Are you equipped for TPMS?
Although just five per cent of cars in the UK are fitted with TPMS, this figure is set to rise dramatically when EU regulations on its mandatory fitment in all new cars come into force in 2014. Anticipating this wider adoption of TPMS, next year updated MoT regulations also take effect – under these regulations, a malfunctioning TPMS will warrant a fail.
Chris Behan, general manager of Snap-On Equipment, observes that a tenth of all MoT failures are already tyre-related and this proportion will only rise in hand with this new emphasis on TPMS. And this, he adds, represents an excellent opportunity for businesses to sell tyres and take a share of a market estimated at around 30 million units per year. “The key to taking advantage of this business opportunity is to ensure you invest in the right tyre changing equipment from a manufacturer with the backup to support your business,” he comments.
Behan points out that two types of TPMS exist: The first, and most costly, involves placing dedicated sensors inside each tyre; these record pressure and notify the driver of any changes, no matter how small. The second type uses the vehicle’s hub-mounted ABS sensors to note any significant change in ride height, which would most likely indicate a drop in tyre pressure on a particular side of the vehicle. Inspecting or replacing the TPMS sensors on the first of these types requires the right tyre changer. The Snap-On Equipment general manager opines that using the correct tyre changing machinery will not only make the job much easier, especially where bead breaking on run-flat tyres are concerned – it will also help avoid damage to costly large-diameter alloy rims or the TPMS sensors themselves. “After all, we’ve all heard horror stories, which have cost businesses money and harmed their reputations, let alone the confidence of tyre technicians,” he cautions.
Tyre changers equipped with a third ‘helper’ arm such as the monty 3300 racing plus from Snap-on brand Hofmann, which features the “easymont pro” pneumatic tyre mounting and demounting system, make handling tyres safer and easier. They also save time by allowing TPMS sensors to be changed without removing the tyre from the rim. Furthermore, the monty 3300 racing plus is certified by the WDK, the Association of the German Rubber Industry, as a unit capable of safely mounting and demounting high performance and run-flat tyres.
However, Behan points out that before investing in a brand new tyre changer, it is worth checking your existing machine to see if it can be upgraded with a ‘helper’ arm, such as the easymont pro. “As a manufacturer, we are able to upgrade virtually all non-equipped Hofmann tyre changers for around £999, making TPMS repair more affordable for more workshops,” he says. “Investing in the right equipment can undoubtedly make the difference when it comes to success in new markets such as TPMS repair and the wider opportunity of selling replacement tyres.”
Turning to wheel balancing, Chris Behan says Hofmann offers an extensive range of equipment to suit any tyre shop and level of service volume. “We have also added an entry-level wheel balancer to our portfolio, which is perfect for workshops looking to add wheel service revenue to their business,” he adds. This machine, the Hofmann geodyna 800, is described as a unit that offers garages affordability without compromising on balancing accuracy. Key features include a spoke mode with a hidden weight placement function, five alloy modes, a motorcycle mode and Real Plane Imaging technology. Furthermore, the balancer occupies minimal floor space thanks to a compact footprint and is equipped with a wheel guard as standard.
As Behan already noted, buying the right product is essential. Yet the general manager of the firm behind the long-established Hofmann brand points out this is only half the story: “Choosing a supplier with strong after sales support – be this technician training, a strong warranty with service backup, technical information and spare parts availability – is equally important. As a manufacturer, we have taken this on board for some time, by providing an industry-leading 24-month parts and labour warranty, installation and user training as standard.” Hofmann wheel service equipment is exclusively available via the company’s UK-wide distributor partners.