There have been concerns expressed by Canadian automotive service providers that customers are balking at installing and/or replacing TPMS sensors, particularly during seasonal tire changes.
Though the systems are routinely installed by manufacturers on vehicles sold in Canada, TPMS is not mandated in Canada, and regulations covering their installation and replacement would fall under provincial jurisdiction which covers service and safety inspections.
For their part, provincial regulations seem to be silent on the topic. A search of Ontario Ministry of Transportation safety inspection regulations, for example, found no mention of TPMS.
So Indie Garage went looking for the best guidance for shops to protect themselves and their customers – we connected with Federated Insurance, which provides services aligned with tire shops, to see what guidance they could provide in the absence of government mandates.
This is what they said:
Tire dealers have a legal obligation to their customers to ensure the safety devices on their vehicles are in working order before the vehicles leave the shop. Although repair of a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is not mandatory in Canada, it’s an important part of the overall vehicle safety system on vehicles where a TPMS is installed.
It’s also the responsibility of tire dealers to ensure that the correct tire is installed on the vehicle, that the wheel and tire do not come off while driving, and that all safety systems are working properly. Whether a product is faulty or the work is done incorrectly, damages can go beyond just physical damage to a vehicle; serious motor vehicle accidents can lead to bodily injury and even death.
Tire dealers have a higher level of tire expertise than the average consumer. Customers depend on their tire dealer for advice, so the dealer’s expertise must extend to the selection of tires, and to situations where the tires are unsafe or where there’s an unsafe mechanical condition.Tire dealers are obligated to warn the customer if an unsafe condition exists and to recommend the repair or replacement of tires or parts.
The best practice is to ensure that the TPMS system is fully functional when it leaves the shop and to refuse to do the work if a customer wishes to ignore or bypass the safety system. If you’re a tire dealer and you decide to do the work and/or release the vehicle, you could help limit your liability exposure by having the customer sign a waiver.
If the customer refuses to have the work completed, it’s imperative that the dealer document the unsafe condition on the invoice or work order and have the customer acknowledge by signature that they’re aware of the unsafe condition and refused to have the work completed. Courts have found repair garages responsible for accidents occurring from unsafe tires where the customer was not warned or where the dealer could not provide documentation to support the warning.
“Courts will hold the tire dealer or garage to a higher standard. Whether something is mandatory or not, if it is part of the safety system, it must be repaired or replaced properly,” explains Richard Frost, senior risk services consultant at Federated Insurance.
If you’re looking for more tire risk management expertise, be sure to download Federated Insurance’s whitepaper on the risks tire businesses face and ways to mitigate those risks.
Federated Insurance is a Canadian owned and operated insurance company with over 95 years of experience. With recommendations from over 60 trade associations and buying groups, they’re in the perfect position to provide specialized knowledge for specific industries.