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Are tire repair laws really needed?

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There doesn't seem to be a groundswell movement nationwide for the establishment of tire repair legislation, which makes us wonder why the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) and the Tire Industry Association (TIA) continue to push for such action.

Even in Maryland, where the legislature is debating model tire repair legislation co-written by the two organizations, there is concern by some legislators who are asking, “Why do you need to do this?” according to TIA Executive Vice President Roy Littlefield. He testified on the subject Feb. 6 before the Maryland House Committee on Economic Matters. “They are nervous about putting new regulations on consumers,” he said.

They should be, because legislating tire repair would not only require enforcement but would likely cost taxpayers money.

The same goes for tire dealerships and other shops. They don't need more intrusive regulations, especially on something as fundamental to their operations as tire repair. What's next, legislating mounting and demounting practices?

There is no question that everyone repairing tires should follow recommended industry practices and, from what we understand, not all shops do. But isn't that their issue, and won't they suffer the consequences if an accident occurs because of a shoddy repair they performed? No business wants to have that happen.

Proper tire repair requires the demounting of the tire from the rim, a visual and tactile inspection of the tire's interior and exterior, and the repairing of punctures and cuts in the tread area with a patch and rubber stem or combination repair unit. All shops should follow these procedures.

Rather than trying to establish regulations on this issue state by state—which could lead to a hodgepodge of rules throughout the country and open up all kinds of legal and compliance issues—might the industry be better served if these two associations took up the mantel to yearly teach proper tire repair techniques and encourage everyone who touches a tire to follow industry-accepted practices?

This could be accomplished through TIA's well-regarded training programs and via marketing campaigns like the one RMA conducted last August when it sent out literature to 220,000 businesses in the U.S. promoting proper tire repair. Shouldn't we see the results of that campaign before considering enacting new legislation?

How about promoting the fact that performing proper tire repairs can bring a dealership much needed revenue via higher charges for this service? That's always a legitimate incentive.

We applaud the RMA and TIA for working together on common industry issues, but this one on tire repair legislation continues to befuddle us as to why it is necessary in the first place.
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Previous | Published February 22, 2019

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