What tire dealers say about NHTSA’s e-recall plan

What tire dealers say about NHTSA’s e-recall plan

Tire dealers have welcomed the NHTSA’s proposal to allow auto manufacturers to directly contact customers electronically in the case of tire recalls. However, they say the move should be part of a suite of technology-based solutions to improve recall rates for defective tires.

The NHTSA wants to allow manufacturers to choose the “electronic means they feel are most effective” so they can maximize the percentage of recalled products that are repaired or replaced. While some already use the internet, social media and ads to promote recall information, this would mean they could issue recalls alerts directly to the customer via phone call, email and text message. Currently manufacturers are only required to let affected customer know using first-class mail.

Concerns over vehicle ownership changes

Tire dealers and installers said electronic communication would help when customers move and their contact details change. The real challenge was when vehicle ownership changed, meaning any registered tire information (if there was any originally) became inaccurate or irrelevant. Customers often did not register their tires, especially after vehicle ownership changes.

Tire dealers Traction News spoke to agreed electronic communication would increase the percentage of defective tires recalled but stressed that informing and encouraging consumers to take responsibility and “opt-in” to other digital methods of registering their tires was needed too.

“The great thing about electronic communication is you can get small pieces of information to a lot of people very quickly,” said Terry John of Mid-Atlantic Tire Pros. “But that information is only good until vehicle ownership changes, and that’s always going to be a problem, tracking customers.

“The consumer really has to participate in this. Consumers like websites like Carfax where they can get information on a car they are buying, but they need to buy into it. They have a vested interest in that if they want the information on a car, they need to provide it (when a vehicle is sold on) too.”

Consumer participation will be vital to success

Scott Blair from WheelWorks Inc said mobile apps that consumers could download presented a good option in the digital age.
“People don’t have any issue at all installing them, so there is no issue with privacy and they are responsible for adding their vehicle VIN and tire DOT numbers,” he said.

Around 46 million tires have been recalled since the 1966 National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act was passed in the U.S.

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