I recently reviewed an article from a writer that called replacement TPMS sensors a “$150 mechanical monstrosity.” I’m as cheap as the next guy, but a $150 problem for a consumer is a $150 opportunity for a shop. Furthermore, if you have checked replacement sensor prices, it’s not $150 for most popular applications.
It really got my blood boiling. Even if a sensor costs $150, it could prevent a slow leak from turning into a new tire and even save a life! $150 is 0.5% of a $30,000 price tag for the average new car. Even at that price, the TPMS sensor is a bargain. Also, if the vehicle is worth $3,000, the cost of one, or even four sensors, is insignificant when compared to the benefits.
This writer also had a persecution complex and thought the NHTSA TPMS mandate was another example of the government going too far and making life more complex for the motorist. In my opinion, TPMS is one of the greatest leaps forward in safety since NHTSA mandated airbags in the early 1990s. It’s one of those rare mandates that has not only made our roads safer, but has also lessened our dependence on foreign oil.
TPMS is one of the greatest sales opportunities for shops since diagnostic fees for computerized vehicles. Even if your shop doesn’t sell tires, you can still make money on sensor relearns and sensor replacement.
Some shops have stopped free mounting, balancing or rotations for consumers due to the cost of sensor service kits and the time needed for relearn procedures. Also, after seven to 10 years, the batteries in the sensor die and have to be replaced. This is a sales opportunity that didn’t exist 15 years ago.
The Future Is Bright
There are other new sales opportunities. Consider the alignment. For most vehicles you can charge the customer for calibrating the steering angle sensor after the toe is adjusted. When flushing the brake system, not all of the fluid is flushed unless you use a scan tool to actuate the ABS module. These are required services to complete some repairs that were not there a decade ago.
The future is getting even brighter when you consider there are late-model vehicles on the roads that require a scan tool to replace the vehicle’s battery. If the car does’t know a new battery is installed, it will overcharge the new battery, causing premature failure. I would like to see a big box store try to explain this to a customer.
The future is bright, you just have to charge for it.