Readers may have noticed articles on tire recordkeeping in the past but such a complicated, far reaching regulation with consequences for non-compliance warrants regular coverage. Further, past articles have focused almost entirely on manufacturer’s requirements and have only briefly discussed a dealer’s requirements. This article intends to provide a simple overview of requirements for dealers as supplement to more in- depth content.
Who Needs to Comply?
Trailer dealers enter the tire supply chain in various ways that include, but are not limited to, the following situations:
• Selling a trailer equipped with tires that were attached at the time of delivery to the dealer.
• Selling a trailer equipped with tires that were not attached at the time of delivery to the dealer.
• Selling tires separately as replacement parts.
• Servicing and installing tires.
Under these various scenarios, federal regulation contemplates trailer dealers as both tire distributors and tire dealers (see 49 CFR §574.8 and §574.9). While this distinction matters from a regulatory perspective, however a trailer dealer enters the supply chain and becomes involved in the sale of tires, the resulting obligations are the same and all trailer dealers must comply.
What Must a Dealer Do?
A trailer dealer only has one obligation under the tire recordkeeping requirements: to facilitate notification to purchasers of defective or nonconforming tires. Dealers can fulfill their obligations in several ways. Each methodology described below provides a path for tire manufacturers to contact potentially impacted customers in the event of a tire recall.
Provide Tire Manufacturer Tire Registration/Warranty Form/Card
Tire manufacturers are required by law (49 CFR §574.7(a)(1)) to provide a blank tire registration/warranty form/card (TIN card) to their customers. This card is then theoretically to be passed through the supply chain to the end-user. If purchasing a trailer from an NATM Certified Member, the dealer should receive a registration/warranty form/card to use. If the TIN card does not make it from the trailer manufacturer to the dealer or if the trailer manufacturer does not provide the tire warranty cards, tire warranty cards can be obtained upon request from the tire manufacturer. Regardless of the method of obtaining the card, the dealer must complete the TIN (Tire Identification Number) information as well as the dealer/distributor name, contact information, and provide it to the customer receiving those tires. Dealers may choose to complete the remainder of the tire warranty card and submit on the customers behalf, but submittal must be transmitted to the tire manufacturer within 30 days at no charge to the customer. For more information, visit 49 CFR §574.8(a)(1)(i).
Create Custom TIN Card
If the dealer chooses to forgo the tire manufacturer’s provided tire warranty cards, the dealer may create their own forms. In the instance that a card cannot be obtained from the tire manufacturer, the dealer must create their own card to use. Similar to the tire manufacturer tire warranty card, this custom form must include TINs, dealer’s name and contact information, and the customer name and address. This card or form must be able to be submitted to the tire manufacturer by the customer at no cost to the customer or returned to the dealer for submission to the tire manufacturer, again at no cost to the customer. If the dealer chooses to submit the information on the card to the tire manufacturer on behalf of the customer, this information must be transmitted to the tire manufacturer within 30 days. For more information, visit 49 CFR §574.8(a)(1)(ii).
Submit Tire Information Online
If the tire manufacturer creates a system, it may be possible to submit the required information directly to the tire manufacturer through email or an online submission system. In this method, the dealer must record the purchaser’s name and address, TINs, along with the dealer’s own name and contact information to submit electronically. For more information on this option, please be sure to check with the tire manufacturer for availability and options. For more information, visit 49 CFR §574.8(a)(1)(iii).
Each trailer dealer will need to assess one’s own internal needs and processes, including if the trailer manufacturer provides tire warranty cards and the tire manufacturer’s submittal processes, to determine the best method for compliance. For example, if the tire manufacturer does not accept online submissions, this option is not available to the trailer dealer. Similarly, if a trailer manufacturer does not provide the tire warranty cards, the trailer dealer must obtain or create their own.
Again, any one of the above three methods, including online submissions, if completed, will satisfy a dealer’s tire recordkeeping requirement.
For further assistance, one may view the applicable regulations at https://ecfr.federalregister.gov, contact Terry Jones, NATM Technical Director, at Terry.Jones@natm.com, or one’s own legal counsel.