMS does not excuse the motorist from his or her responsibility to check their tire pressures periodically,” he said.

The Canadian Automotive Association, or CAA, has no plans to lobby the federal government or automobile manufacturers to make TPMS mandatory.

“It hasn’t been a hot topic,” said Dan Messner, Winnipeg-based manager of automotive services. “We’re not really seeing a reason to go out there with it.”

Adjusting tire pressure weekly or monthly should be a regular part of vehicle maintenance regardless of whether there’s a light on the dashboard, he said. While it seems like an obvious decision, Messner questioned how driver use of that information could possibly be monitored

“There will be motorists who will ignore it for two or three weeks and others who will get on it right away,” he said.

But this is far from the first safety topic where decision makers have not been unanimous, Messner said.

“Why are daytime running lights mandatory in Canada and not in the U.S.? From a safety perspective, is one more important than the other?” he said.

Read the full feature in the January/February 2017 issue of Jobber News

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6 Comments » for Don’t count on mandatory TPMS
  1. John Rinaldi says:

    It all comes down to basic maintenance. I have been a mechanic for over 40 years and have seen so many maintenance problems that customers have neglected. With manufacturers extending service schedules, very few people check their vehicles anymore, especially when 12,000 km or one year is what is usually recommended. Most provinces don’t have mandatory inspections, so vehicles are run until they break down or won’t start anymore. For most vehicles on the road, oil changes are the only time they get any attention.

    • Denis Cabana says:

      I was a mechanic all my working years, I am now 78. These are expensive gadgets, that allow tire companies to rip off consumers to the tune of $60 each for these gadgets! I don’t need some gadget to tell me to check my tires once in a while, and even the dumbest driver knows he has a problem when the car pulls to one side,or the car is swerving. A rip off is all it is! Forget about it! Pretty soon they’ll make it mandatory to have a video player in a car! How to increase profits by lobbying and sticking it to the consumers,is all it is! I have always had an air pump, and a pressure gauge in my car. Had my summers installed and my indicators said everything was okay, When I checked with my gauge, they were all off. Lucky I check them myself!

    • Denis Cabana says:

      Why should responsible drivers have to pay extra for the ignorance of others? They shouldn’t be driving! It cost around $60 for one of these useless sensors. I suggest that it should be mandatory that drivers be required to carry a tire pressure gauge and an air pump instead!

  2. Gary says:

    One practical reason to not have mandatory TPMS in Canada is that many drivers have two sets of tires—summer and winter—that we change twice a year. In warmer climates people can drive on the same set of tires for years on end, which makes them easier to neglect. Shops charge extra to handle TPMS and the technology is a barrier for DIY mechanics, so it would be an undue burden on responsible drivers to have to deal with the added complexity.

  3. Jak f says:

    My 2016 Camry ran so well when almost flat that nothing was noticed. A warning system would give much earlier notice to do something about it. Pot holes and slow leaks should be dealt with ASAP.

  4. Beks says:

    Some people tend to be forgetful, therefore they may need this app to stay on track.

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