Acting NHTSA Administrator Christopher Hart can't be serious in blaming consumers for an extremely low response rate (15.5 percent) to the safety recall of 2,127 tires made by Kelly-Springfield. (TIRE BUSINESS, Aug. 6, 1994). Stating that the manufacturer ``notified all purchasers as required by law,'' Mr. Hart overlooked the fact that unless tires are registered, consumers can't be directly notified of a recall.
Congress and NHTSA regulations require that the selling dealership provide retail customers with a pre-addressed mailable form containing the serial number(s) of the tires plus that retailer's name and address. The customer then adds his or her name and address, applies postage and mails the form to the registration center, where this data is retained in the event the tires need to be recalled.
The problem is that many retailers don't provide purchasers with the required form to enable their tires to be registered.
NHTSA could use its limited funds more effectively and help correct this non-compliance problem by informing consumers that the retailer must provide them with the required registration form with serial number(s) recorded. If they don't receive the form, buyers should ask how their tires will be registered. Consumer knowledge would go a long way to encourage non-complying retailers to comply.
Paul J. Kruder
Used tires not poor value
I take issue with the statements of Peter Taylor, secretary of the London-based United Kingdom Tyre Industry Council, as reported in your June 27, 1994, issue, that used tires are ``bad news for everyone'' and a poor value.
He also was quoted as stating that ``retreads are legitimate-but not used tires.'' Yet the very core of a retread is a used tire.
All we do, as used tiremen, is to sell the high-tread used tires in one market, the bald casings to the retread market and the scrap tires to a TDF (tire-derived fuel) plant to create electricity.
Used tire dealers pay for the usable used tires. They remove the unfit tires, sell the usable tires, supply fuel to the energy company, keep the environment clean, create jobs, put money back into the economy and keep people's cars rolling at sensible prices.
There is worldwide over-production of new tires because of economic recession-not because we sell used tires. When the new tire dealer cannot sell his tires at premium prices, he cries foul and blames the used tire. Yet the private label tire market is booming because those tires are sold at a 30-40 percent lower price than major brands. So are usable tires, because, after all, used tires are a byproduct of all major brands.
National Association of Used Tire Exporters
Pompano Beach, Fla.
Unsafe plug repairs
I provide a copy of the enclosed press release to all my tire customers and would like other dealers to do the same. In this way, maybe we will rid our business of ``good old boys'' who still believe outside tire repairing is OK. Life is precious and too easily taken by improperly repairing a tire.
The press release, issued by the Rubber Manufacturers Association, states that the RMA ``does not condone the use of any form of temporary or emergency repair applied to the inside of the tire while still on the wheel.''
The RMA release further states: ``It is essential that a trained tire dealer or repair person remove any tire from the wheel when it has been damaged or is losing air'' in order to permit ``a thorough inspection for any internal damage.... Never perform an outside-in tire repair (on the wheel)....''
Meanwhile, I am sending along this picture of a tire brought in by a customer with a spark plug sticking through it .
An employee told me a lady had a plug in her tire and it was leaking. I went to look. Sure enough, it had been plugged-but not by a good old boy.
Harold D. McKinney
McKinney Tire Warehouse Inc.
Editor's note: The news release can be obtained from Gloria Bartholomew at the Rubber Manufacturers Association, 1400 K St. N.W., Suite 900, Washington, D.C. 20005; (202) 682-4829.