Commercial Business Retail Service Suppliers Wholesale Distribution

Get put to the test

Order Reprints
Get put to the test

Before anyone can perform tire service, they must be trained in a myriad of techniques and procedures from identifying lifting points and raising vehicles to evaluating and repairing damaged tires.

The Tire Industry Association (TIA) wants to help your technicians. TIA’s 2012 Certified Automotive Tire Service (ATS) Instructor Tour is coming to a town near you. The 12-month, 28-city tour kicked off in January in Ohio and Missouri and is traveling across the nation.

Those who attend the four-day class and pass a 100-question exam will be certified as Advanced ATS Instructors, allowing them to certify instructors and technicians in the field.

Modern Tire Dealer is proud to be one of the 21 sponsors of  TIA’s ATS tour. We regularly promote training in the pages of MTD and at So as the tour’s only trade magazine sponsor, we decided that someone from our staff should attend the training. I’m proud to say that is was me.

Could there be training that you need... or that you don’t know you need? You may be surprised at what you could learn.

Jim Grant was. He’s owner of four East Ridge Fast Lube locations in Chattanooga, Tenn. He was a student with me in TIA’s very first Certified ATS Instructor training in North Canton, Ohio. Grant says that before the training, if a customer with a front-wheel-drive vehicle buying only two tires asked to have them mounted on the front, he would have done it.

These days, more consumers are saving money and only buying two tires at a time. When that happens, the new rubber needs to go on the rear axles. Why? Oversteer. Those new tires on the front can provide all the traction in the world, but if the vehicle goes into a slide, oversteer can cause the rear tires to dangerously lose control.

TIA also clears up misconceptions regarding torque. Since I first learned to use a torque wrench about 35 years ago, I believed that torque was the force which holds a wheel onto a vehicle.

What I learned is that torque is simply a setting. What actually does hold a wheel on a vehicle? Clamping force. If you didn’t know that, you could be a candidate for TIA’s training tour.

TIA also teaches an extremely valuable procedure to help technicians remember the key components of clamping force. TIA has come up with the acronym RIST. “R” is for remove debris from mating surfaces. “I” is for inspect the components. “S” stands for snug the lug nuts in a star pattern. “T” stands for torque the lug nuts to specification. And never use more than one extension on the end of a torque wrench.

There was a lot to learn in four days, with a lot of hands-on training. I thought it was challenging and very interesting. I was a bit apprehensive about taking the certification test, because I hadn’t taken a test since I graduated from college in 1988. And I hadn’t worked on cars on a regular basis since I worked in a body shop 25 years ago.

I’m happy to report that — I passed!

For more information on TIA’s 2012 Certified ATS Instructor Tour, visit and click on “Certified ATS Advanced Instructor Training Tour.” 

If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail me at


You must login or register in order to post a comment.