TPMS: Are Retrofits in Your Future?

TPMS: Are Retrofits in Your Future?

Installing a retrofit kit can be performed with the tools and equipment you already own and use on a daily basis.

The contact patch of a tire, the area that touches the ground, is one of the most critical aspects of tire performance, and it affects tire wear, fuel economy, handling, braking, traction, noise and ride quality. In other words, it affects everything, including safety.

What’s more important is the contact patch will only be correct if tire pressure is set to the specification provided by the vehicle manufacturer. When overinflated, the immediate safety concerns of handling, traction and braking are affected since the contact area of the tire is reduced, leading to reduced grip.

An underinflated tire will also suffer in performance and even though it may seem like a larger contact patch would be better, it’s not. The larger contact patch creates more friction and heat, affecting the rubber compound and changing the characteristics of the tire, leading to negative handling effects, as well as a drastically increased stopping distance.

TPMS retrofit
TPMS retrofit

Pre-information age, there were many misconceptions and myths about tire pressure. Now we all know and understand the importance of it, and we live in a world where we drive more than we ever have in the past, and we expect a higher level of performance from our cars. Even though TPMS-equipped vehicles are now the majority, more and more Americans are adding second and third cars to their garage, many of them “toys,” or classics from a pre-electronic era.

Will TPMS retrofits be common in the future? We’re all used to it and familiar with it now. Most of the wrinkles have been worked out and TPMS retrofit kits are readily available. We want to get in, drive and enjoy our classics, as opposed to laboring over countless checks every sunny day we back it out of the garage.

Restomods and classic vehicles with modern powertrains are already popular, and electric vehicle conversions are beginning to gain steam in the aftermarket. Some companies are already making replacement instrument clusters for popular classics with built-in TPMS functionality. Once thought of as a safety system and initially shunned like much new technology, TPMS is suddenly popular and becoming a convenience system we rely on.

Installing a retrofit kit can be performed with the tools and equipment you already own and use on a daily basis. It could turn out to be a lucrative service if you make your customers aware of the possibility.

Most TPMS retrofits are designed to work with professional TPMS scan tools to activate and learn the new sensors. While this can be done without a professional tool, your TPMS tool will do it quicker. It’s one more way to make your tools work for you. TS

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