Flats, blow outs, skids and longer stopping distances can all be the result of Houston area folks driving around on under-inflated tires. Now, it’s hard to tell when a radial tire is under-inflated. If your manufacturer recommends 35 pounds of pressure, your car tire’s considered significantly under inflated at 26 pounds. The tire may not look low until it gets below 20 pounds.
New laws required manufacturers to include a Tire Pressure Monitoring System – or TPMS system – in all cars and light trucks by the 2008 model year. The system has a dashboard mounted warning light that goes off if one or more of the tires falls 25% below manufacturer’s pressure recommendations.
This technology has been used by race car drivers for years. They are able to head off problems from under inflation by closely monitoring tire pressure on the track. It’s up to your car’s manufacturer to determine which of many TPMS systems available they’ll use to comply with the law.
Obviously, all of this doesn’t come free for drivers. U.S. government studies have estimated the net costs. Of course, the TPMS system itself will cost something. Maintaining the system will have a cost, replacement of worn or broken parts and tire repair cost increases.
The costs are partially offset by savings in fuel and tire wear. There’s also a saving in property damage and travel delay. The net cost is estimated to be between $27 and $100. The government predicts fewer fatal accidents. They estimate that it will cost between three and nine million dollars for every life saved.
Your safety has always been a concern at Kacal's Auto and Truck Service. We want you on the road and accident free. We've traditionally provided things like tire rotations, snow tire mounting and flat fixes at a very low cost. We’ve been able to quickly and cheaply provide the service, and pass the low cost on to you as an expression of our good will.
That’s why we're concerned about how you’ll perceive the changes that this new law will force. Every time a tire is changed: taken off to fix a flat, a new tire installed; our service technician is now going to have to deal with the TPMS system.
Even a simple tire rotation will require that the monitor be reprogrammed to the new location of each tire. When a car battery is disconnected, the TPMS system will need to be reprogrammed. TPMS sensor batteries will need to be changed and failed parts replaced.
Like all other local service centers, here at Kacal's Auto and Truck Service we've had to purchase new scanning equipment to work with the TPMS sensors and to update expensive tire change equipment to better service wheels equipped with the new monitoring systems. Our service technicians have been thoroughly trained on many systems and new tire-changing techniques. All of this adds up to significantly increased cost to perform what was once a very inexpensive service for you.
So when you start so see the cost of tire changes, flat repairs and rotations going up, please keep in mind that it’s because of government mandated safety equipment. We want to keep you safely on the road – and we're committed to doing it at a fair price. This new safety equipment will help you avoid the most common types of vehicle failure in Houston, and possibly a catastrophic accident.