How are you sharing your knowledge about winter tires?
Depending on which part of Canada you live in, there are probably laws making winter tires mandatory, or at least providing an incentive for consumers to buy them. So that part of your job is done. But what are you doing to educate your customers about winter tire safety issues?
For example, do your customers know that the TPMS needs to be reset when changing to winter tires? It may even be a good idea to install separate TPMS sensors on the winter tires.
So you should talk to your customers about either buying another set of sensors, or putting the existing sensors in the winter wheels, so their air pressure is being monitored all the time. Don’t forget the service packs around the TPMS! They should also be checked and replaced if they are deteriorating.
The colder it gets…
It’s particularly important to have tire pressure monitored during the cold Canadian winters. Remember that for every seven degrees Celsius loss or gain, you lose or gain one or two PSI. That’s why any manufacturer’s owner’s manual recommends checking tire pressure on a monthly basis. The TPMS should be operating correctly and being taken care of.
Let the customer know how the TPMS works, and that it’s set up to factory standards. Make sure they know that if one or more tires fall below 25 percent of the recommended tire pressure, which can be found on the driver’s side door jamb, the light will come up on the dashboard. Some consumers look at the sidewall of the tire which, of course, features the maximum pressure that the tire can have—NOT the OEM’s recommended pressure.
Don’t forget the spare
Also, make sure that the TPMS in the spare tire is working. Some vehicles, like Toyotas, have a TPMS on the spare. When that symbol lights up on the dashboard, customers who aren’t aware of that sensor don’t realize what’s wrong. And even if a vehicle doesn’t have TPMS, that spare tire’s air pressure should also be checked on a regular basis.
And of course, not all vehicles come equipped with TPMS, like those manufactured before 2007. For those customers, it’s mandatory that they check their tire pressure themselves, especially during the winter months.
The FWD question
Then there are those customers with a FWD vehicle who only want to have the winter tires in the front, which is not only against manufacturer recommendations, but not safe. If they insist on only two tires, they should be installed in the rear, because that’s where you need the traction. If you have more traction in the front and less in the rear, you’ll get oversteer.
All of these are well worth mentioning to your customers. What kind of materials do you have in your waiting room to educate your customers about TPMS? Proper replacement of winter tires? What positions should the tires be in? You’re doing it not just to sell tires and service and so that your customers are obeying the law, but also to make sure that they feel secure driving their families in frequently hazardous Canadian road conditions.