The last attack is against our tires, well not ours but those that rest at the corners of our hot rod. The buzz term is “tire aging.” This is a process by which the age of the tire is determined by reading the code numbers cast into the tire at the time of manufacturer. There are two codes currently in use; one for tires manufactured prior to 2000 and the one currently in use. The original assumption was that tires wouldn’t be in use in 10 years and, hence, since that isn’t necessarily the truth the law is (or is in the process of) being “beefed” up. I know one look at some of the tires I have on my hot rods reveals that 6-year-old tires is nothing out of the ordinary and I would imagine this is true hobby-wide.
There’s Federal legislation afoot that will require, among other things, for tire service centers not to work on tires that are coded older than six years and for tire outlets not to sell tires that are older than six years. As with many laws there are good and noteworthy points to this legislation. As with many laws there are not so good and noteworthy points to this legislation. And guess where we fall?
To date the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has refused to impose a six-year shelf life on tires. But you can rest assured that in time this will change. What does it mean to us? Well, should you need service on a tire, let’s say, while you are on the road and it is over six years old you would be forced to purchase a new tire as the tire service outlet would be compelled not to work on your “old” tire.
Again, there are some good reasons, safety based, for this type of legislation but hot rodders fall between the legislative “cracks” and are swept up into an area we do not wish to visit.
Approximately three years ago here in California AB 496 passed the assembly floor; the bill’s sponsors didn’t have the votes to proceed further and tabled the proposed legislation. It’s a matter of time before they have the votes. As soon as the California legislature realizes that by passing this bill they can then attach a “use fee” (tax!) to the AB and grab a few more bucks I am confident it will pass.
I would imagine all of us want Mother Earth to succeed over the long haul and that we want our grandchildren and generations yet to be named to have a worthy place to call “home.” As with all legislation aimed at a “lofty” goal we need to be vigilant as we hot rodders are a small and insignificant aspect of the automotive industry and we will most assuredly be “thrown out with the bath water” if we do not pay close attention.