It looks like tire dealerships and other auto repair outlets in California soon will have to perform tire pressure checks on every vehicle they service—whether they want to or not.
Unless California's Office of Administrative Law finds something wrong with the latest version of the proposed pressure check legislation and again sends it back to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for revision, it will go into effect Sept. 1.
That's when repair shops in the Golden State will need to make perfectly clear to their employees what their responsibilities are under the new law to avoid the possibility of CARB assessing penalties for violations under the California Health and Safety Code.
There's a lot that's not golden about the proposed law, which is onerous in its requirements.
It requires among other things that automotive service providers check and inflate each vehicle's tires to the recommended tire pressure rating, with air or nitrogen as appropriate, when performing any auto maintenance or repair service. (Dealerships that don't offer nitrogen apparently will have to buy a nitrogen filling machine or set up a reciprocal arrangement at another shop that has one.)
Service providers also must indicate on the vehicle service invoice that a tire inflation service was completed and list the tire pressure measurements after the service is performed.
And they must keep a copy of the vehicle service invoice for at least three years and be able to produce this information for CARB, or its authorized representative, upon request.
Like the federally mandated voluntary tire registration requirement, which many outlets still don't follow, it would be easy for automotive service providers to ignore the new pressure check rule, especially if they don't believe in it. But that would be a mistake.
An unscientific Tire Business online poll on this subject found that the 65 percent of the 165 respondents were against the proposed CARB mandate. If that percentage holds true for all service providers, it means a majority of dealers would be complying to the law reluctantly.
Our suggestion is that automotive service outlets in California embrace the objectives behind the proposed law, while working with legislators and tire industry trade associations to make it less cumbersome and more effective.
The law's aim is to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions, cut fuel consumption and extend tire life, not to mention keeping vehicles safer—all worthy causes.
Service providers might even be able to lessen the reporting requirements burden by getting their software suppliers to develop a program that would capture the tire pressure check information at the point of sale.
Lest tire service providers elsewhere think they are off the hook on this, don't be surprised if similar legislative proposals mandating tire pressure checks pop up in their states, as well. After all, what starts in California often finds its way to other parts of the country.