Automotive

Walmart (YMMV?) will no longer plug tires on vehicles with TPMS

  • Last Updated:
  • Sep 20th, 2013 11:50 am
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Deal Fanatic
Aug 14, 2008
6858 posts
216 upvotes
Ontario

Walmart (YMMV?) will no longer plug tires on vehicles with TPMS

A few months ago I drove over a screw and didn't realize until the TPMS light was on. So I fill the tire with air to equalize the pressure and the light went away, went to Walmart, plugged it for $20.

In the last week, I must of drove over a nail, so today I take it to WM again and leave it because they are fully booked and they say they will squeeze it in between appts. We use our other car during the day instead. I get a call a few hours later that they won't do it because my vehicle has TPMS (I didn't top the air off to reset it this time so the warning light was on when I drove it in).
I explain no special tool is required to reset it and the other tire was plugged last time without any mention of this. Reluctantly they go ahead.

When I pick it up, the CSR says he spoke with Walmart management (?head office) and says they will no longer plug any vehicle with TPMS, even though he said our vehicle auto-resets itself once there is equal pressure in all 4 tires.

I don't get the liability issue here or is there something I am missing? Fix and fill the tire, TPMS auto-resets, what's the problem?
9 replies
Deal Addict
Oct 22, 2002
1441 posts
104 upvotes
Perhaps they are avoiding the liability for broken TPMS sensors. I've heard of a few tire places posting signs to the effect of "Not responsible for broken TPMS sensors". The tire jockeys aren't exactly gentle with the wheels, I guess.
Deal Guru
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Jun 12, 2003
13933 posts
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Markham
they need to purchase a different and more expensive machine to work with TPMS
ShadowVlican
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Nov 13, 2006
1085 posts
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i've had mine plugged and i have TPMS on my Jeep.
I don't think you need any kind of system, all they do it plug some rubber in the tire, they don't even take the rubber off the rim.
Deal Expert
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May 10, 2005
24879 posts
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Ottawa
ShadowVlican wrote:
Nov 19th, 2008 12:05 am
they need to purchase a different and more expensive machine to work with TPMS
No expensive tools are needed for the tire installation and removal, just a little care and attention.
There is the potential for the highly trained technician to damage the in wheel TPMS and that could cost them a lot of money so that may be the sole reason.
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2004
19880 posts
1518 upvotes
To plug a tyre does the tyre does not even need to come off the wheel, so I don't see what the big deal is.

Also there's lots of cars that have ABS-based "TPMS" instead of "true" pressure-sensing TPMS so it would be interesting how they justify refusing to plug a tyre on a vehicle like that where there is nothing different about the wheel/tyre at all compared to a non-TPMS vehicle.

Anyway it's them that's losing business...
Deal Addict
Mar 6, 2005
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ES_Revenge wrote:
Nov 19th, 2008 9:41 am
To plug a tyre does the tyre does not even need to come off the wheel, so I don't see what the big deal is.

Also there's lots of cars that have ABS-based "TPMS" instead of "true" pressure-sensing TPMS so it would be interesting how they justify refusing to plug a tyre on a vehicle like that where there is nothing different about the wheel/tyre at all compared to a non-TPMS vehicle.

Anyway it's them that's losing business...
I guess maybe since TPMS is much more common now they put in a clause. The reason being is most new models do have the in-wheel sensors now which range from $50-80/wheel.
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2004
19880 posts
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tkyoshi wrote:
Nov 19th, 2008 8:01 pm
I guess maybe since TPMS is much more common now they put in a clause. The reason being is most new models do have the in-wheel sensors now which range from $50-80/wheel.
Yes but even pressure-based TPMS is mounted in the valve stem. Well gen I and II TPMS systems had the band sensors instead, but any modern vehicle with true TPMS has the sensors in the valve stem. How those could get damaged plugging a tyre (they can't) is beyond me. Heck even the old-skool band-sensor TPMS couldn't really get damaged by plugging.

Again, don't know what's up with Wal-Mart. I'm guessing they had one unrelated-to-plugging TPMS damage payout to pay someone and then they just said no more TPMS, period. When the bean counters (who I'm certain know nothing about plugging tyres but only about $$$) finally figure out just how many cars have TPMS and how much business they are turning away, I'll bet they will change their tune.
Deal Addict
Mar 6, 2005
4800 posts
414 upvotes
ES_Revenge wrote:
Nov 19th, 2008 8:19 pm
Yes but even pressure-based TPMS is mounted in the valve stem. Well gen I and II TPMS systems had the band sensors instead, but any modern vehicle with true TPMS has the sensors in the valve stem. How those could get damaged plugging a tyre (they can't) is beyond me. Heck even the old-skool band-sensor TPMS couldn't really get damaged by plugging.

Again, don't know what's up with Wal-Mart. I'm guessing they had one unrelated-to-plugging TPMS damage payout to pay someone and then they just said no more TPMS, period. When the bean counters (who I'm certain know nothing about plugging tyres but only about $$$) finally figure out just how many cars have TPMS and how much business they are turning away, I'll bet they will change their tune.
True, most damage happens when the tire is mounted/unmounted from the rim.
Newbie
Sep 19, 2013
2 posts
Them refusing to deal with tpms sensors is outrageous because as of 2008 its mandatory for new vehicles. I have worked on every type of sensor and trust me if its broken from the sensor part someone who worked on it broke it the only way to break something like that is at the tip and thats usually due to improperly filling a tire. They can leak around the nut but there's always a service pack which has replacement parts.
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