Recent changes affecting the way TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems) faults are categorised during MOTs have led to an increase in demand for reliable inspection equipment and diagnostic tools. But with so many solutions available, do garages know what to look for?

Following a change introduced by the DVSA on 17 June 2019, if an onboard TPMS is not working or malfunctioning, this will be regarded as a ‘major’ fault, automatically leading to the vehicle’s MOT failure. TPMS has been mandatory on all vehicles registered since November 2014. However, despite their obvious safety and fuel-saving benefits, some system

s have been found to be faulty or inoperative, placing a greater importance on reliable TPMS diagnostic tools.

For garage mechanics, TPMS checking has been a standard part of the annual MOT since 2015.  Prior to the rule changes in June last year, if a warning light was on or displayed during the test, this would only be a ‘minor’ defect or an advisory. Since then however, checks could cause the vehicle to fail its MOT if systems are found to be inoperative or faulty.

Hand-held readers are commonly used to perform TPMS checks. However, depending on their level of sophistication, some may not indicate the type of fault. For example, low-end solutions might display a warning light indicating that the tyre pressure is low on one or more of the vehicle’s tyres. However, it could also indicate that there is a defect in the system itself, such as a sensor fault due to damage or a low battery.

With millions of vehicles now equipped with TPMS, garages are likely to see a rise in demand for repairs to a vehicle’s TPMS, especially when it comes to a vehicle passing a MOT. Therefore, those garages that are not stocked with the best equipment to carry out such repairs could be at a disadvantage and at risk of losing business to a competitor or tyre shop.

To ensure they are ready to meet growing demand in this area, garages should consider upgrading their inspection equipment and diagnostic tools. For example, the equipment should be able to read, check and programme sensors for a variety of car manufacturers and receive regular updates to ensure it is always up to date with vehicle and sensor coverage. They should also be capable of performing a reset of the vehicle’s TPMS ECU if needed.

Rather than trying to modify their existing equipment, garages should consider investing in state-of-the-art service units that are capable of performing universal tests and programming devices for TPMS sensors used by all the major vehicle manufacturers.

When deciding how to invest, garages should look for solutions that are both easy to use and offer added-value benefits. There may also be an opportunity to future-proof their business by investing in equipment which will stand the test of time. Among the key benefits of the most advanced equipment, VDO’s TPMS Pro is able to copy the sensor ID from a faulty sensor onto a new one or create a new sensor ID altogether. It can then programme the vehicle’s ECU to locate the new sensor and reset the TPMS light.

TPMS know-how is becoming a new differentiator for garages and MOT centres and investing in the right equipment now could help to increase sales at the same time as improving customer service. Before making a choice however, it makes sense to consider the options and seek advice from reputable suppliers offering reliable, universal solutions.

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