Metal valve stem caps. Ugh...

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by ssdesigner, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. ssdesigner

    ssdesigner Active Member

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    Learned an expensive lesson today. Don’t put metal valve stem caps on your tires. They corrode. And break valve stems. And valve stems have pressure sensors in them. And those are $200. EACH.

    I had no idea. So I’ve got one broke by the local dealer, and one still stuck.
     
  2. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Yeah, plastic is better. That sucks.
     
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  3. ssdesigner

    ssdesigner Active Member

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    What an expensive lesson to learn. These caps should be illegal!
     
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  4. ssdesigner

    ssdesigner Active Member

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    Ok, well I fully understand that putting these on was a BAD idea. My fault for not knowing this, but I'm kind of thinking that a dealer should be well aware of how these things can get stuck on.

    So 2 out of the 4 caps came off no problem. The 3rd one they tried to force off and the stem broke. Shouldn't a dealership know about metal valve caps? I mean, I had them on the last time I had service and they didn't mention them not being a good idea.

    And if something needs to be pushed to the point of breaking, wouldn't you inform the vehicle owner that it isn't coming off and offer them an option before you break one? It just seems to me like they are the professionals, and if you're messing with a $200 per part service just to put a few PSI into the tires.

    I'm going to at least contact Toyota. Does anyone have the contact info to discuss this with them directly?
     
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  5. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    Did your car come with metal caps? Mine were plastic. I notice one is different, though. The dealer had checked that tire for a leak and must have put a different plastic cap on the stem.
    If yours had OEM metal caps, I agree it would be Toyota's issue and the stem should be replace under warranty.

    If you placed the metal caps on yourself, that is different. I have not seen metal caps used on a car in years.
     
  6. ssdesigner

    ssdesigner Active Member

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    No, I put them on 3 weeks after getting the car.
     
  7. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    What do you expect Toyota to do? You replaced a good, tested part with something inferior.
     
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  8. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    It may look better on chrome wheels, but aluminium stems also corrode. If I ever have to replace TPMS/valve stem on my car again, I am going with after market rubber stem TPMS like this one.
    Schrader EZ-sensor
    Many of aftermarket TPMS are two pieces design, and if stem piece need to be replaced, it cost only a few backs.
     
  9. ssdesigner

    ssdesigner Active Member

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    Nothing, for me anyways. I'd like to see dealers take a customer service angle however and inform people that they have something on their car that could cause issues down the line.

    Is that too much to ask? Am I that far out of line here?
     
  10. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    My local dealer does not know how to properly service the Prius. On my 5K check, they said they set the tire pressure to 32 on all wheels. In actual fact, i was a more reasonable 39.
    I did my 10K oil change myself to be sure it was done correctly.
     
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  11. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Late now, but holding the barrel of the valve with needle nose pliers (the kind with a 45 degree bend at the tips) while trying to loosen the cap might help.
     
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  12. WilDavis

    WilDavis Senior Member

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    Ouch!
    I had a similar problem with one of mine, but was able to repair it and my local tire guy warned about using metal caps, so now I coated the threads with a tiny spot of grease to help stop the seizing! I have my winter wheels on at the moment, they don't have TPMS, but I use these instead:
     
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  13. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    I'd try dribbling a drip of WD-40 or similar down the valve stem (park it so it's upside down) and leave it for an hour or 2 - hopefully it'll penetrate it. Failing that, tap the cap gently with a small peen hammer on one side with a panel dolly held firmly on the other side - that should break the rust bond.

    My last car had plain metal caps and I never had a problem. I use them on my bicycle as they seal better as they have a neoprene washer, and will hold air in even if the valve leaks (the plastic ones don't hold air). Not sure why valves leak more often on bicycles than cars?
     
  14. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    TPMS sensors/valves should be less than half that. Try a regular tire shop next time.
     
  15. ssdesigner

    ssdesigner Active Member

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    Next time?

    Did you read my post?
     
  16. WilDavis

    WilDavis Senior Member

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    I put 80-120psi in the tyres on my road bikes and 60-80 (or even less) in those on the mountain bikes. (...just a thought...)
    PS: I changed all my bike tubes from Schraders to Prestas as Prestas have positive seals rather than tiny springs!
     
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  17. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    I think my (road) tyres say on the side-wall 55psi which is what I pump them to. And the tyres are getting old so I don't take them past that any more. Rough as anything for the first week after pumping up.

    I've had a sore shoulder the past few months (hurts going up hills, but fine going down again;)), so haven't been riding, so they're probably close to flat now.
     
  18. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Didn't you needlessly pay $200 for a replacement TPMS sensor, at a Toyota Stealership?

    While this one was prematurely and needlessly put out of service, those sensors don't last the life of the car. They will need replacements sometime, such as when the internal battery reaches the end of its life.

    So when sensor replacement is needed again, find a more normally priced tire shop instead of a high-markup car dealership.
     
  19. ssdesigner

    ssdesigner Active Member

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    They didn’t ask me or give me an option on the one they broke. They just tried to pry it off, broke it, and charged me. They didn’t come tell me they were stuck before trying to pry them off.

    My option would have been towing it elsewhere, paying the tow AND sensor. About the same final cost.
     
  20. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    The TPMS is a $50 part.

    Your 'expensive mistake' was letting the dealer near your car.....
     
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