A coalition of TPMS manufacturers, including ATEQ, Bartec, Continental and Schrader, along with the Tire Industry Association (TIA), came together at the 2023 AAPEX and SEMA Shows to encourage technicians to get in the habit of updating their TPMS tool software. The launch of the “Don’t Wait…Update!” campaign coincided with National Tire Safety Week in late June this year and was carried out in awareness events at both SEMA and AAPEX.
During a press conference at AAPEX, the group’s message was simple: Updating TPMS tool software allows techs to prevent TPMS service issues and avoid unnecessary delays, leading to better customer service.
“We’re all competitors, but we have the same end result, and that is to service TPMS,” said Sean Lanoo, technical training supervisor at Continental. “It doesn’t matter what tool you use or what sensor you use, or what particular brand, it’s across the board that we were finding that shops aren’t updating their tools.”
According to a TIA survey, up to 35% of technicians have not updated their TPMS tool software in the last year. When working with the newest generation of TPMS sensors, technicians need the latest generation of TPMS tool software to perform a repair or service correctly.
Lanoo said on Continental’s end, the impetus to start the campaign came as the company continued to see an increase of calls to its tech tip line with complaints of a sensor not working.
“It’s all because the tool can’t talk to the sensors,” he explained “Techs call when they have a problem, but once you drill down and ask a few questions, you find out they haven’t updated their tool. With so many different sensor types– OE sensors, programmable sensors, clone-able sensors and then REDI-Sensor that is a configurable sensor– they have to make sure their tools are updated so they can work with all these sensors.”
Yanick Leduc, global technical training manager at Sensata Technologies, makers of Schrader TPMS Solutions, said shops can stay up to date with tool updates registering their TPMS tool with the manufacturer to receive texts or emails about software updates. Other tools that are Wi-Fi capable will show a small icon on the top toolbar with a notification asking the user to update.
Lanoo and Leduc said it’s a good idea for shops to create a schedule for tool updates, as they can often take 30 to 45 minutes. Having a set time to update tool software every week or every month ensures that the shop will be able to program and relearn sensors with the latest year, makes and models.
“It’s really just to make sure that you have all the latest data. Sometimes small bugs need to be fixed or software needs to be adjusted on new updates,” Leduc said.
Lanoo added that since the launch of the campaign, Continental has seen a lower percentage of shops that have not updated their TPMS tools. Overall, TPMS tool suppliers will continue to monitor the campaign’s success over the coming months.