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Considerations for Building a Tire Inflation Station at Your Shop

If you are considering installing a tire fill station in your parking lot, here are a few suggestions to ensure that the station works for you and that your customers have a positive experience.

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Building a tire fill station at your dealership can bring many benefits. First, they keep customers from coming to your store for a simple tire-fill service that’s low profit or even performed for free. You can offer it as a free customer-focused service, which promotes brand loyalty. The station can also be used as an educational tool around TPMS and proper tire management. And last but not least, they can help keep your bays open for larger, more profitable services

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If you are considering installing a tire fill station in your parking lot, below are five suggestions to ensure that the station works for you and that your customers have a positive experience.

  1. Don’t assume they know how to use an air pump. Provide clear, simple instructions.
  2. Include a brief explanation about their TPMS light and how to tell if it is an air pressure issue or if it is a system issue. Explain that they need to turn the car off and on to see if the TPMS light blinks before remaining solid. If it does blink, the tires don’t necessarily need air. They should go into your shop and discuss their options. If the light is solid, then they can assume the tire needs air. They should check all four tires and the spare against the suggested placard pressure. Include text that explains if the solid light still doesn’t go out after all four or five tires are filled to the proper placard pressure. Some vehicles need to be driven for a short amount of time to allow the sensors to read the tires and turn out the light.
  3. Include an image and directions of where they can find their vehicle’s recommended placard pressure. On the image, place an “xx” next to the proper psi to avoid confusion that the displayed psi is the proper one for their vehicle. Make sure they know not to use the pressure indicated on the sidewall of the tire. A hot tire should be overinflated by 2-3 psi because when the tire cools down, it will go back to its normal pressure because the air expands in heat. For every 10 degrees of air pressure you go up or down, you lose or gain 1 psi.
  4. Include a gauge on the station, whether it is a manual gauge chained to the station or a digital gauge. Do not assume all drivers carry one.
  5. Make sure they check for valve caps and put them back on. If the valve cap cannot be removed, then they should go to the counter for assistance.

Jacki Lutz is head of global marketing and communications for Schrader Performance Sensors, the automotive aftermarket brand of Sensata Technologies. In addition to being a Certified TIA ATS Instructor, she is also president of the Automotive Communications Council and an active Member of the AASA Market Executive Council.

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Check out the rest of the June digital edition of Tire Review here.

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