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tire shop broke a TPMS tire pressure monitor sensor during tire change

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by theorist, May 24, 2006.

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  1. theorist

    theorist New Member

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    I brought our brand new Prius straight from the dealer to Town Fair Tire for a tire upgrade. When swapping the tires, they broke one of the tire pressure monitoring sensors.

    The tire shop worked to resolve the problem immediately. When they told me of the problem 30 minutes after starting the job, they had already ordered the part to be FedExed. They called back today, 6 days later to say the part has arrived. In the meantime I read where the owners manual said that new sensors must be registered with the car's ECU.

    Has anyone experienced a broken sensor yet? Do you think the tire shop will be able to replace and register the sensor or do I need to take it to the dealer? Am I better protected down the line (warranty) taking the car to a dealer to fix the tire shop's damage? I imagine that the Toyota warranty will not cover this. Any advice on getting the dealer to bill the shop directly or getting the shop to pay for the repairs at the dealer. The tire shop is in New Hampshire, 30 miles away. They have branches 10 miles away in Massachusetts.

    I hope this was one very stupid mistake and not the start of a trend.

    Thanks for any advice.
  2. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    the best thing to do when dealing with tire replacement and tpms sensors is to explicitly tell them to be careful of the sensors. if they don't know there are sensors in there, they're probably much less careful than if they know they're there.

    you need the scantool to register the sensor's id code with the tpms ecu, so it has to be done at the dealer. the tire shop should be paying for this, for sure. get a quote from the dealer, take it back to the tire shop and get the money before having the work done. that way you've got it covered.

    good luck!
  3. georgel

    georgel Junior Member

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    Unfortunately this will become a new trend as TPMS sensors are relatively new and aftermarket technicians are not yet fully trained. Compounding this problem, customers want tires as cheaply and as quickly as possible which increases the possibility of dealing with an untrained technician. The good news is you do not have to go back to the dealer as TPMS reset tools are available to the aftermarket for $150-$550 depending on which one you choose. The Toyota factory scan-tool is also available trough CARQUEST Auto parts
  4. hdrygas

    hdrygas New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(theorist @ May 24 2006, 01:23 AM) [snapback]260237[/snapback]</div>

    The only thing I know is you break it you fix it. It will be a hard lesson for them but a good one in the end. You will profit, the company will profit from the "learning" (I hate that usage) and I am sure the staff will hear about it. Classic Win Win. Can't get much better than that!
  5. theorist

    theorist New Member

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    Thank you for your advice.

    It took a while for the part to arrive. (According to the tire shop and the dealer, they couldn't find the part closer than California.) By the time it arrived, I had read what the owners manual and friends here had to say about registering new TPMS transmitters with the ECU. I was able to forewarn the tireshop that it seemed that only the dealer could register the new transmiter with the ECU. I said that was happy to take the car to the dealer, but I would like the tire shop to arrange to pay the dealership directly. If they wanted to install the sensor - transmiter at the tire shop, I wanted back to back appointments at the tire shop and the dealer. (They are less than a mile apart from each other but over 30 miles from me.) Town Fair Tire set up the appointments and arranged to have the work at the dealer billed directly to Town Fair Tire.

    Town Fair Tire was quick installing the new sensor. They carefully recorded all of the codes and information off of both the broken sensor and the new sensor so that the Toyota dealer could unregister the replaced transmiter and register the new one without breaking down the tires. (I was disappointed to see that they torqued each lug nut only once, and only with a torque stick attached to an impact wrench. They stated this is what they always do. I've always torqued lug nuts gradually going through a star pattern 3-6 times. Am I overly cautious or are they a little careless?)

    Toyota of Nashua seemed very new to this procedure. They had the car for nearly three hours. At times it wasn't clear that anyone was working on the car. At other times they had 4 techs gathered around the scan tool. In the end they explained that they thought they locked up the ECU by trying to reinitialize (reset) the TPMS by simply pressing the tire pressure reset button under the steering wheel, before registering the new transmitter. (Town Fair Tire and I knew that this wouldn't work but the dealer techs are the experts, right.) After this they couldn't get their scan tool to work with the ECU. They called Toyota's national help line for techs and learned how to reset the ECU, including much of the stored user settings. Then they said they broke down all the tires (even the one that they had the code for?) to read and enter all the codes.

