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California dealers MUST check air pressure

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A new law in California requires retail tire dealers to properly check and inflate the tires of the light vehicles they are repairing. And there is no waiting period: The regulation already is in effect.

The California Office of Administrative Law (OAL) has officially approved the “Regulation to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Vehicles Operating with Under Inflated Tires (Section 95550 in Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations).

The regulation says its purpose is “to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles operating with under-inflated tires by inflating them to the recommended tire pressure rating,” It applies to all automotive service providers, but not to auto parts distributers or retailers, defined as follows:

“a business that sells replacement parts or performance accessories for cars, trucks, vans and sport utiliy vehicles and does not perform or offer to perform automotive maintenance or repair services.”

“Along with other stipulations, this regulation, commonly known as the Tire Pressure Regulation, will require automotive service providers to check and inflate each vehicle’s tires to the recommended tire pressure rating at the time of performing any automotive maintenance or repair service, as well as to indicate on the vehicle service invoice that a tire inflation service was completed,” says the Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association.

Some of those “other stipulations” include noting the action taken and the recommended psi on a customer's invoice; maintaining the invoices for at least three years; and having tire pressure gauges with an accuracy of at least plus or minus 2 psi.

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) is finalizing a guidance document for public review.

ARB has a list of frequently asked questions about the new regulation on its Web site, www.arb.ca.gov. Here are a few of them.

Q: If an 18 Wheeler comes in to my shop for repairs, do I have to check all 18 tires?

A: No, this regulation only applies to vehicles with a GVWR 10,000 lbs or less.

Q: Do I have to offer a free Tire Inflation Service?

A: No, but if you do offer a free check and inflate service and that service is the only thing being performed, then the automotive service provider (ASP) does not need to meet the regulation requirements.

Q: Do I have to keep copies of all invoices on site for inspection?

A: No, the vehicle service invoices kept offsite must be made available to enforcement personnel within 72 hours of an official written or oral request.

Q: Will there be a grace period before the regulation is enforced?

A: There will not be a “grace period.”  All ASPs are expected to comply with the requirements.  There will be a short outreach and implementation period when the regulation becomes effective. Staff will be available to help implement the regulation and answer questions regarding compliance.

Q: What type of Tire inflation reference do I need?

A: The most popular tire inflation reference resources that are in use by ASPs are the "Tire Guide" and the "Tire and Rim Association Year Book." ARB does not endorse or recommend either resource. ASPs may use any reference resource of their choosing as long as it meets the regulatory requirements.

Q: What happens if a customer needs to fill their tires with nitrogen and I don’t have a nitrogen inflation service?  Do I now have to provide a nitrogen inflation service?

A: No, a customer may refuse the inflation portion of the service if a nitrogen system is not available at the time of service. ASPs are still subject to the other regulation requirements. The tires will still need to be checked and it will also need to be noted on the invoice that the nitrogen inflation service was not available at the time of the service.

Q: What do I write on the service invoice?

A: You will need to indicate on the service invoice that a tire inflation service was completed and the tire pressure measurements after the service was performed.

Q: What happens if a customer doesn’t want me to check their tires?

A: A customer may decline the check and inflate service if they affirm that a tire pressure services has been performed in the last 30 days or they will perform a tire pressure service within the next seven days. If a tire inflation service was not performed, the automotive service provider must indicate on the vehicle service invoice why the service was not completed.

Click here for a full list of the FAQs on the ARB Web site.

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