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Sean Phillips

News and Notes: RMA and TIA Edition

By February 20, 2012

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association has set the week of June 3-9, 2012 as National Tire Safety Week, an event highlighting the RMA's "Be Tire Smart" programs on tire safety and proper maintenance. As part of the events, RMA provides tire retailers, auto dealers and repair shops with free "Be Tire Smart" brochures and other safety and maintenance materials. RMA says that more than 21,000 shops participated last year.

In addition, the RMA's mascot, "Phillip the Tire" is busily promoting the importance of proper tire inflation pressures by... running for President. Seriously, because why not, really? Phillip is running on a single-issue platform, the issue being, "America Needs Inflation."

In other news, the Tire Industry Association is campaigning againsta proposed sweeping tire-labeling law in Maryland. Maryland's legislature is considering a law that would require manufacturers and distributors to put labels on all consumer tires stating the date of manufacture, a statement that NHTSA recommends tires be replaced after six years regardless of tread depth, and a receipt stating the date of manufacture. TIA describes the bill as "outrageous and unnecessary", pointing out that the requirements are wide-ranging and difficult to follow and that the $500 fine for any infraction is punitive in the extreme. TIA also claims that the NHTSA has never actually recommended that tires be replaced after six years.

While this is technically true, (NHTSA recommends replacement at between six and ten years.) it is somewhat disingenuous, as what the NHTSA's website actually says is; "Remember, it is always wise to err on the side of caution if you suspect your vehicle has tires that are over six years of age."

I strongly support putting expiration dates on tires, and have for a long time. However, in my personal opinion, TIA is much closer to being in the right here. The Maryland bill is quite onerous and much of the requirements are completely unnecessary fluff designed to make it look as if the politicians have done something useful. Give a customer a "disclosure form" with the date their tires were built and 90% of those forms will be thrown away pretty much immediately. Date of manufacture is embossed on the tire sidewall anyway, a much more useful law would be one that requires the date be written in a format most people can actually read.

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