The most important aspect of servicing tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) is looking through the eyes of the customer. Unlike some skeptical people on our side of the counter, most drivers like the benefits of tire pressure monitoring. Besides giving them peace of mind, TPMS has probably saved them money by increasing fuel mileage or allowing them to save a punctured tire.
All TPMS systems have one thing in common: at some point the system will need service. On one end of the spectrum is basic inflation maintenance; on the other end is diagnostics. By the time most vehicles hit the 70,000-mile mark, at least one of the sensors will need to be replaced. The service kit should be replaced when new tires are installed.
Chances are the first time a customer has to deal with the complexity and cost of maintaining TPMS will be at your shop. Most drivers have not grown up with TPMS, so fatherly advice has yet to be handed down. This service usually goes one of two ways.
You can commiserate with the customer regarding the price tag on a repair and blame your inability to keep the TPMS light out on a conspiracy by the OEMs and government. You can tell them this conspiracy is costing consumers by forcing them to buy expensive sensors and service kits. You can also tell them this conspiracy is hurting shops by forcing them to buy expensive tools and stock new parts.
The better approach is to sell them on the fact that your shop can restore their TPMS to working condition. You can educate them so they see the benefits of the system and how it increases the efficiency and safety of the vehicle.
This second approach is the most effective and profitable. But, it does require an investment in tools and training. It also involves reconsidering how you educate the customer.
In 1913, Piqua Auto Supply House used the phrase, “One Look Is Worth A Thousand Words,” in a newspaper advertisement to sell tires. More than 100 years later, that logic still applies to educating drivers about TPMS.
Selling TPMS parts and labor can be difficult. Being able to visually communicate is just as important as verbally communicating.
Showcase the Tools
Some large dealerships have started to keep dedicated TPMS tools in the service lanes. At first, this was a way to solve common TPMS problems without having to use a bay. But, they soon realized that customers were more likely to authorize TPMS diagnostics and sensor replacement once they truly understood the complexity of the system.
The presence of a dedicated TPMS tool builds credibility for your shop. Having a technician running around letting out 10 psi from a tire in 20 seconds is not exactly a confidence builder for the customer. Using a proper tool can also help you avoid long test drives waiting for the light to reset.
Show the Sensor and Service Kits
Roughly 99% of your customers probably have no idea what a TPMS sensor looks like. They just see a valve stem and the lights on the dash. What you are selling can not be seen.
Just a simple demonstration of a failed sensor can go a long way in educating a customer. Showing them a smashed or cracked grommet can also help them understand what they are buying.
Invest in Knowledge
If you can’t clearly explain how a TPMS system works to a customer, you need training. There are many sources of in-person and online training, and the topics can range from basic operation to advanced diagnostics. Some of this training is even free from suppliers. Investing in training is a surefire way to enhance your shop’s TPMS service offering.