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Last week, the California Air Resources Board - fresh from not banning black cars - adopted a regulation to force the 40,000 businesses in "California's automotive maintenance industry to check the tire pressure of every vehicle they service." This means that, starting in July of 2010, when you bring your car in for service in California, the shop will have to make sure that your tires filled to the manufacturer's recommended air pressure level. CARB estimates that this will save the average Californian about $12 a year.

This move doesn't please everyone. The Tire Industry Association (TIA) calls CARB's decision "overreaching and burdensome." CARB didn't even reach out to the TIA before announcing the decision. TIA's director of government and business relations, Paul Fiore, said that "Trial lawyers are always looking for pieces of paper to use... it's a gift to the trial lawyers."

[Source: CARB via Green Car Congress, Modern Tire Dealer]
Photo by squidish. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.


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  • 37 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Of course the Tire Industry Association is going to disagree with this! Properly inflated tires last a lot longer than those that are low on air.

      This isn't that big a deal in my mind - it just means that when you take your car in, they'll check the tire pressure. If I'm not mistaken, it used to be a given that 'your mechanic' would check your tire pressure when servicing your car.

      And more importantly, this sort of shift in mindset is going to be essential if we're going to move onto a sustainable, non-petroleum-based path. These things are easy to do, and will make a difference - we just have to get used to doing things a tiny bit differently than normal.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Being a career auto mechanic, and having spent 15 years in San Diego as a smog technician I know not only how much tire pressure affects tire wear, performance, and safety. I know first hand how intrusive the California goverment has become. There is very little sense of responsability anymore. Oh the people are stupid so lets make another law, the man was killed with a rock so lets outlaw all rocks. I now live in Montana where people check there own tire pressure thank you. Oh, by the way I am still wrenching after all these years and I check every cars tire pressure, I don't need another stinking law. I will keep my freedom, my money, and my guns, you law crazy jerks can keep all that change!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I can't believe all the negative reactions here.

      It's this simple:

      1. People don't keep their tires properly inflated.

      2. If they did, it would save them money, put less CO2 into the air, and consume less of a non-renewable resource--oil.

      3. By passing this law CA will be providing both a private and a public good at nearly zero cost.

      No, it won't save the planet all by itself. Yes, it means that, gasp!, Mean Old Mr. Government is telling you what to do. I wish the people who object to this law would think seriously about all the far more intrusive things they put up with from their government, without the slightest complaint, and get a little perspective.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If I change the tires on my car from the standard manufacturer's tires, what tire pressure will then be used/ The sidewall maximum?

        What a joke.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It used to part of routine service that tire pressure was topped up. For some reason that stopped. Now there are shops out there that will do, say, a brake job, then let the customer drive away without checking the tires. Hello? It's simple neglect, and it shouldn't be allowed.

        This legislation makes a lot of sense. It doesn't ask for the moon and the results are proven. It sounds like you're against it for ideological reasons more than anything else. If the government declared that it was good for people to eat, sleep and breathe, would you stop doing those things just to spite those evil bureaucrats?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Lou, there are many things I have to put up with that I don't like because some "staffer" or agency decided it was good for me. Should not call out stupidity when I see it because there are other worse laws on the books? This is just utterly ridiculous. How much oil is this going to save? Do you get your oil changed every week? If not, then what about all the time between oil changes that your tires are not properly inflated? For the 1-2 weeks after your oil change your tires "may" be properly inflated, and we need a law for this? Suppose you are someone who always checks their tire pressure. Now you have to pay for someone to do, what you do already, because your neighbor is too lazy to do it for himself. Is that fair?
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ jstdadd:

        I had a car repair do exactly that. I bought some tires from tirerack.com and took them to a local shop to have them mounted and balanced. They proceeded to fill them to 51psi "because that's what the sidewall said". This after they mounted one of the tires backwards(they were directional).

        I tried to explain to the guy that the pressure on the sidewall was a warning not to fill it above that level and not a recommended pressure and he just looked at me confused and explained that they weren't to be held responsible if something were to happen because I requested that the pressure was lower than the print on the sidewall. He then begrudgingly lowered the pressure to a more reasonable 32psi. I really wish I were making this story up, but it truly happened to me about 4yrs ago.

        If these are the people we are trusting to know the recommended pressure of every vehicle on the road(and to adjust the pressures as well), I'd rather decline the service and check my own tires thank you very much.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Ironically, I have the opposite problem. The Toyota dealer where I go for regular maintenance always checks the tire pressure, but since I normally keep the tire pressure slightly higher than the "standard recommended" pressure for better fuel economy, they always let air out to bring the pressure down! So I'm always having to recheck and add air after any service is done.