    Nearly 3 hours later the service department at Toyota of Nashua had learned how to register TPMS transmiters and registered mine. They didn't rebalance the tires after breaking them down and rebalancing them. I asked the service advisor what the bill to Town Fair Tire would be for this. He said around 3 hours or $240.

    I've never been impressed with dealership service departments, but is this what I should expect from most Toyota dealerships? I wasn't paying but I'm impressed they had the nerve to charge to for their on the job training, in what will soon be a fairly common service in new england with snow tires and wheels. Should I look for a good independent shop with Prius expertise, invest in an extended warranty, or just hope that I'm never paying to train dealership service techs how to repair their own cars?

    I hear that Toyota has been named in a class action 'right to repair' class action lawsuit for not giving independent repair shops the information they need to make repairs like this. Perhaps Toyota is trying to even the playing field by not giving their dealership service departments this information either?
  6. hobbit

    hobbit Senior Member

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    As tires are one of the more common aftermarket items, Toyota is
    well and truly bound to supply service data for anything concerning
    them. See www.nastf.org.
    .
    _H*
  7. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    it all depends on the tech you get. if you get one who's willing to look things up in the service manual beforehand, you're set. it's the ones who expect to spend 5 minutes on the job and then realize it's more than just pressing some reset button, and then get completely lost and reset the entire TPMS ECU that end up doing BS like that.

    i've always advised, and will here too, that you find a tech you know and trust, and whose work you know is quality. then stick with him so you know your car is in competent hands. good techs usually pick up a small army of loyal customers simply because they know their stuff and treat people well.
  8. ggood

    ggood Blue PIP Aficionado

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(galaxee @ Jun 1 2006, 08:57 AM) [snapback]263986[/snapback]</div>

    Galaxee - You have any ideas how to do that? Every Toyota dealer I've dealt with never lets you anywhere near the techs. You always have to deal with a service rep, who inevitably knows less about the car than you do and forgets half of what you tell him or her. I would love to know and go back to the tech who fixed my recent Prius problem, since he found in 1/2 hour what the other dealer failed to find after having the car for a full week. I would have given him a bottle of champagne!
  9. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    ggood- if you really liked the tech's work, look up his name on your work order and insist that he be the only one to work on your car. dude seems to know what he's doing since the other guys missed something so obvious.

    i wrote up a thing on finding a good dealer/tech a while back, here's the link: http://priuschat.com/Getting-Your-Prius-Serviced-t16494.html
  10. jrct9454

    jrct9454 New Member

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    I solved this problem, when installing new Michelin tires on my 2006 [the Goodyear OEMs are too awful to have on the car longer than it took me to order the replacements] - I did without the damned sensors. The original wheels and tires are still intact and sitting in our storage cage, while the replacement Michelins are on new wheels from Tire Rack [$75 apiece, and original in ALL measurements, including width and offset] WITHOUT the sensors. Yeah, the little yellow light comes on...I finally cut a small piece of electrical tape and covered it up permanently.

    Our original poster's experiences have reinforced my attitude about this - I've been driving 45 years without a nanny to tell me that the tires need checking, or that one of them needs serious attention. This is completely a product of the idiots who insisted on killing themselves in Explorers with underinflated tires, and the resulting gazillion dollar lawsuits. So now we have another reason to visit the semi-competent dealer and have your time and money wasted while they puzzle over the latest "advances" in electronics.

    Anyway, my solution to this potential screwup was to do without the sensors. When I go to sell the car, I'll put the original wheels back on the car, and/or use them and the sensors at the next tire change. Most of the tire people I've dealt with are aware of the sensors and the necessity to be careful - but probably unaware of just how much hassle it is to deal with a busted one.

