It is common in today’s automotive aftermarket repair business, as well as in many dealerships, to automatically include any TPMS parts that should be replaced during tire-repair service. Some regulatory agencies state that everything must be line-listed and completely transparent to the customer. This is true and I have no problem with this philosophy, but it can become confusing for a customer who says, “I really don’t want that done.”

The fact is that OE manufacturers, tire vendors and others who have come up with some rock-solid suggestions on what TPMS service parts should be replaced when a tire is changed. Giving a customer the option of not putting these parts on his car can potentially create a liability issue and a future service issue. If you get a tire leak or TPMS failure for some reason, whose fault is it? The customer may say, “I never said that.” In any case, whatever the tire manufacturer’s, the OE manufacturer’s, the TPMS manufacturer’s or the regulatory and professional engineering-based groups’ recommendations are, these are the ones who really know.

You should not allow a customer to opt out of doing what is required or what is safe. Saying “yes” and moving on doesn’t help you if there is a failure down the road. It’s just like tire patch and repair. You don’t patch tires outside of the patching service area. If you do, it may come back to haunt you as it did in a few famous lawsuits over the years.

The common TPMS service areas are valve-core replacement with a new TPMS valve core (Figure 1) (DSC-4234), correct valve cap (figures 2&3)(DSCN0581) and (DSCN0580) and the air-sealing seal between the stem and the wheel if it’s a replaceable item. If it is a snap-in type of valve core and it had to be removed, you do not reinstall the old unit (Figure 4)(DSC_0073). Some of the screws that attach the sensor to the stem also may have to be replaced depending upon their serviceability condition. There are also a variety of TPMS parts-service kits that are available from various manufacturers that make the proper TPMS service component parts for anyone performing tire service. The point is that with the different types of TPMS out there and your ability to know what system is on the car before you write up the repair ticket or as part of the information, you should easily be able to quote tire-replacement service cost and do the job as it should be done, not as your customer would prefer it be done to save a few dollars. The old saying, “It’s an old car and I just drive it around town” doesn’t hold water if something goes wrong or if there is a flat tire on a busy highway and someone gets hurt because of it.

Do the job right. Do it as if it was your wife driving the car and your kids are riding in the back seat. Don’t do anyone any favors by shortcutting the work or any work-prescribed methods. You’re not doing anyone a favor, least of all, your customer and most or all, your boss or whoever owns the shop and those whose livelihood depends upon having the place to work.