LAS VEGAS (Nov. 6, 2002)—A new industrywide program for training technicians in the proper servicing of passenger and light truck tires was announced by the Tire Industry Association (TIA) during the Specialty Equipment Market Association/International Tire Expo in Las Vegas.
TIA's Automotive Tire Service (ATS) training program will become a counterpart to the association's existing Commercial Tire Service (CTS) program, which has trained some 800-plus instructors and certified the service capabilities of more than 8,000 commercial tire technicians since its inception in 1996.
However, unlike the CTS program, TIA's new ATS training program won't include a technician certification component when it debuts late next March. Certification of passenger and light truck service technicians likely will be added later, according to Kevin Rohlwing, TIA senior vice president of education and technical services, who'll implement the new program.
Mr. Rohlwing told Tire Business the cost to participate in ATS has yet to be determined, but training will be open to TIA members and non-members alike. The ATS program will unfold in two stages, he said.
In its initial stage, the program will train technicians in basic servicing skills, such as jacking and lifting a vehicle, mounting, demounting, inflating, balancing, nail-hole repairing and wheel installation in the case of passenger and light truck tires.
The second stage, which is to come later, will include training in more advanced service concepts such as vehicle dynamics and diagnosis. Ultimately, the goal is to also offer technician certification similar to that of the current CTS program for commercial truck tires, Mr. Rohlwing said.
The curriculum for the new training program will be developed by Delphi Integrated Service Solutions (Delphi ISS), a unit of Troy, Mich.-based Delphi Products and Service Solutions, a producer of original equipment parts and systems.
With the help of Delphi ISS, the association hopes to develop the training program based on a single set of recommended service practices drawn from a consensus of both tire and auto makers. Heretofore, car makers haven't been actively involved in training aftermarket personnel in how to service tires according to their guidelines.
“Now, working with Delphi we're going to be able to address a lot of those issues,” Mr. Rohlwing said.
Delphi ISS will work under the supervision of Mr. Rohlwing as well as TIA Vice President of Technical Services John Buettner and Marvin Bozarth, who recently retired as executive director of the former International Tire & Rubber Association (ITRA). (On July 1, ITRA merged with the former Tire Association of North America to form TIA. Mr. Bozarth now serves as TIA's senior technical consultant.)
Mr. Rohlwing said plans call for the new ATS program to be made available in three versions, all having the same content. These include a:
c Leader-led version, which will contain lesson plans and other teaching materials for instructor use;
cSelf-study video course in either DVD or VHS format, portions of which will feature computerized animation; and an
c Interactive version using the Internet.
Technicians successfully completing ATS training will receive a certificate. Meanwhile, TIA's training and testing center in Louisville, Ky., also will be equipped and reconfigured to provide hands-on instruction in servicing passenger, sport-utility vehicle and light truck tires, Mr. Rohlwing said, adding: “We'll have everything in the building needed to teach every aspect of our training programs.”
Asked how many service people the association expects to train in the program's first year, Mr. Rohlwing grew thoughtful. “There are so many people needing this training and the tire industry is so large, is difficult to speculate. I'd like to think we could train as many as 5,000 in the first year, but that's probably overly ambitious,” he said.