    Incidentally, the Michelins were from Costco, who refused to mount the tires without the sensors - a decision I understand and respect, since they have already had more than their share of lawsuits from selling tires. I just took the tires to the nearest America's Tire outlet, told them what I wanted done, and it was accomplished with no questions, and with perfect balance and smoothness on all four.
  11. hobbit

    hobbit Senior Member

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    In those 45 years you've never picked up a nail or something that
    stuck in and started making the tire slowly go soft, like on a long
    trip? Having *some* advance warning of that before the thing goes
    totally flubflubWHAMwhapwhapwhapwhapwhapwhap.... would likely allow
    you to save the tire with a patch and be less of a road hazard.
    .
    _H*
  12. jrct9454

    jrct9454 New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(hobbit @ Jun 4 2006, 07:28 PM) [snapback]265785[/snapback]</div>


    All I can say is no, I have never been surprised by a high-speed loss of pressure; at every stop on a long trip, I do a walk-around to check for any tire that's low. I've taken my share of nails over the years, and with the usual "slow leak" consequences, but I've always found these with regular pressure checks. And I have never damaged a tire by driving on it with inadequate pressure. Doesn't mean it might not happen in the future, but not once since I got my first car in 1962. [My first job in high school was working for the Firestone distributor in San Francisco - so I got an early start in understanding the tire business, and how to take care of tires....and how much difference the right tires will make to any car - which is why the OEM Integritys got dumped so quickly.]

    My point is that the TPMS system is fine, but it introduces another level of expense and complexity to the tire question that I would just as soon do without. Most Americans are really stupid about tiires - and stupid is the kindest word I can conjure. During the heart of the Explorer / Firestone debacle, I watched any number of SUVs, including Explorers, go by me during my morning run that CLEARLY had one or more underinflated tires. I still see cars every day when I'm out of the house that are running on low inflation - to me, it's so obvious as to be silly - but these people are blithely going around inviting disaster for themselves, and anyone else who happens to be around them if something happens at high speed. So I understand the rationale for TPMS....but I refuse to pay for a new set of sensors to put on a new set of wheels, just so I can be as careless as the average American driver.

    This is more about preventing lawsuits and protecting careless people from the consquences of their behavior than anything else, but I accept that for what it is...what I don't accept is the idea that the people at the dealership don't know how to deal with the system....that WAS the point of the original post, after all.
  13. georgel

    georgel Junior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(jrct9454 @ Jun 1 2006, 04:15 PM) [snapback]264200[/snapback]</div>

    Some things to consider:

    Your insurance company insured a vehicle WITH TPMS. Some insurance companies have already stated that if a vehicle is in an accident for any reason and it is found to have the TPMS disabled, the accident may not be covered.

    TPMS is a federally mandated safety device. The NTHSA is imposing fines of between $6000-$16,375,000 for disabling vehicle safety devices.

    You have no rights when it comes to driving on public roads. Driving is a privilege and not protected by law.
  14. McShemp

    McShemp New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(theorist @ May 24 2006, 03:23 AM) [snapback]260237[/snapback]</div>

    What compelled you to change out the tires on your brand new car?
  15. jrct9454

    jrct9454 New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(McShemp @ Jun 9 2006, 06:24 AM) [snapback]268533[/snapback]</div>


    I can answer for myself...

    1. Nothing makes a bigger difference in the way a car feels than the right tires
    2. Too many OEM tires are all about saving the car maker money, not being the best compromise for the car
    3. The Goodyear Integritys on this car are junk; I've had them on 2 other cars, and it's just a fact
    4. The Costco Michelin Xs improve just about every aspect of driving this car - better ride, better stick in both dry and wet, better braking, and no noise penalty - for $400. Why wait until the OEM tires are worn out? I refuse to wait 3-4 years to enjoy the benefits of the upgrade.

    I don't pretend this matters to the average driver, but I'm a certified car nut, and it matters to me.
  16. theorist

    theorist New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(jrct9454 @ Jun 9 2006, 09:51 AM) [snapback]268550[/snapback]</div>

    Well answered. We changed the tires for all of the reasons above. Also, we wanted much more traction (for safety more than fun) than the Integrity could provide and were willing to sacrifice a touch of comfort and fuel consumption by going to performance tires. We changed the tires right away to get good trade in credit on the OEM Integrities.

    We didn't anticipate any trouble with installation. The price was $319 - $160 = $159 installed for the set of Dunlop SP Sport A2 Plus tires installed after the $160 credit for the OEM tires. The traction is SO much better than the Integrities we drove on rented Priuses, especially in the rain. The Dunlops are slightly quieter and firmer (which we prefer).
  17. Sarge

    Sarge Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(theorist @ Jun 10 2006, 09:37 AM) [snapback]269140[/snapback]</div>

    I had Dunlop SP Sport A2's on my Integra (205/50/15) and I second your comment about how great they are, especially in the rain.

