Published on June 23, 2014

TB EDITORIAL: Tire repair deserves higher status

AKRON (June 23, 2014) — To most people, even those working at independent tire dealerships, tire repairing likely is not considered one of the most respected or important jobs in the service shop.

It should be.

Think about it. Is there anything more important to a vehicle owner who has experienced a tire puncture than to have that tire either repaired properly or discarded as scrap if the wound is too severe to fix?

The answer, of course, is no, and every tire dealership and tire repair technician should keep that front and center as they establish their tire repair protocol and go about repairing each and every repairable tire.

Tire repair is so important that it shouldn’t be assigned to newer employees or those with minimal training. It involves more than quickly inserting a plug to seal the puncture, maybe slapping a patch on the inside and sending the customer on his or her way in record time.

Fixing a tire requires a trained professional to make certain the repair procedure is done right — to industry standards — and that the tire is inspected thoroughly before sending it back on the road. This is especially important should the tire be involved in a tire-related accident.

Owners of tire dealerships need to be confident that every tire repair performed in their shops will hold true during high-speed maneuvers, during extreme heat and below zero cold and in every weather situation and road condition imaginable. That’s the bottom line.

The basics of tire repair, especially for nail hole punctures in the tread surface, really aren’t all that complicated. The tire should be removed from the vehicle, inspected inside for internal damage and the proper repair patch/plug combination applied.

But tire repair in actuality is much more involved than that. There are recommended procedures published by the Tread Rubber and Repair Manufacturers Association, Tire Retread and Repair Information Bureau, Rubber Manufacturers Association and the makers of tire repairs and patches.

These must be followed diligently and are different depending on the type, severity, location and size of the puncture or wound. It takes training to know what to do in each situation — training that’s offered, often over several days, at one of the many educational programs available through the manufacturers of tire repair materials, the Tire Industry Association and others.

While the tire industry has debated over the past few years whether tire repairing should be legislated, this in our mind is not the issue.

What is vital is that tire repairing be elevated to the place it deserves — among the most important services every dealership offers its customers.

If tire repairing is looked upon in this way, training won’t be viewed as an option, but rather a requirement that all respectable tire servicing professionals will demand to have.

And that great fear about liability will be lessened.

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This editorial appears in the June 23 print edition of Tire Business, which contains a special section on tire repair.

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