NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION
400 Seventh Street, SW
Washington, DC 20590

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In Re: Tire Reserve Pressure )
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SPECIAL ORDER

Information Requested from Vehicle Manufacturers to Address Questions on Tire Reserve Loading


    To:

    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30166(g) and 49 CFR Part 510, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issues this Special Order to [COMPANY NAME] (Vehicle Manufacturer). This Special Order relates to NHTSA's consideration of amendments to its Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards relating to tires. Under 49 U.S.C. 30166(g) and 49 CFR Part 510, Vehicle Manufacturer is required to provide complete and accurate information as specified below.

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Clearance Number for this collection of information is 2127-0623.


    INSTRUCTIONS

    The Response of Vehicle Manufacturer to this Special Order must be accompanied by a notarized affidavit, signed by the responsible corporate official, stating that she has caused the records of Vehicle Manufacturer to be searched for information responsive to this Special Order, and that the answers furnished to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration respond accurately and fully to this Special Order.

    The information provided in response to this Special Order must be derived from any and all information known to, or in the possession of, Vehicle Manufacturer. Vehicle Manufacturer is not required to conduct any tests or physical measurements to respond to the specifications in this Special Order. However, Vehicle Manufacturer is required to perform any calculations or analyses necessary to derive responses to the specifications in this Special Order from documents or other data already in Vehicle Manufacturer's possession.

    Each interrogatory in this Special Order must be answered separately and fully, in writing and under oath.

    All data furnished in response to this order must be provided in electronic form and shall be submitted in the template (compatible with Microsoft Excel 2000), provided with this order. All fields of the spreadsheet submitted to the agency shall be calculable.

    If Vehicle Manufacturer, after exercising due diligence to secure the full information to do so, cannot respond to any interrogatory or portion thereof, please 1) answer to the extent possible and indicate your inability to answer the remainder, or 2) indicate that the information is "unavailable," or "not applicable (N/A)." When data would not, standing alone, be self-explanatory, the production of data shall be supplemented and accompanied by explanation.

    If Vehicle Manufacturer changed product configurations or suppliers during the course of a particular model year, state the effective date of any such change and answer all applicable specifications separately for each such configuration or supplier.

    All measurements furnished in response to the specifications in this Special Order shall be stated in metric and/or English/imperial units. The unit of measurement used shall be specified and used consistently within each response to each interrogatory.

    Any tire pressure identified for LT tires shall be based on the "de-rated" value of the tire, as per S5.1.2 of FMVSS No. 120.

    Should you claim a privilege with respect to any information that is requested by any of the following Special Order, describe such items in sufficient detail to provide justification for the claim. Each claim of privilege must specify in detail all the grounds on which it rests. If Vehicle Manufacturer claims that any of the information submitted in response to this Special Order constitutes confidential commercial material within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 552 (b) (4), or is protected from disclosure pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 1905, an affidavit must be provided in support of such claim, including a statement of the competitive harm that Vehicle Manufacturer believes would occur if the information were released to the public.

    Unless otherwise indicated, the following Special Order shall refer to the period from model year 1996 to model year 2002.

    Vehicle Manufacturer's response must be submitted not later than March 24, 2003 to Ms. Nancy Bell (NCC-112), Room 5219, NHTSA, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590.

    Should you find that in order for Vehicle Manufacturer to respond fully and accurately to the information requests below your company requires information from another individual or company (e.g., supplier, manufacturer), except a tire manufacturer, Vehicle Manufacturer is required to request that information from that source. If, as a result, you require additional time to respond to a particular information request contained within the Special Order, you may request an extension of time to respond to that information request from Ms. Bell at the address above. Any such request must include an identification of the particular information request for which that extension is sought, together with information identifying the date Vehicle Manufacturer requested that additional information, and the date by which an answer is expected. Should you have any questions, Ms. Bell may be reached on (202) 366-2992.

    Confidentiality requests must be submitted, in accordance with 49 CFR Part 512, to Ms. Heidi Coleman, Assistant Chief Counsel for Traffic Injury Control & General Law (NCC-113), Room 5219, NHTSA, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590.


