Title 49, U.S. Code 30122(b) of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (MVSA) “prohibits a manufacturer, distributor, dealer or motor vehicle repair business from knowingly making inoperative any part of a device or element of design installed on or in a motor vehicle in compliance with an applicable motor vehicle safety standard.”
TPMS is, of course, a safety system, and therefore falls under these guidelines. Government regulations always bring out questions, so we’ve brought back up a list of scenarios from the NHTSA “make inoperative” provision in relation to TPMS. This month, we have the second scenario to share. Be sure to check out our previous issues if you missed any scenarios. Thanks for reading our TPMS Quick Tip and don’t forget, the best practice for you and your shop is to always grab a scanner and check for TPMS codes and system operation when a vehicle comes in.
The second scenario focuses on aftermarket wheels and a customer’s refusal to purchase new TPMS sensors or pay for the labor to transfer the original sensors to the aftermarket wheels.
NHTSA states: “We assume that the vehicle has a functioning TPMS system at the time he or she purchases aftermarket tires and wheels. In that case, a service provider would violate the ‘make inoperative’ prohibition of 49 USC 30122(b) by installing new tires and wheels that do not have a functioning TPMS system. To avoid a ‘make inoperative’ violation, the service provider would need to decline to install the new tires and rims, use the TPMS sensors from the original wheels (if they are compatible), or convince the motorist to purchase new TPMS sensors and ensure that the sensors are properly integrated with the vehicle’s TPMS system.”
“We are admittedly surprised by NHTSA’s response that aftermarket tires and wheels must include
TPMS sensors,” said Roy Littlefield, TIA executive vice president. “Based on the language in the April 2005 Final Rule, we believed that the presence of the malfunction indicator lamp would notify the driver that the TPMS was not operable as a result of their decision to decline new sensors or pay for the additional labor to install the original sensors in the aftermarket tire and wheel assemblies.
“While we have some genuine concerns regarding consumer backlash, it is clear that the federal government is requiring dealers to make sure the TPMS continues to function following the purchase of aftermarket tires and wheels,” he added.