TIA denounces putting expiration dates on tires

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Government efforts to put "expiration dates" on tires "will be the number one issue for our industry in the coming years," says Becky MacDicken, the Tire Industry Association's (TIA) director of government affairs.

"TIA doesn't support the idea of 'born on' or 'expiration dates' on tires for the following reasons," she told attendees at the 2005 TIA OTR Tire Conference this past weekend.

"The date of the tire's manufacture is already on the sidewall as part of the tire identification number.

"There are greater safety concerns to worry about," like maintaining proper air pressure, safe tread depths and others.

"And 'born on' dates could lead to unnecessary tire scrappage." They also could cause inventory problems "as consumers could request newer tires."

In early 2004, a senator from Ohio introduced a bill that would require tire retailers to give consumers easy access to information on the production date of their tires and called for a rule to be made immediately.

At the time, TIA responded that such a rule "would create an additional burden on the industry and cause consumer confusion at a time when the federal government is trying to simplify the message about tire safety.

"The burden of disseminating the information would also be largely placed on small business retailers. Tire dealers are being put in the situation where if they have to explain the date of manufacture code to a customer, they cannot rely on any scientific foundation to indicate that older tires are any less safe than newer tires for the desired application.

"Therefore, retailers will be forced to 'make it up as they go along,' which could lead to liability issues.

"Without context, consumers may misinterpret the information and refuse to buy perfectly good tires or discard used tires before it's necessary."

MacDicken says TIA is working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on the issue.

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