    DEFINITIONS

    For the purpose of this special order, including the instructions thereto, the terms listed below are defined as follows:

    "[COMPANY NAME]" ("Vehicle Manufacturer") means the named respondent/recipient to whom this special order is addressed, including all of its past or present divisions, headquarters, regional, zone and other offices, subsidiaries, affiliates, contractors, agents or attorneys thereof.

    "Accessory weight" means the combined weight (in excess of those standard items which may be replaced) of automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seats, radio, and heater, to the extent that these items are available as factory-installed equipment (whether installed or not).

    "And" as well as "or" shall be construed disjunctively or conjunctively as necessary to bring within this Special Order any information which may otherwise be construed to be out of their scope.

    "Bead" means the part of the tire that is made of steel wires, wrapped or reinforced by ply cords and that is shaped to fit the rim.

    "Bead separation" means a breakdown of the bond between components in the bead.

    "Carcass" means the tire structure, except tread and sidewall rubber which, when inflated, bears the load.

    "Chunking" means the breaking away of pieces of the tread or sidewall.

    "Claim" means a written request or written demand for relief, including money or other compensation, assumption of expenditures, or equitable relief, related to a motor vehicle crash, accident, the failure of a component or system of a vehicle or an item of motor vehicle equipment, or a fire originating in or from a motor vehicle or a substance that leaked from a motor vehicle. Claim includes, but is not limited to, a demand in the absence of a lawsuit, a complaint initiating a lawsuit, an assertion or notice of litigation, a settlement, covenant not to sue or release of liability in the absence of a written demand, and a subrogation request. A claim exists regardless of any denial or refusal to pay it, and regardless of whether it has been settled or resolved in the manufacturer's favor. The existence of a claim may not be conditioned on the receipt of anything beyond the document(s) stating a claim. Claim does not include demands related to asbestos exposure, to emissions of volatile organic compounds from vehicle interiors, or to end-of-life disposal of vehicles, parts or components of vehicles, equipment, or parts or components of equipment.  

    "Cord" means the strands forming the plies in the tire.

    "Cord separation" means the parting of cords from adjacent rubber compounds.

    "Cracking" means any parting within the tread, sidewall, or inner liner of the tire extending to cord material.

    "Curb weight" means the weight of a motor vehicle with standard equipment including the maximum capacity of fuel, oil, and coolant, and, if so equipped, air conditioning and additional weight optional engine.

    "FMVSS No. 110," means Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 110, as in effect (with applicable amendments) for vehicles/tires manufactured during the model year covered by a response.

    "Gross axle weight rating" or "GAWR" means the value specified by the Vehicle Manufacturer as the load-carrying capacity of a single axle system as measured at the tire-ground interfaces.

    "Gross vehicle weight rating" or "GVWR" means the value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a single vehicle.

    "Innerliner" means the layer(s) forming the inside surface of a tubeless tire that contains the inflating medium within the tire.

    "Innerliner separation" means the parting of the innerliner from cord material in the carcass.

    "Light vehicle" means vehicles, except motorcycles, with a gross vehicle weight rating of (GVWR) or 10,000 pounds or less.

    "Load rating" means the maximum load that a tire is rated to carry for a given inflation pressure.

    "Maximum load rating" means the load rating for a tire at the maximum permissible inflation pressure for that tire.

    "Maximum permissible inflation pressure" means the maximum cold inflation pressure to which a tire may be inflated.

    "Normal occupant weight" means 68 kilograms times the number of occupants specified in the second column of the following table:


    Designated seating
    capacity, number of
    occupants
    Vehicle normal load,
    number of occupants
    Occupant distribution
    in a normally loaded vehicle
    2 through 4 2 2 in front
    5 through 10 3 2 in front, 1 in second seat
    11 through 15 5 2 in front, 1 in second seat, 1 in third seat, 1 in fourth seat
    16 through 22 7 2 in front, 2 in second seat, 2 in third seat, 1 in fourth seat

    "Occupant distribution" means distribution of occupants in a vehicle as specified in the third column of the table listed under "Normal occupant weight."

