Kalispell car owners know that under-inflated tires wear out more quickly. Under-inflation is also a major cause of tire failure for MT auto owners. More flats, blow outs, skids and longer stopping distances are all results of under-inflated tires.
It's hard for many Kalispell motorists to tell when a radial tire is under-inflated. If your automobile manufacturer recommends 35 pounds of pressure, your tire is considered significantly under-inflated at 26 pounds. The tire may not look low until it gets below 20 pounds.
Uncle Sam to the rescue! A recent federal law required car makers to include a Tire Pressure Monitoring System - or TPMS system - in all vehicles. The system is a dashboard mounted warning light that goes off if one or more of the tires falls 25 % below the vehicle manufacturer's pressure recommendations.
The law covers all passenger cars, SUVs, mini vans and pick-up trucks. The system must also indicate if it has a malfunction. This technology has been used in race cars 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 car maker to determine which of many TPMS systems available they use to comply with the law.
Obviously, all of this doesn't come free for Kalispell car owners. 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 net cost is estimated to be between $27 and $100.
The costs are partially offset by savings in fuel and tread wear. There is also a saving in property damage and travel delay. Also, the government predicts fewer fatal accidents. They estimate there will be between $3,000,000 to $9,000,000 for every life saved.
Your safety is our priority at Loren's Auto Repair. We want you on the road and accident free. We've traditionally provided things like tire rotations, snow tire mounting and flat fixes to Kalispell car owners at a very low cost. We've been able to quickly and cheaply provide the service, and we pass the low cost on to our valued Kalispell clients as an expression of our good will. That's why we're concerned about how you perceive the changes that this new law has required.
Every time a tire is changed: taken off to fix a flat, a new tire installed, or a snow tire mounted, the tech now has to deal with the TPMS system. Sensors need to be removed and reinstalled. The sensors have to be reactivated after the change. And, unfortunately, the very act of changing the tire damages some sensor parts from time to time - it's inevitable and can't be avoided.
Even a simple tire rotation requires that the monitor be reprogrammed to the new location of each tire. When a car battery is disconnected, the TPMS system needs to be reprogrammed. TPMS sensor batteries must be replaced periodically along with failed parts.
Kalispell service centers have purchased new scanning equipment to work with the TPMS sensors and updated expensive tire change equipment to better service wheels equipped with the new monitoring systems.
MT technicians have been trained on many systems and new tire-changing techniques. All of this adds up to significantly increased cost to the service center to perform what was once a very inexpensive service. So if you've noticed the cost of flat repairs, tire changes, and rotations going up, please keep in mind that it's because of government mandated safety equipment. Your Kalispell service center just wants to keep you safely on the road - and it's committed to do so at a fair price. Rememer, this change will help you avoid the most common vehicle failure, and possibly a catastrophic accident.