WASHINGTON—The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) is not pursuing tire repair legislation in the states this year but is focusing more on public education about proper tire repair, according to Dan Zielinski, RMA senior vice president of public affairs. Instead, the association plans to focus on introducing and passing its model legislation on used tires, Mr. Zielinski told Tire Business.
However, the used tire bill has some overlap with the RMA's general guidelines on tire repair. Under the provisions of the used tire bill, no used tire with an improper repair may be sold. Tires subject to a safety recall, or that have visible damage or less than 1/16-inch tread depth, are also forbidden from being sold. On the other hand, used tires that have been properly repaired and meet other safety criteria are fine for sale under the RMA model bill, according to Mr. Zielinski.
“As long as the used tire is properly repaired, you can't tell the difference between the used tire and a tire bought new,” he said. The RMA hasn't yet decided in which state legislatures it will introduce the used tire bill, but it plans to make that decision shortly, Mr. Zielinski said.
There is also a bill pending before the New York legislature that would prohibit the sale of any used tire that would fail a state safety inspection, he added. The RMA model tire repair bill, which the association sponsored in the Maryland legislature early in 2013, makes it illegal to repair a tire:
- With 1/16-inch tread depth or less;
- That already has an improper repair;
- That requires a patch that would overlap an already existing patch; or c That has a puncture or cut in the shoulder or belt edge, or a puncture or cut elsewhere on the tire that is more than 1/4-inch in diameter or width.
In tire repair itself, however, the RMA has made no changes to its recommended procedures, according to Mr. Zielinski. During the most recent National Tire Safety Week June 1-7, the association included a one-page handout on tire repair in its educational materials to help dealers explain industry-recommended repair guidelines to consumers, he said. “Some customers challenge dealers who try to repair a tire correctly, saying that a service station in their neighborhood can plug a tire for $10,” Mr. Zielinski said.
For customers who want more information, the RMA makes a tire repair wall chart available for sale, and offers for free on its website—at www.rma.org—a downloadable PowerPoint version of the chart, he said.
On its website, the RMA cited a 2006 study it conducted of more than 14,000 scrap tires, noting that it found 17 percent of the tires had a tire repair and, of that subset, 88 percent of the repairs were improper. It provided the following criteria necessary to perform a proper repair:
- Repairs are limited to the tread area only (no sidewall repairs);
- A puncture injury cannot be greater than 1/4-inch (6mm) in diameter; c Repairs must be performed by removing the tire from the rim/wheel assembly to perform a complete inspection to assess all damage that may be present;
- Repairs cannot overlap; and
- A rubber stem, or plug, must be applied to fill the puncture injury and a patch must be applied to seal the inner liner. A common repair unit is a one-piece unit with a stem and patch portion. A plug by itself is an unacceptable repair.
In reinforcing the need for proper tire repairs, the RMA also referred to a 2006 case in which “a California jury awarded a $14 million judgment against an auto dealer for improperly repairing a tire that eventually failed and contributed to a fatal van crash.” However, the RMA does not get involved in tire repair training, according to Mr. Zielinski.
The consumer tire training programs offered by the Tire Industry Association (TIA) already cover that area well, he said. TIA offers modules on tire repair in its Basic and Certified Automotive Tire Service (ATS) training programs, according to Kevin Rohlwing, TIA senior vice president of training. The Basic Commercial Tire Service (CTS) program does not include tire repair because the Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not require it, Mr. Rohlwing said.
The Certified CTS program, however, does include a module on tire repair. “None of the remaining programs—earthmover, farm, and industrial when it's released next year—includes modules on tire repair because there are no industry-approved methods for repairing injuries in the field,” he said.
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