A universal TPMS sensor?
The market now has a universal, one-size-fits-all tire pressure sensor, says Carl Wacker, global vice president of sales and marketing for Schrader International.
Schrader’s EZ-Sensor, which was introduced at last month’s Global Tire Expo/Specialty Equipment Market Association Show, is designed to interface with tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) that have already been installed on vehicles.
“Our customers have been saying, ‘The original equipment (vehicle) manufacturers keep proliferating the differences in the sensors, including the way they communicate and which models they go on. They’re never going to come together to create a common sensor that everyone can use.’”
According to Wacker, Schrader “couldn’t get the OEMs to help the aftermarket in that regard, so we said, ‘Can we take all the existing SKUs and squish them into one?’ One of the things we realized is that one of the key issues for the customer is the ability to have non-obsolete stock.
“Let’s say you bought 100-plus SKUs... you can’t guarantee what make or model of vehicle is going to come into your shop tomorrow. That’s the difficulty for the tire dealer.”
The EZ-Sensor can be programmed using a variety of already-existing tools, including the Wheelrite Tech400 from Bartec USA, SPX’s OTC Tire Pressure Monitor Kit and the Schrader 21230 Diagnostic Tool.
“We thought the best solution would be something that uses tools the dealer already has. We worked with the biggest TPMS toolmakers out there.”
Schrader also recognized that fitment could be a problem. “There are both clamp-on and snap-in devices out there, as well as banded devices,” explains Wacker.
“The best thing to have is a device that fits in multiple ways and will be programmable... and when we say programmable, we mean providing the dealer with a part they can use to 100% replicate what was on the vehicle before.”
That’s why Schrader decided to make EZ-Sensor available as both a clamp-on and snap-in device, he says. “The vehicle system will not know it’s not the sensor that came on it when it came off the assembly line.”
Wacker believes EZ-Sensor, which he likens to a “blank CD,” will be particularly useful for smaller tire dealerships that may not want to stock a multitude of sensors.
“It doesn’t care what data you put on it. You can take a Bartec tool and all the information you need to program the new sensor is already in the tool.
You can just... press the button and change it. It will over-ride the old data. The technology we use is of OE quality. That’s part of our platform of design.” ■