    As much as I find the Integrities inferior to what the Dunlops are, I will wait until the Integrities are worn out before replacing them.

    - Kevin


    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(georgel @ Jun 9 2006, 09:05 AM) [snapback]268527[/snapback]</div>

    This is an interesting situation, for regions that receive snow in the winter season. How does this work if the owner keeps a second set of rims with snow tires?

    If true that some companies will deny an accident claim because TPMS system was not being used (i.e. by not having sensors on the winter tires), then this is going against the wisdom of having proper tires for the weather conditions.

    So what is more important? Having a light telling you that you have a soft tire or having the proper grip on the road? I vote for the grip.

    Of course, it is not even feasible to buy a second set of sensors due to cost ($100/sensor??) as well as the fact that they need to re-program the ECU to switch sets -> also a trip to the dealer & $$$. The other alternative of dismounting & remounting tires on the same rims seasonally is possible, but again this is more money to the dealer as well as increased risk of damage to the rims and leaks.

    Worst of all, there is not even a way to simply disable the idiot light if you choose to run a second set of rims without sensors.

    Someone didn't think this technology through very well.

    - Kevin

    EDIT: I give up trying to figure out why it keeps combining my posts...?
  18. McShemp

    McShemp New Member

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    A couple of questions on tire sensors.

    1. What happens if you run a tire without a sensor ... or without a registered sensor? Do you just get a dash warning light and that's it?
    2. I doubt it, but does the spare tire have a sensor (registered to the ECU)?
    3. I presume all four sensors are the same so rotating tires isn't an issue when identifying which tire is low. Is this true?
    4. Is there a limit on the number of sensors that can be registered with a single ECU?
  19. nerfer

    nerfer A young senior member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(georgel @ Jun 9 2006, 08:05 AM) [snapback]268527[/snapback]</div>

    Because people need to drive in order to function in American society, we're forced to make the roads and cars idiot-proof. Other countries either keep the idiots off the roads (eg. Germany) by having stringent tests, or in countries where most are too poor to own cars, they let the occasional idiots take themselves off the roads (Darwinian selection).

    But you're right, TPMS is federally mandated in the U.S., I was not aware of that. However, it appears there is no fine for not using TPMS on replacement tires. Here's what the Public Citizen (pro-safety advocacy group) has to say about it:


    As you can see, it's still better to check your own tires for slow leaks. For a faster leak, anybody who knows how tires are supposed to feel will notice it's not riding right and will have the foresight to pull over and check them. They don't call them idiot lights for nothing.
  20. jrct9454

    jrct9454 New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(McShemp @ Jun 12 2006, 11:08 AM) [snapback]270017[/snapback]</div>


    We replaced the OEM tires/wheels on our '06. I kept the originals intact, and they are sitting in our condo storage cage. The replacement wheels came from Tire Rack [$75 each, and exact same specs as the originals]; the tires came from Costco - Michelin Xs, which are huge improvements over the originals. I didn't bother with the expense or trouble of installing the TPMS sensors.

    First, it took days for the TPMS warning to come on; second, all that happens is the light flashes at startup, then just stays on steadily after that. I cut a small piece of black electrical tape and covered it up. End of story.

    As to the technical details you're asking about, I could guess from the behavior I observed on ours before I replaced the original wheels what the answers are, but it would be a guess. I'll let a Toyota tech answer - there are several who contribute to these forums.

    Finally, I find it laughable that anyone worries about what the Feds think on this topic. When I go to sell or trade the car, I intend to put the OEM wheels and tires back on, with the sensors, In the meantime, I intend to use my eyes, common sense, and a tire gauge, just as I have done quite successfully for the past 44 years of driving and car ownership.

    I observe in my daily outings [I jog 4+ miles a day] multiple examples of underinflated tires all the time - any dingaling with half a driving brain could see it instantly. These idiots are the people [I guess] for whom this system is designed. I'm guessing that half of them are too out of it to understand what the TPMS warnings would mean, when and if they own a car with the system installed...that's the ultimate irony of the new rule. And yes, Darwin could easily be at work here, but it takes time, and these clowns have the potential to kill someone else at the same time they're risking themselves. Cars are not transportation appliances that you plug in and ignore - but many Americans seem content to treat them that way. The TPMS is still another attempt to keep these people from hurting themselves; my experience suggests they'll find a way.
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