Current Issue
Published on August 3, 1998

TIRE REPAIR FACTS NEED TO BE TOLD

It's time tire repairing got the respect it deserves—from both service providers and tire users alike. Dealers and retreaders owe it to themselves and consumers to elevate the status of tire repair and charge for it accordingly. Meanwhile, the industry should begin educating consumers regarding tire repairs.

Dealers frequently complain that customers won't pay a decent price for tire repairs—particularly the nail hole variety. Why is that surprising when repair outlets themselves place so little value on their service?

It's possible almost anywhere in North America to locate a repair outlet willing to fix a nail hole for $10 or less.

Meanwhile, retreaders who would fret over a few pennies' increase in the price of tread rubber actually give away nail hole repairs costing them nearly $4 apiece in labor and materials. Over the course of a year, this costly practice runs into tens of thousands of dollars.

Many purchasers—probably most of them when it comes to passenger tires—mistakenly believe any nail hole repair is as good as the next. Few know the difference between a proper repair and one not carried out according to industry standards.

For too long now, buyer ignorance has depressed repair prices and kept incompetent repair outfits in business. Consumers need to be told and shown the differences in repair methods.

Perhaps dealers themselves need to be convinced of the importance of tire repair. In more than a few shops, repairing nail hole punctures is left to the least experienced worker who often has had only minimal training in how to do it. That too must change.

Motorists' safety, property and the dealership's professional reputation are riding on that repair—not to mention the owner's investment in the tire. Unfortunately, this trust is not always justified.

A study of rubber debris on the highway by The Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Associations suggests faulty repairs are a major cause of tire failure.

As a result, the TMC is establishing a body of recommended tire repair practices that call for training and certification of repair workers. Widespread acceptance of those voluntary guidelines will greatly increase the expectations of trucking fleets where tire repairs are concerned.

Fleets will be asking dealers if their repair operations measure up to these standards. Dealers had better be able to answer yes.

Most fleet tire buyers have told the TMC they would change repair vendors to get their work done by trained and certified repair technicians.

Many auto owners could be persuaded to do likewise if given the facts about tire repair.

Training and certification in tire repair are readily available from suppliers and industry associations. But it's up to dealers and suppliers to convince customers that dependable tire repairs are worth paying for.

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