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Fobo tire pressure sensors - beware of car washes!

Discussion in 'Model S' started by dbullard, Apr 16, 2015.

  1. dbullard

    dbullard Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2012
    Messages:
    160
    I have the Fobo tire pressure sensors - they're great. But, there's one thing you have to watch out for... car washes.

    One of the brushless car washes I use has rails to keep the tires within boundaries - I got just a little to close to the left one, and it clipped my tire pressure sensor - and the valve stem it was mounted on. The sensors stick out a little further than the rim, so it's going to get hit first.

    Of course, the valve stem broke instead of the pressure sensor. This resulted in the car telling me to pull over immediately as my tire pressure was very low. My Fobo told me which tire it was, and I watched the pressure go to zero in just a few seconds.

    Once I got out of the car wash, I called Roadside assistance. They got a tow driver dispatched, checked in the area for a tire shop that knew how to work with Tesla's, and checked to see that the truck came when it was supposed to.

    My cost? ~$19 for a new valve stem.

    This isn't a fault of Fobo (I love these things - when is Tesla going to provide this info??), Tesla, or the car wash - it's just hard to see where those wheels are sometimes.

    Moral of the story - remove these when going into car washes with guide rails! Sidewalks don't seem to have this problem.

    IMG_1265 cropped.jpg
     
  2. gzerninplatz

    gzerninplatz Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2014
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    Location:
    Troutdale, OR
    I've hit high curbs and scratched the Fobo sensors...but never had a problem in a carwash (with rails)...I wonder if there was something odd about those particular carwash rails, like they were higher than normal??
     
  3. Firewired

    Firewired Member

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    Location:
    San Antonio, Texas
    I got too close to a curb at a bank drive thru and had the exact same thing happen.
     
  4. HankLloydRight

    HankLloydRight Fluxing

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    Thread bump. Well, I never saw this thread before. Same thing happened to me, so let this be another warning to everyone!

    Except in my case, the left track nailed BOTH valve stems (see photo below). Instant flat tires and associated warnings.

    I figured I would need to call a tow truck, but even though the valve part was detached from the stem, I noticed that there still was a couple turns of the valve stem thread. So I got out the tesla tire pump, and pumped each tire up to about 30psi, and screwed the FOBOs back on. Sure, they leaked a little bit, but they held enough air long enough to get to the nearest tire shop (about a mile away). Total cost to replace both stems and rebalance two tires: $36. A cheap repair for sure, but it could have been a disaster if I didn't have two spare hours that day to wait for the tire shop to get to my car.

    Also, the car wash paid for the repair and gave me the car wash for free!

    p.s. I had taken my car to this location before without any problems.

    upload_2016-6-28_11-37-39.png
     
  5. gzerninplatz

    gzerninplatz Member

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    Messages:
    201
    Location:
    Troutdale, OR
    HankLloydRight - did you have to replace your tire sensors? They are pricey little items...they look bent...
    I had to take the FOBOs off of my wife's Prius after the second time she bashed a curb hard enough to bend the sensor...$150 each!
    I finally took them off my Model S after the firmware update that gave me tire pressure, just to be safe (I use commercial car washes)...now I just check it frequently, and when starting out on any trip...I did keep the FOBOs on my spare tire (in the frunk) and on my wife's spare (it is a real pain to get at in the Prius)...spare pressure can go down quickly with weather change (high pressure, small tire) and definitely goes down over time, no point in having a spare that isn't up to pressure, and I don't feel like filling it at night on a highway when I get a flat...
     
  6. HankLloydRight

    HankLloydRight Fluxing

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    5,770
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    What you see in the photos are just the valve stems that come off the TPMS sensors (and are replaced by new ones). The replacement valves were $7 each. The sensors were fine. The sensors themselves are actually much larger components.
     

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