A closer look at our T-Pro Hybrid 3.5 In the sensor market, there are now many suppliers offering good alternatives to OEMs, which is associated with many advantages for drivers, but also for workshop operators and parts dealers. The established sensor manufacturers like Schrader or Huf, who offered the aftermarket a solution early on, were the first to do so. The idea here was to offer the stationary tire trade a solution that would enable them to serve the customer at any time without having to keep hundreds of different sensor types in stock in sufficient numbers. The trade could, if at all, place the sensors for the most common vehicles in the warehouse, even though the risk of not selling them fast enough is also present here. The sensor battery lasts very long in idle mode, but at some point even this battery is no longer full and so we have a race against time here, which then also leads to the fact that the warehouses are kept as small as possible and the requirements have to be purchased promptly. For a spontaneously needed replacement solution, however, this is a very bad option if the customer's vehicle is already on the lifting platform.
At this point I would also like to bring in our own experience that we have gained in recent years, so that you can better understand how we as dealers and workshops have gone down this path, because we always had two things in mind, our local customers and those who supply themselves with sensors through our dealerships, i.e. workshops, dealers and also the end customer who is looking for replacement or equips his second wheel set with sensors.
By 2014 at the latest, we were faced with the task of being able to stock the now increasing number of required sensors with the smallest possible storage capacity. There were various considerations here. Many customers were desperate to have the same sensors in their wheels as they had in the factory. Here we have Schrader, Huf and VDO, the manufacturers that are used in most European vehicles, plus a network of suppliers that enables us to obtain each of these OE sensors in the shortest possible time to meet this demand. Other customers want a functioning system, the sensor must work, whereby they do not care whether this is the original sensor or a cheap alternative, especially with expensive vehicles the manufacturers of the sensors have also set the prices accordingly, so that it can happen that a sensor set is 400 EUR, here the customers are often interested in alternatives, of course only if it is certain that these work just as well as the originals. Of course, the manufacturers themselves did not offer the possibility to replace their expensive products with the universal sensors from their product range.
Alligator had recognized this and came then with its Sens.It on the market, here a remarkable coverage was possible, additionally the PT1 programming tool was released, which made a favorable entrance into this range possible. The only shortcoming at that time was that a programming tool was needed for the workshop, e.g. to clone sensors or just to check them. Meanwhile we have very cheap possibilities like our H47 workshop tool, with which one is very broadly positioned in combination with the PT1. If one decides now however directly beside the H47 for the Tyresure T-Pro Hybrid 3.5, one has everything at hand, which one needs in the daily business, the entrance is payable even in the smallest operation, in addition, later still more. With Alligator we had now 2 sensor types (RS3 for metal valves and RS4 for rubber valves), in addition the 4 usual metal versions in silver, chrome, black and grey, with which we had nearly all options, which we encountered in the daily handling with customer vehicles, beyond that also the service with these sensors was manageable and not too expensive, so that the acceptance of the customers is throughout positive.
Now we could have sat back and been sure that we had the optimal solution, but those who know us know that this is not our philosophy. So we kept looking for an integrated solution, and here our partnership with the European importer of Ateq programming tools was a very good option, as they were able to provide a truly comprehensive solution for our considerations by working with the sensor manufacturer Hamaton, initially with the T-Pro Hybrid 1. 5, which was designed in such a way that it was possible to combine all valve versions with this one sensor, so only one sensor type was needed to cover all applications, even changing to a different valve type at a later date was not a problem here, only the respective valve had to be replaced, which also keeps the costs low later on. In addition, the sensor is programmed in a few seconds, which minimizes the effort in the workshop. So now we were able to realize almost all applications with an even smaller stock. But since Tyresure and Hamaton did not leave their innovations here, the current 3.5 hybrid with all the advantages of the 1.5 followed quickly and in addition a pre-programming for the current vehicles of Mercedes and BMW, so that it is sufficient to install the sensor and drive off, with all other vehicle applications it is also programmable in a few seconds, so that one is always in a position to have the required sensors available and does not have to put off or send away a customer.
