The FAST Act, which was signed into law December 2014 by former President Barack Obama, contained provisions for mandatory tire registration among other tire-related actions. As of today, the National Highway and Transportation Administration (NHTSA) does not have an administrator, a role yet to be appointed by President Donald Trump and then approved by Congress. This fact, along with the presidential executive order to eliminate two regulations for each new regulation, leaves tire dealers in a state of unknown.
Tire registration is the law today. A dealer must provide either a pre-filled manufacturer postcard to be submitted by the consumer, or electronically register the tires directly to the manufacturer and noting so on the customer’s invoice. It is well documented that manufacturers see very low participation in both methods and an unacceptable recovery rate of recalled tires.
The FAST Act brought tire registration to the forefront of conversations with dealers and media coverage. The goal to identify, locate and recover recalled tires is the thread that ties together all stakeholders: consumers, dealers, and manufacturers. Tire manufacturers build the tires; dealers sell and install the tires. Putting the registration record in the hands of the builder would seem practical and mitigate risk for the dealer, much in the same way recent recalls for airbags and ignitions did not fall to the dealers.
Accurately recording the Department of Transportation (DOT) Tire Identification Number (TIN) and transposing-transmitting the DOT-TIN is challenging at best. Human error plays a big role and as many as 40% of all DOT registration records are invalid due to error. Common mistakes in reading and recording alpha-numeric DOT characters is problematic, especially in an environment of poor light, dirt, grease and dust. An invalid record may result in a recalled tire not being identified and subsequently recovered. It is important since you take the time to do tire registration, that you consider available tools that help you do it right. Accurate records in the hands of the manufacturer gives peace of mind to the dealer. Hundreds of thousands of tires are recalled each year, and legislation should not drive what should simply be good business practices.
Companies are working to provide easy, intelligent services to assist dealers in complying with tire registration. Knowing if the tire you are about to sell or service has been subject to a recall should be part of the registration process. The driving public gives little thought to airbags, ignitions and tires when they head out down the road. Waiting for regulations, appointments and government action puts lives at risk every day.
Become informed, and decide how your business can comply today and into the future. Explore options for web-based or integrated tire registration solutions that may even be offered through your POS provider. Look for all-brand tire inputs, DOT validation features, recall checks, easy data retrieval and direct transmission to the manufacturer or designee. TR
Joe Donehue is president of Tiremetrix, LLC. Tiremetrix provides TPMS and tire registration software to the tire industry.