Life Safety, Litigation and Tire Repair

Sometimes in sales you need to politely say, “I’m sorry, we can’t do that.” Ouch, that hurts just writing it. Saying no can be

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Mechanic placing a wheel back into a car

Sometimes in sales you need to politely say, “I’m sorry, we can’t do that.” Ouch, that hurts just writing it. Saying no can be hard when you pride yourself as a problem solver. I think that’s one of the reasons I love working with technicians. They don’t like to say no and in fact, dedicate their careers to fixing broken things and making people happy. So, what might cause an automotive professional to respectfully decline? Answer: when the fix could lead to a serious safety issue and may put the technician and the shop in front of a judge.

True story. I recently saw a family drive into a shop we service. They needed a little air and an object removed from their tire. Oh, and it had to be fast because the kids needed to be dropped off and mom and dad had to get to work. They were assured that they were at the right place and they would be back on the road in no time. After a quick inspection of the tire, the tech realized that the tire injury was just outside the repairable area. The customers were informed that they would need a new tire. But the problem was that they barely had the funds for the repair, let alone a new tire. “Please, sir,” they implored, “could you just do the best you can so that we can be on our way?” If not, they said they’d have to take their business to another facility.

What would the repair shop do? Was it worth losing a customer? Realistically, they could make it work and it would probably be okay, right (I mean, what if these folks were desperately trying to get out of a war zone?) But here’s the problem: The growing number of accidents and lawsuits for improper repairs makes it morally imperative that repair facilities have a written policy and procedure for tire repair. 

The policy will help determine if a tire is repairable. Tire Industry Association (TIA) and Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) guidelines help identify where a tire can be repaired, how large the injury can be, and other important factors to help determine if a shop should proceed with servicing the tire. 

The procedure for properly repairing a tire is filling the injury and sealing it from the inside. TIA and RMA standards are followed for safety, as well as to help maintain the warranty of the tire.

So, how does the story end? Although the repair shop empathized with the customer’s financial and time constraints, they could not conscientiously waver on their policy that the tire was not repairable. They made the customers eyewitnesses to the injury outside the repair area by showing them the tire and the RMA guidelines. The customers agreed that safety was their primary concern as well, and that’s why they chose to do business with this shop and…they are customers to this day. Finance options were discussed, transportation was provided, and a sale was made, although it all started with “I’m sorry, we can’t do that.”

Does your shop have a policy and a procedure for tire repair?  

We can help you with:

  1. RMA policy
  2. Procedure video with a quiz to help you train current and new employees that join your staff
  3. Tools to do the job right
  4. Related items like wheel weights and TPMS equipment

By: Jim May, Mighty & Lube-Tech Business Development

This story originally appeared in Mighty Pro

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