The advantages of the T-Pro (which, by the way, is identical in construction to the EU-Pro from Hamaton) are quickly enumerated:
- Total weight incl. metal valve only 26g, i.e. significantly lighter than most competitors, this is noticeable during balancing, because there are differences of up to 30g to other sensors, which have to be compensated
- All combinations of sensor and valve versions possible
- High quality electronics with NXP chipset in a high quality lightweight package
- Maxell batteries for at least 7 years of life
- Auto-location functionality for vehicles that detect their own sensors (LOS, WAL, PAL and SAL)
- Includes a protective ring (i.e. a washer) that allows users to tighten the valve nut without scratching the surface of the alloy wheel
- Compatible with diagnostic tools from leading manufacturers, including ATEQ
- 99% coverage of new European direct TPMS-enabled vehicles and the ability to create a future-proof inventory with programmable protocols
- Pre-programmed with a time-saving multi-app code, they are ready to cover a wide range of BMW and Mercedes-Benz models without programming
- Time-saving programming in 1-3 seconds, for all other applications that are not already pre-programmed
- An attractive price that reduces storage costs or does not make the purchase of a winter wheel set too expensive
- If you choose the T-Pro, you don't have to buy any more universal sensors
- The close cooperation between Ateq and Hamaton/Tyresure enables quick reactions to new vehicle types, so the T-Pro is usually always ahead of the game, especially when working with tools from Ateq
Many of our customers who run an independent workshop or tyre service have chosen this solution and are now very satisfied with this decision. Our advantage as a supplier is of course that we know these matters from our own experience and therefore also know what is needed locally to be competitive. In connection with an up-to-date programming tool, we always have an up-to-date sensor program in stock. By including the Hamaton H47 in our range of products we have created the optimal conditions for this, the device comes with a 5-year update license and also has an integrated OBD-II connection with which you can also carry out these training processes without having to purchase expensive additional hardware. Of course the T-Pro is also a very good choice for owners of the other current Ateq devices, because the above also applies here.
Beside the T-Pro we have only a few sets of the Max-Total in stock, in order to be able to serve the few US imports, which are on the way with (the in Europe forbidden) 315 MHz. But these play only a minor role in the normal everyday life of a workshop, we deliver them ready made and programmed if required, so our customers can also rely on us in this exceptional case.
And with a lot of light there is certainly also a lot of shadow... Are there any disadvantages with the T-Pro?
- We had an Audi A8 from 2003) that didn't want to work with it, only a CUB sensor helped here. However, we have passed the case on to Tyresure, they are currently checking where the error is, maybe the protocol of Huf was not implemented correctly, I am sure the solution to the problem is in the works. Other cases also with exotic vehicles (e.g. a recently operated Ferrari 458) are not known to us. However, we are aware of such problems with other sensor manufacturers as well, for example, we had problems with Max sensors in connection with newer BMW models until spring, this has now been solved, and this will certainly be the case with the T-Pro with the Audi in the near future.
- The price seems suspiciously low to many customers. Therefore many people have reservations about choosing these sensors because they fear disadvantages. We deliberately calculated the sensor to be cheap, so we're going to go the way of calling a real price for it, which includes the product cost and a small profit. Other manufacturers' calculations are usually based on the maximum achievable price, which is not necessarily determined with the manufacturing costs as a basis. Here, a calculation basis is often created using the spare parts prices of the manufacturers, which is ruled out from the outset in the case of universal sensors, since the use is only determined with the programming.
- Who buys cheap, buys twice... I can also sign this sentence directly like this. However, not because the first purchase was a mistake, but because it turned out to be a good choice and after initial scepticism, customers keep coming back for more T-Pros. We already have customers where OE would have been cheaper, but they still chose the T-Pro, even though we had them on it. The greater flexibility is often the deciding factor here, to invest a few euros more when buying, we had many customer conversations here, which all tended in this direction.
Why can't I get these parts at the normal wholesale?
- The concepts of these dealers are different from those of the tyre trade, therefore the manufacturers will be involved, who will pass on their support to the customer, the classic wholesale trade has a different target group here. The tyre trade obtains its material through other channels, as there are now specialised companies that give the topic the appropriate weighting. In addition to the established OE (Schrader, Huf, VDO), Alligator and Alcar may also be in the product range here. Other manufacturers would require a more extensive commitment to support issues and after-sales services, which is not yet the case. We have also thought of approaching the wholesale trade about the T-Pro, but this topic is still being neglected, even though the clock of the first mass-produced systems is running out and then we will face a higher demand. This is where the fact that the vehicles are often no longer serviced in authorised workshops comes into play and customers will demand low-cost solutions. This is, however, widely ignored by the wholesalers, and their workshop customers are also often still not equipped with the right diagnostic tools, partly because the local sales staff here have no idea about the subject and many small businesses prefer to go to the OE to switch off the light in the dashboard. I don't know how often resourceful contemporaries acknowledge the fault in the workshop courtyard and then take recourse against the workshop for a sensor because they did not bother to check the sensors before.
- Will this situation change? We think so, because at some point even the last dealer will start thinking about how to keep his costs down. Even the garages will eventually become more competent and demand these smart solutions from the wholesalers. That is when the matter will be reconsidered. Of course, the manufacturers are also reacting, Schrader has now launched his EZ-Go, which has also pre-programmed common German vehicles, but you have to decide on the valve variant and the sensor is much heavier than the T-Pro.