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Is my mechanic trying to take me to the cleaners?
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Paptillian Offline

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Post: #1
Is my mechanic trying to take me to the cleaners?
I think I'm generally up on car knowledge and pride myself on being able to do most maintenance tasks. I change my own oil, brakes, filters, spark plugs, rotate my tires. I even did my own front suspension struts when they failed. I generally understand how engines and transmissions work.

There are things that I can't do. State inspection is one of those. Tire mounting and balancing is another.

I took my car in for the yearly shakedown inspection and just got a call back from the shop. Seems all is good with the inspection except that my right front tire is leaking air. News to me. It's been fine for a while now and my pressure sensor hasn't gone off.

Supposedly, the tire pressure sensor is "rotted out" and it's causing a leak. Also, they are "unable" to get air into the tire. They said that I have to replace the sensor ($130) or it will go flat and I won't be able to get air into the tire.

Thinking-about

Now I've put air in my tires not that long ago and it went fine. I didn't notice anything odd and the tire had not been losing pressure.

I told the guy that I would keep an eye on it and would have to do that repair at a later date. He insisted that it would go flat and that I would not be able to inflate it. I again declined and then he offered to remove the affected pressure sensor and replace it with 'rubber' until I am able to replace the sensor. That'll leave me with a constantly lit tire-pressure light on the dash and a definite repair bill. Realizing that these people still have my car and not wanting to provoke any further 'unforseen repairs', I agreed to the latter option.

At this point I just want to get my car out of there, but what do you think? Does this sound like a sham?
07-30-2013 03:20 PM
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Paptillian Offline

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Post: #2
RE: Is my mechanic trying to take me to the cleaners?
The funny thing is, my car has a stuck variable intake runner in the manifold which I already know about. It doesn't cause any issue except for an intermittent ticking noise at idle, and possibly I'm not getting the best fuel economy or high-rpm output that I could be (still not bad). I've been holding off because it's an expensive part and it's not a pressing issue.

The shop did not pick up on it! Oh-jeez
07-30-2013 03:24 PM
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SuperSleeper Offline

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Post: #3
RE: Is my mechanic trying to take me to the cleaners?
Found this on a car talk forum:

Quote:When breaking the bead of the tire from the wheel it has to be done so that the tire bead doesn't strike the TPM sensor or it can damage the sensor. This is one of those things where no matter how careful you are sometimes the bead breaks and it strikes the sensor. Some shops will own up to this and offer to replace the sensors for their cost. And some shops will deny any fault and charge for both parts and labor to replace the sensors.

Could be that the sensor got damaged by the inspectors perhaps?

I did a Google search and the sensors can run anywhere from $35 to $55 or so (the part alone), depending upon the vehicle model. Many said just replace with a normal valve stem and you're good to go. Of course, you might still have that annoying light on the dash, which could perhaps be disconnected. While it is illegal for manufacturer, distributor, dealer or motor vehicle repair business to disable the TPMS, it's not illegal for the owner of the auto to do so. Not sure if a disconnected TMPS shows up when you hook up a code scanner to the vehicle or not.

Makes me glad our main vehicle is older with manual door locks, manual windows and no additional overly-engineered "features" that can go wrong. There's something to be said for simplicity. Government-mandated TPMS systems are a complete waste of money for both the regulatory agency that handles compliance and the end-user who is forced into expensive repairs that come in situations like this. More big government Nanny-state policies at work to make us safe from ourselves, while we pay the bill for their legislation.

I'd be interested in hearing opinions on this from others. Probably going to have to purchase a newer vehicle soon and I'd like to know how much it actually costs to have these things replaced in a shop.

Thinking-about

SuperSleeper
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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.

07-30-2013 08:07 PM
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Paptillian Offline

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Post: #4
RE: Is my mechanic trying to take me to the cleaners?
SS, what you posted has happened to me before. It was broken by a shop, however they were honest about it and covered the cost.

I think you're likely right. It was probably broken (again) but these folks aren't so up-front.

Angry
07-30-2013 09:30 PM
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Paptillian Offline

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Post: #5
RE: Is my mechanic trying to take me to the cleaners?
SuperSleeper, I got my car back for now. Since you were interested I'll tell you what I learned.

The mechanic that worked on it wasn't available, but I did get the broken sensor back. I then took it to the local auto parts shop to see what I could find out.

So here's the broken sensor (view from the underside):

[Image: IMG_20130731_173309.jpg]

I just marked the points of interest with arrows.

The guy at the parts store said he sells these all the time. From what he's seen, the failure is usually where the green arrow is. That's the rubber seal that mates with the rim. It made sense how over time the seal can wear out. However my sensor has a bigger problem: the stem is broken.

The broken stem (the red arrow) wasn't something he'd seen before. On the way home I stopped off at a different local garage to try and get a quote (more on that later). The shop owner there told me that the stems on these sensors are made of aluminum and in his experience they become brittle and are prone to breakage. He called it a "bad design." No kidding. Though I'm sure it's a great design as far as sales are concerned.

When I got home and took the sensor out of the bag it was in, I discovered that the rest of the stem wasn't missing. It's embedded inside the stem cap! Apparently at some point the tip of the stem seized inside the metal cap. Not sure why... the cap is stainless steel. Anyway, when the shop tried to remove the cap, I bet the stem snapped off. Lesson here: if you have TPM sensors, don't use metal stem caps. It just so happens that my other 3 stems all have plastic caps, thankfully.

What did I learn about pricing?

Shop #1 quoted me $130 which I think included mounting & balancing, but I need to double-check. I'm waiting to hear back about whether or not they will let me supply my own part.

