Michelin has received mixed responses from three of the UK’s largest tyre distributors after asking for views on the introduction of Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) later this year.
Michelin wrote to ATS Euromaster, Kwik Fit and National Tyres asking how they intend to manage
TPMS, following concern from members of the Michelin Fleet Panel about how the new legislation will affect vehicle maintenance costs.
All three distributors said they are running pilot schemes to ensure centres are equipped with the relevant equipment, as well as staff training programmes ahead of the introduction of the legislation in November 2012.
But there are mixed views on the impact TPMS will have on fleets.
ATS Euromaster said it believes the introduction of TPMS is likely to have less of an impact for fleets than consumers as the sensors have a projected lifespan of between five and seven years so servicing costs are likely to impact on second and third-life vehicle owners.
Peter Fairlie, group sales director at ATS Euromaster, said: “As TPMS becomes more commonplace, vehicle running costs are bound to increase as there is a marked difference between the price of a standard tyre valve compared with the service kits required for TPMS-enabled vehicles.
"However, as the volumes required by the market increase, it is hoped prices will reduce too.
“Looking specifically at the cost implications for business fleets, we expect these to have less of an impact.
"The fact that fleets typically replace their cars on a three to five year lifecycle – and most TPMS sensors have a projected lifespan of five to seven years – means the largest element of the servicing cost is likely to borne by second and third-life vehicle owners, who will need to replace the sensors during this five to seven year window.”
But National Tyres said lessons from America where TPMS was introduced in 2006, show that a four to five year estimated lifespan is more realistic.
Kevin Parker, group managing director at National Tyres, said: “In theory, it was thought sensor valve batteries would last up to seven years. However the reality from the USA experience, where TPMS was introduced in 2006, is that many fail prematurely due to corrosion or damage, high mileage, or if repeated deflation takes place, four to five years’ life is the norm.”
Peter Lambert, fleet sales director at Kwik-Fit, added: “Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems are an important vehicle safety aid. The fact they will become a standard feature on all new cars over the next two years means that it is essential that we are able to offer a service to customers that checks the systems are working correctly and rectify those that are not.
“The technology is very sophisticated and if a dashboard warning light appears – either the low pressure warning icon or system failure warning icon – drivers have a duty and responsibility to act and not to ignore the warning.”
Dave Crinson, head of fleet sales at Michelin, said: “It is interesting to hear the different views, but also reassuring to know that all three tyre distributors are well prepared to maintain and replace the systems.”
“Although the servicing and replacement of TPMS will be an additional cost, and the exact life span and cost of the systems cannot be determined yet, the added benefits in terms of safety are undeniable, as well as the improvements in fuel consumption that can be achieved when tyres are at the recommended pressure.
“The number of motorists who drive on under-inflated tyres is a major concern so if the new legislation helps reduce that number, in turn it will help reduce the number of accidents on the road.”