Solution to an image problem
As a result of the recent recalls of 255,000 Chinese-produced tires, children's toys, plus other consumer goods, tire manufacturers, brand owners and tire dealers are facing a serious consumer safety image problem.
Unfortunately, all consumers, including tire purchasers, are beginning to question the safety and the quality of any product that is produced in China.
With the recent dramatic increase of Chinese-produced tires imported and sold in the U.S., the tire industry must change the perception that all Chinese-produced goods are suspect and regain the safety and quality confidence of tires sold in the U.S.
The most realistic way to rebuild consumer trust is to ensure the tire purchaser's tires are registered so that they will receive a direct and timely notification if their tires are involved in a safety-related recall. Thus, the tire purchaser will have his or her tires replaced, mounted and balanced free of charge, protecting the safety of themselves and their families.
Anyone concerned with the future of the tire industry should be promoting tire registration so that every tire purchaser will be directly and quickly notified in the event of a safety-related recall. Tire registration should be actively supported by tire industry associations, consumer safety advocate groups and anyone interested in consumer safety.
On Sept. 7, Tire Business posted a news story on its Web site concerning the current recall by Union, N.J.-based Foreign Tire Sales (FTS) Inc. of 255,000 Chinese-made light truck tires. In the item, FTS said the number of tires returned by consumers was disappointing, with only a total quantity of 282 tires returned out of the total number of recalled tires produced by China's Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. Ltd.
The tire industry must realize how poorly this reflects on it as a whole, especially when there is already a tire registration regulation in place that requires direct notification of tire purchasers and the removal of potentially unsafe tires from the highways as quickly as possible.
To provide tire registration is not an expensive service (less than 1 cent per tire). Any responsible tire dealer knows the benefits of providing tire registration as a safety protection for consumers and their families.
It is vital that the tire industry re-establish the trust of tire purchasers by providing them the important safety protection of registering their tires.
Paul J. Kruder
Computerized Information & Management Services (CIMS)
A very hot topic
In the June 16 issue of Tire Business, commercial tire service columnist Peggy Fisher closed her article by stating: “Somebody please stop me!”
I am not too sure as to what she wants to be stopped from doing, but I surmise the purpose of the supplication has to do with her “tongue-in-cheek” suggestion about curing a retreaded tire's precure tread bond by using heat generated by the wheel assembly to effect the cure.
That is, of course, a crazy idea, but so was putting a man on the moon. One never knows.
On the topic of heat generated by wheel assemblies, I have recently been faced with a problem that has been presented to me by a modern retreading plant, the manager of which has been consistently rejecting casings purchased from my company. He claims the beads are distorted.
This is not a one-shot deal.
In fact, over the past year, he has submitted claim reports showing that 438 casings had been rejected because of this condition. That's an impossible amount for me to even contemplate.
In a container which this plant manager recently received, 40 of 80 Michelin 295/80R22.5 'A' casings were rejected for this reason.
I inspected the casings and could find absolutely no reason for the rejection. The beads were pristine, but the chief inspector in the plant tried to convince me that they were distorted.
I immediately visited a Michelin Retread Technologies plant in the same area, where I was allowed to see retreaded, new and unprocessed Michelin tires. I made up a cardboard template and measured the angles of all three tires and found them to be exactly the same.
This news was conveyed to the plant experiencing the problem and I informed management that no claim would be entertained and that the rejected casings should be put through the plant for processing.
They grudgingly agreed and I am now awaiting their report—which they are sure will show a rise in their level of claims.
I should mention that these tires are used in a market where the speed limit is 50 mph, but where overloading is a serious problem. The beads showed no sign of heat or residue from the rims.
I wonder if anyone else has experienced this situation, or could I be wrong in my analysis?
One final comment: In the past and on more than one occasion, I have taken these casings back and sold them to another retreader with less stringent controls. None has failed in service, although they have been working in exactly the same conditions.
I refuse to file a claim with the yards in Japan that supply my casings, as no other customer has come up with similar complaints.
This may be a topic worth addressing in a future issue of Tire Business.
Everard G. Scott
Harmony Hall Inc.