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Published on October 9, 2006

Mail Call, Oct. 9

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Opinion

Consider all options


It is clear that Continental Tire North America Inc. views the tire segment as its least-profitable source.


With that said, maybe it's time they look at takeover options. Current management seems to have a serious problem with product marketing. Their answer is low-cost plants.


Mark Cieslikowski


President


United Steelworkers Local 850


Charlotte, N.C.


Speed ratings? Come on


With reference to your Sept. 25 issue and the article “Sticky situation” concerning tires with speed ratings—what appears to be the problem?


Who goes 150 mph? Certainly not the redneck downing a couple of bottles of Budweiser on his beer run or the granny going to church on her once-a-week religious excursion.


Of the 50 states in the U.S., only 15 have a maximum road speed of 75 mph for cars. Unless the tire is meant for racing or on the autobahns of Germany—which, contrary to belief, do have sections with speed limits of 50-75 mph and wet and adverse weather speed limits, thus only about half has no speed limit—I fail to see any worry about litigations occurring from traveling at speeds that are 'Y' rated (186 mph).


In all my years of driving—and a mad urge to push a Ford Mondeo (in the United Kingdom) to its limit of 140 mph—speeds in excess of this would scare me (unless I was racing). It appears the slightest bit of snow, rain or fog in the U.S. warrants drivers to go at a snail's pace with their hazard lights flashing! (What's that about?)


So the thought of one of these unskilled drivers doing 186 mph down the interstate tossing beer bottles and such out of the window is a real horror movie. All that just to prove their tires can live up to their 'Y' or 'ZR' ratings?


If an accident did happen at those speeds, I feel the driver would be in no state to file a complaint. It's hard to sue someone when your entrails are wrapped around a tree.


Dean Smith


President


Doc Retread Inc.


Goodlettsville, Tenn.


Enough sizes already


What is with the tire industry?


Why are there all these tire sizes for no apparent reason, especially with the price of oil skyrocketing and the environmental hazard caused by scrap tires? Why isn't the industry getting regulated? Twenty different tire sizes is plenty enough. We don't need all the sizes out there.


All it's doing is creating more of a tire problem—from storage to recycling. Do the new tire manufacturers want only new tires sold and nobody to be able to recycle anymore?


I've been in the passenger/light truck tire casing business for more than 25 years and there are only a couple of retreaders/remolders left. Now that the used tire market has picked up over the years, used tire guys are having a harder time getting the sizes they need for their customers due to all these crazy sizes the tire manufacturers are making.


Why? Because they want a new tire market only, of course, and a lot of these new tires are being made cheap—I mean really cheap.


When are they going to put a stop to this? Tire stores are selling more and more tires and we U.S. recyclers are salvaging less and less tires due to sizes.


Tires made cheaply just means more rubber is getting burned off onto the pavement and into the environment.


Yes, as a recycler that inspects thousands of casings and used tires every week, I see the same pattern with some brand casings and used tires all the time—the same reasons why they aren't good enough for resale. I see certain tire brands with separations in the shoulder areas; others have insides loaded with bubbles or razor cuts; some low-profile tires, sizes 16-, 17-, 18- and 19-inch, have breaks inside the bead and sidewall areas.


It's the same pattern with the same brands of tires. I'm sure tire dealers know what I'm talking about.


Remember, the more the U.S. recycles tires, the less oil gets used. And there are a lot of less fortunate people who can't afford new tires and new vehicles. They need us used tire dealers to supply them with good, serviceable tires.


I think it's time the tire industry looks at this issue because it's out of control.


There are enough tires and cars in the world today to keep everyone selling tires. But don't create sizes that aren't good to be re-used as used tires and end up ground up before their time.


Steve Bucholtz


Owner


Steve's Used Tires


Kingston, Pa.


Tread depth review needed


Your recent front-page article (Sept. 25 issue) on tread depth—describing the ancient “history” of the 2/32 tread depth requirement—shows the need for review and clarification of the subject in light of this peer-reviewed information and the fact that our world now depends on radial tires, not bias tires.


This review can take years with no guaranteed outcome. However, dealers can take immediate action on their own and use this information to try to encourage motorists to properly replace worn passenger and light truck tires.


Dealers should use this information to try to discourage the problematic and common two-tire purchase, which is not recommended by the tire industry or by the car manufacturers.


In fact, the two-tire purchase opens the door to some strange litigation theories now being bounced off courtroom walls. When a customer who ignores the industry- recommended tire rotation guidelines and the recommended four-tire replacement, or who continues to drive a mechanically challenged vehicle, comes in for that ill-advised two-tire purchase, he/she should be told that this is not his/her best decision and is not consistent with the owner manual instructions or with tire industry safety recommendations.


The recent Rubber Manufacturers Association wet traction recommendation (with exceptions) of “two new tires on the rear” is a further service complication created by the negligent “no rotation/mechanical” two-tire purchaser.


Dealers should recommend the four-tire replacement and anticipate its possible/probable rejection. An initialed and memorialized sales document can be useful if the tire service seller is ever accused of being the cause of a vehicle-related human tragedy.


Harold Herzlich


President


Herzlich Consulting Inc.


Las Vegas

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