      No, I don't keep the pressure so high that it adversely affects ride and handling, an additional 5 psi is just about right.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I looked at the kei car
      i think all the ca shoul have to drive them the death rate would go up and there will be more room fot the illegals to populate ca
      yo Ca want cradel to grave gov assistance.
      the reason fo california pollution is all you people you live mostly in a valley and the polution cannot get out
      stop poluting the rest of the usa with the likes of polosi etc and leave the rest of us alone
      rcavaretti
      • 5 Years Ago
      Many shops already check the air. And some of them even vacuum the interior and wash the car for you. So what if they return back to the service oriented days of a 1950's gas station.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Am I the only person who thinks the California Air Resources Board is TOTALLY INSANE?!!!

      Here's a novel idea: trust folks to check their own air pressure!

      If C.A.R.B. really wants to help California, how about these ideas:

      1. Legalize Kei cars and allow duty-free and unrestricted importation of the Nano.

      2. Give $5,000 cash for clunkers; newly bought cars must get 30 mpg city.

      3. Sell gas, tax-free, to owners of cars which get 30 mpg (combined) or more.

      4. Have Arnold to convert his new Dodge Charger to Poulsen hybrid power.

      5. Have CARB stop making inane announcements.
        • 4 Years Ago
        How many years in jail, if one of my techs doesn't check the tires. Should we start deducting $ out of their paycheck to cover the costs of litigation?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Something that helps us maintain our vehicles and reduce fuel waste is a good thing. WTF is wrong with some of you?

      Fk this "freedom of this..freedom of that" crap. This country has turned into a freaking "Freedom of idiots who think they can do whatever they want" whining clusterfrak.

      For a bunch of people who claim they want to take their own responsibility into their own hands but never want to take responsibility for anything they do, you sure are facing a big dilemma.

      More power to CARB.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The garage I go to always checks my car's tire pressure when I bring it in for service, so this doesn't affect me at all. In fact I think it's a great idea - this is one part of quality service that should be routine and it goes without saying. I can't believe there are actually some garages that are cutting corners on such a simple, basic maintenance procedure. But if it takes regulation like this to force them to do their jobs right, then it's fine by me.
      pyropod
      • 4 Years Ago
      What some of you fail to realize is that this isn't free. It costs repair facilities money and they are going to pass that along to consumers. Save you $12 per year. How about cost you $25 every visit. If your pressures are off, they MUST adjust them. So if they are low, they have to put air in. Which means drive it into the shop, find an empty service bay, put it up on the rack and INSPECT your tires. Do you work for free? Neither does that mechanic. They're allowed to include it do it for free if they want, but they are also allowed to refuse to do it if it's the only reason you're there and you're NOT paying for any other services. Explain to me again how this is supposed to save you money.
      It also mandates the the service people keep documentation on you and your car either on site, or somewhere that it can be available within 72 hours. So now they have to pay for storage for all their repair orders for just in case CARB decides they want to see them. That means YOUR personal information is sitting around a garage someplace in a box for how long? So some enterprising about to be fired employee picks up a file box on his way out the door some day and has a couple hundred sets of personal information he can sell to some one in the identity theft business. But they can store them somewhere else... sure, if they can afford the storage, someone to organize and maintain it, find the files when they are called for, and make sure they get back to the shop before the CARP audit squad shows up.
      How about this--The morons that drafted this never took into account that you are supposed to check tires 'cold' which means that the car should not have been driven within the last two hours so the tires have had a chance to assume ambient temperate, otherwise the pressure will no read correctly due to the temperature inside the tire being hot. So you roll in, they check your pressure, it's too high, they let air out. Guess what, when your tires cool down, you're under-inflated! And you had to do this EVERY 30 days! Do you service your car every 30 days? The original regulation called for drivers to keep proof of tire inflation - by a certified facility - in the vehicle, or face a $1000 fine and/or up to six months in jail. “License, registration, proof of insurance, and certification of tire pressure.” How does that sound coming from a cop on the side of the road?
      Can't you just see yourself explaining to your new cell mate that you're in for low tire pressure? Or telling your wife that you're losing the house, because you're going to lose your job, because the California Air Resources Board is tossing you in jail for six months for low tires. Now to be fair, some of that has been set aside for now and it's my understanding that they'll give you a warning, the first time, but that was their original intent with this.
      What if you have other than factory original tires on your car? They can't certify them! One interpretation of this is that the tires are then considered unsafe! Do you want to be in court after you got in an accident with a lawyer who subpoenaed your maintenance records and can show the jury where a technician who didn't want to take the time to try and track down a usable reference labeled your tires as unsafe?
      All this in the name of global warming.
      If the big one hits tomorrow and every man, woman, child, dog, cat, car, building, and business in California vanishes overnight the total amount of 'Global Warming' gases going into the atmosphere will drop by less than 1%. This is one of hundreds of regulations that CARB wants to impose on California, ONLY California. It's not about tire pressure or a saving the environment people; it's about power and control.
      • 5 Years Ago
      max, I don't feel the government has to do everything for me. Perhaps you feel safer knowing big brother will take care of you, even to making sure your tires are properly inflated. If where you get your car serviced does not do this for you complain, or find another shop. Do you need the government to make that decision for you? Dp you really think the government is capable of making better decisions for you, than you are for yourself?
        • 5 Years Ago
        montoym:

        "If they don't care about maintenance in general, how many of them do you think drop off their car at a service station regularly?"

        Only the ones that hope to get more than 20,000 miles out of a car before the oil turns to tar and the engine seizes.

        "You see where this is going. If something is good, more of it must be better."

        What I see is that you have no complaint to make against this regulation except that "it adds a lot of bueracratic [sic] mess", a conclusion that I question: I would guess that it will just mean that inflation checks get done more regularly by local gas stations. The only arguments you managed to come up with involved fanciful future establishment of some fearful jack-booted tire inflation police.
        • 5 Years Ago
        quote from GoodCheer:
        - "This regulation is not intended to help us, and in fact it will have no effect whatsoever on us. It's intended to help people who don't think about cars, don't think about car maintenance in general, and don't keep their tires properly inflated." -

        OK, so if that's true, then this regulation will do nothing for those people. If they don't care about maintenance in general, how many of them do you think drop off their car at a service station regularly? So, the regulation solves very little and just adds a lot of bueracratic mess.

        Plus, it doesn't take into account the many shadetree mechanics who do their own maintenance and may or may not check their own tire pressure I, for one change my own oil and do a lot of my own maintenence and I admit I don't check my tire pressure that often. What next, a safety force put together to go door to door to check the pressure of everyone's tires to be sure they are in compliance?

        Why don't they add an additional regulation that any time a person is pulled over for any offense, the officer checks their tire pressure for them as well as a courtesy? At least then we'd be sure to catch those who dare to do their own maintenance work as well Other than the cost of a bunch of tire gauges, what's wrong with that? Heck, why not give some tire gauges to the homeless guys on street corners too so that they can check tire pressures in addition to or instead of cleaning windows or just mindlessly panhandling?

        You see where this is going. If something is good, more of it must be better.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Throwback

        If you were correct, why can one see a bunch of cars with under-inflated tires on the road? Why do so very few people check their air pressure regularly? This is proof that relying on "personal responsibility" does not work.

        Unfortunately, 99% of the populace isn't responsible, and since there's so many of us now, small changes have huge impacts. If the $12 savings per car is true, than multiply that by 100m U.S. cars, that's $1.2bn currently wasted a year .....because of a lack of personal responsibility.

        Nowhere did I say that "I am not able to make better decisions than the big brother govt", that just sounds like alarmist FoxNews sh... talk "government is robbing our rights!" LoL
        • 5 Years Ago
        Throwback:

        You and I, and I assume Max are quite capable of, and in fact do, check our tire pressure at reasonable intervals. This regulation is not intended to help us, and in fact it will have no effect whatsoever on us. It's intended to help people who don't think about cars, don't think about car maintenance in general, and don't keep their tires properly inflated.

        I don't suppose you would argue that there are no such people... we all see them driving around on the roads every day. I also don't suppose that you would argue that those people are making a rational, informed decision to drive around with (sometimes dangerously) under-inflated tires.

        You could argue that they have the right to do so, but... so what? Are their rights to willful ignorance (and the potential endangerment of those with whom they share the road) being impinged against by mechanics who put some air into their tires when they get their wiper blades or oil changed? What does it cost any of us to improve the maintenance of those people's cars? It makes us a little bit safer, it makes us a little bit less dependent on oil imports, and as you yourself claim, it's something that mechanics should be doing anyway.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The reason to worry is because CARB is overstepping their power, and there is no indication they have any intention of backing off.

      Word is there is discussion to ban "low efficiency" tires from sale in California. What does that mean? Only stock tires will be available, so those who have a love of automobile performance will be stabbed in the back by those who suckle at the teat of their tax dollars.

      They never go "nuts" all at once. They do it little by little.

      And yes, the government is directly responsible for the failure of high-efficiency diesel technology in the US. Switching to diesel would nearly eliminate our dependence on middle east oil, with no other changes. Diesels are now lightweight, clean, and powerful, but the EPA and CARB cannot see the big picture, so they do whatever they can to increase their budgets and bureaucrasy instead of helping the US citizens move forward.
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