This is in reference to the term ``voluntary tire registration'' in your June 24 article headlined, ``Friedlander to bid farewell at show.'' The original use of the term voluntary tire registration was unfortunate as it has caused-and continues to cause-much confusion and misinformation concerning registration.
Many retailers have (mis)interpreted the word voluntary as pertaining to their responsibility to provide the registration card. Or worse yet, some have advised customers who ask for the card that tire registration no longer is required.
Tire-buying customers are the only voluntary part of tire registration. (They can elect to have their tires registered by filling out and sending in the prescribed form.)
The problem is that most tire purchasers are not provided the required card and thus cannot complete and mail it to the registration center.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulations require independent tire dealers to provide purchasers with a pre-addressed registration card on which the serial number(s) of the tires sold and the selling outlets' name and address have been recorded. The customer then elects (whether) to add his or her name and address and mail the card to the registration center for notification purposes in the event of a recall.
Note: An independent tire dealer is defined in this regulation as one who sells tire brands he or she doesn't own or control. Thus, by definition, major merchandisers, warehouse clubs and large chains are considered independent tire dealers and also must provide the required registration card if they sell a non-owned brand.
To illustrate NHTSA's current activity concerning tire registration, please see the following excerpts from a letter written by Marilynne Jacobs, director of NHTSA's Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, in response to a tire purchaser's inquiry as to whether or not tire registration is still required.
``Thank you for your letter regarding the failure of a tire dealer to furnish a registration card at the time of a recent tire purchase. I would like to assure you that tire registration is a valid requirement and your experience reflected a misstatement on the part of that particular dealer.''
(Note: The customer had purchased two identical Goodyear tires nine months apart. During the first purchase, he was provided the required card. At the second purchase, he was told by the salesperson of a national tire chain that registration no longer was required. The purchaser then asked NHTSA if registration still is required and, if so, why the place of purchase should determine whether or not the registration card is provided.)
Later, in Director Jacobs' letter she stated: ``We are aware that registration is an important requirement in the event of a tire recall. In the past, we have made surveys and inquiries to ascertain the degree of compliance with the registration requirements.
``The most recent survey (met) with somewhat mixed results. Some companies acutely were aware of that requirement and religiously complied while others were less vigilant.
``But we feel such surveys heighten the awareness of the companies and lead to better compliance. In the future, as budget and staff resources permit, we will consider conducting additional surveys and inquiries about tire registration compliance.''
For those close to the situation, we just can't understand why dealers would ignore the regulation and not provide customers with the protection of having their tires registered so they can be notified in the event of a recall.
Paul J. Kruder
Suicidal mileage increases
I suggest tire manufacturers should dismiss with extreme prejudice any marketing person who dares to offer another ``improved mileage'' marketing concept.
If Gillette produced a razor blade that lasted one year instead of two weeks it would retail for $12 instead of 75 cents.
Our industry's marketing people have doubled tire mileage with the (additional) cost to consumers of (only) 15-20 percent.
Let's cease these suicidal mileage increases and concentrate on wet road grip, general handling and performance before all of us are out of business!
International Tire & Wheel Corp.
'Empty promises' to buyers
Long-time and life-time warranties will become valid only when similar equipment and cars become available and tire owners learn how to drive and maintain them.
We (in the business) all know who and what are the worst enemies of tire mileage.
Those warranties are empty promises to fool the public.
ETC Emka Tire Co.