Shop #2 quoted me $130 for the part and $150 installed. Their policy is that I cannot supply my own.

Shop #3 said that they would need to order it from the dealership and wasn't sure of the price. Their mount & balance fee was $15. This garage is willing to let me buy my own sensor.

I checked 2 dealerships (from their online parts catalogs) and the dealer prices were about $75 and $90 respectively.

The auto parts place has several of these that claim to fit my car ranging from $45 to about $110. The guy did a cross-reference of the part number from my actual sensor and found one unit that was a direct replacement for $65.

I can get one online for $35+shipping, and most of them seem to be between $40 and $70. However, I'm not sure what the differences are. It's probably worth going with the one from the auto parts store that came up as a match.

So that's what you can expect to look forward to if your next car has these things. Too-funny
07-31-2013 06:16 PM
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SuperSleeper Offline

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Post: #6
RE: Is my mechanic trying to take me to the cleaners?
Wow. A learning experience for sure. Thanks so much for posting this. It will definitely help me personally in the future!

Good-work

SuperSleeper
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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.

07-31-2013 10:12 PM
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Paptillian Offline

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Post: #7
RE: Is my mechanic trying to take me to the cleaners?
Seems like galvanic corrosion is an issue for TPMS valve stems. Who would've thought?

http://ask.metafilter.com/231509/Estimat...sorrelated
08-02-2013 04:07 PM
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SuperSleeper Offline

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Post: #8
RE: Is my mechanic trying to take me to the cleaners?
(08-02-2013 04:07 PM)Paptillian Wrote:  Seems like galvanic corrosion is an issue for TPMS valve stems. Who would've thought?

http://ask.metafilter.com/231509/Estimat...sorrelated

Yeah, I read that also.. one guy says:

Quote:One thing I learned the hard way with TPMS sensors--do not ever use a non-plastic tire cap on them. Galvanic corrosion is not your friend! They will corrode and fall apart.

Good to know. Happy Eyes

SuperSleeper
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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.

08-02-2013 04:27 PM
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Don in Austin Offline

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Post: #9
RE: Is my mechanic trying to take me to the cleaners?
(07-31-2013 06:16 PM)Paptillian Wrote:  SuperSleeper, I got my car back for now. Since you were interested I'll tell you what I learned.

The mechanic that worked on it wasn't available, but I did get the broken sensor back. I then took it to the local auto parts shop to see what I could find out.

So here's the broken sensor (view from the underside):

[Image: IMG_20130731_173309.jpg]

I just marked the points of interest with arrows.

The guy at the parts store said he sells these all the time. From what he's seen, the failure is usually where the green arrow is. That's the rubber seal that mates with the rim. It made sense how over time the seal can wear out. However my sensor has a bigger problem: the stem is broken.

The broken stem (the red arrow) wasn't something he'd seen before. On the way home I stopped off at a different local garage to try and get a quote (more on that later). The shop owner there told me that the stems on these sensors are made of aluminum and in his experience they become brittle and are prone to breakage. He called it a "bad design." No kidding. Though I'm sure it's a great design as far as sales are concerned.

When I got home and took the sensor out of the bag it was in, I discovered that the rest of the stem wasn't missing. It's embedded inside the stem cap! Apparently at some point the tip of the stem seized inside the metal cap. Not sure why... the cap is stainless steel. Anyway, when the shop tried to remove the cap, I bet the stem snapped off. Lesson here: if you have TPM sensors, don't use metal stem caps. It just so happens that my other 3 stems all have plastic caps, thankfully.

What did I learn about pricing?

Shop #1 quoted me $130 which I think included mounting & balancing, but I need to double-check. I'm waiting to hear back about whether or not they will let me supply my own part.

Shop #2 quoted me $130 for the part and $150 installed. Their policy is that I cannot supply my own.

Shop #3 said that they would need to order it from the dealership and wasn't sure of the price. Their mount & balance fee was $15. This garage is willing to let me buy my own sensor.

I checked 2 dealerships (from their online parts catalogs) and the dealer prices were about $75 and $90 respectively.

The auto parts place has several of these that claim to fit my car ranging from $45 to about $110. The guy did a cross-reference of the part number from my actual sensor and found one unit that was a direct replacement for $65.

I can get one online for $35+shipping, and most of them seem to be between $40 and $70. However, I'm not sure what the differences are. It's probably worth going with the one from the auto parts store that came up as a match.

So that's what you can expect to look forward to if your next car has these things. Too-funny

Do you live somewhere where they salt the road in the winter? That makes a big difference.

Be aware that after a sensor is replacemed some simple programming is required or it will not register with the system and you will have a flashing TPMS light.

Don in Austin -- Auto repair shop owner
08-04-2013 06:23 AM
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SuperSleeper Offline

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Posts: 9,974
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Machine: PR System One REMstar Auto (DS560)
Mask Type: Nasal pillows
Mask Make & Model: ResMed Mirage Swift II
Humidifier: none
CPAP Pressure: 12.5 - 18.5 cmH20 (auto range)
CPAP Software: SleepyHead

Other Comments: Have diabetes Type II

Sex: Male
Location: Illinois, USA

Post: #10
RE: Is my mechanic trying to take me to the cleaners?
(08-04-2013 06:23 AM)Don in Austin Wrote:  Be aware that after a sensor is replacemed some simple programming is required or it will not register with the system and you will have a flashing TPMS light.
Don in Austin -- Auto repair shop owner

Don, can that re-set be done via a standard OBD II code reader that can clear the codes?

Or is it more complicated that that?

Thanks. Coffee

SuperSleeper
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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.

08-04-2013 12:00 PM
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