It's time the industry got serious enough about tire repairing to certify technicians and make motorists aware that their safety is at stake when purchasing such services. Certification long has been needed in this critical field, where the service technician's care and skill can spell the difference between life and death for those depending on the safety of their repaired tires.
Moreover, certification is becoming increasingly necessary with the current influx of new, storefront locations specializing in quick, cheap flat repairs-typically performed by untrained, inexperienced workers, sometimes literally at curbside.
Technician certification is hardly a new concept to the tire repair field, of course. It's been a topic of serious discussion among supplier companies and various industry groups for some time. But now it's time to take action.
Among certification's most vocal proponents has been Rema Tip Top/North America Inc., a Northvale, N.J.-based supplier of repair materials that makes its own training and certification program available to customers and others in the industry without charge.
Rema, earlier this year, offered to work with organizations such as the Tire Retread & Tire Repair Materials Manufacturers' Group, the American Retreaders' Association and the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association in formulating a program for training and certifying technicians industrywide.
No doubt other suppliers of repair materials-nearly all of whom offer similar programs of their own-also would participate in such an undertaking.
A good foundation for such certification would be the ``Industry Standard for Tire Repair'' developed last year through the cooperation of these same associations.
One possible obstacle might be the difficulty in training tens of thousands of tire repairers in the U.S. However, this should prove no more daunting than certifying similar numbers of mechanical service technicians-a task which seems well on its way to being accomplished.
Similarly, certifying the qualifications of those who repair tires also is an idea whose time has come.