    "Open splice" means any parting at any junction of tread, sidewall, or innerliner that extends to cord material.

    "Original Equipment (OE)" means the part and/or accessory, including full-size spare tires, installed by the Vehicle Manufacturer at the factory.

    "Ply" means a layer of rubber-coated parallel cords.

    "Ply separation" means a parting of rubber compound between adjacent plies.

    "Pneumatic tire" means a mechanical device made of rubber, chemicals, fabric and steel or other materials that, when mounted on an automotive wheel, provides the traction and contains the gas or fluid that sustains the load.

    "Radial ply tire" means a pneumatic tire in which the ply cords that extend to the beads are laid at substantially 90 degrees to the centerline of the tread.

    "Sidewall" means that portion of a tire between the tread and bead.

    "Sidewall separation" means the parting of the rubber compound from the cord material in the sidewall.

    "TIN" means "tire identification number" as specified in 49 CFR 574.5.

    "Tire" means a pneumatic, radial ply tire.

    "Tire Failure" means the following:

    1. belt-to-belt separation,
    2. belt edge separation,
    3. sudden loss of inflation pressure,
    4. separation of tread, sidewall, ply cord, inner liner, or bead,
    5. chunking,
    6. broken cords,
    7. cracking, and
    8. open splices.

    "Tire Size" means tire size designation, service description, and load identification as per the 2002 publications of one of the organizations listed in S4.4.1(b) of FMVSS No. 109 or S5.1(b) of FMVSS No. 119.

    "Tread" means that portion of a tire that comes into contact with the road.

    "Tread separation" means pulling away of the tread from the tire carcass.

    "Vehicle" means "motor vehicle" as defined in 49 U.S.C. 30102.

    "Vehicle normal load" on the tire means that load on an individual tire that is determined by distributing to each axle its share of the curb weight, accessory weight, and normal occupant weight (distributed in accordance with the table listed under "Normal occupant weight.") and dividing by the number of tires on the axle.

    "Vehicle-tire group" means a category of vehicle which contains the identical specifications for the following identifiers: vehicle make; vehicle model; model year; number of doors; number of drive wheels; gross-axle weight rating; make/model and size(s) of original equipment tires on each axle; and, recommended inflation pressure for tires on each axle.

    "VIN" means "vehicle identification number" as specified in 49 CFR 565.6.

    "You" or "your," means the named respondent to whom this Special Order is addressed.


    INTERROGATORIES

    Identify all light vehicle "vehicle-tire groups" manufactured and/or produced and/or imported by you for sale in the United States for model years 1996 through 2002. For each vehicle-tire group, provide the following information:

    1. Vehicle make,
    2. Vehicle model,
    3. Model year,
    4. Number of drive wheels,
    5. Vehicle curb weight per axle,
    6. Vehicle normal load per axle,
    7. GVWR,
    8. GAWR for front axle,
    9. GAWR for rear axle,
    10. Number of tires on axle,
    11. OE tire make per axle,
    12. OE tire model per axle,
    13. OE tire size per axle,
    14. OE tire maximum load rating per axle,
    15. Number of vehicles produced in this "vehicle-tire group,"
    16. Tire pressure per axle, consistent with the tables in the 2002 publications of one of the organizations listed in S4.4.1(b) of FMVSS No. 109 or S5.1(b) of FMVSS No. 119, required to support curb weight of vehicles in the identified "vehicle-tire group" (if the tire pressure is below that specified in the aforementioned tables, provide that tire pressure calculated using a methodology consistent with the aforementioned tables),
    17. Tire pressure per axle, consistent with the tables in the 2002 publications of one of the organizations listed in S4.4.1(b) of FMVSS No. 109 or S5.1(b) of FMVSS No. 119, required to support vehicle normal load of vehicles in the identified "vehicle-tire group" (if the tire pressure is below that specified in the aforementioned tables, provide that tire pressure calculated using a methodology consistent with the aforementioned tables),
    18. Tire pressure per axle, consistent with the tables in the 2002 publications of one of the organizations listed in S4.4.1(b) of FMVSS No. 109 or S5.1(b) of FMVSS No. 119, required to support the GAWR of vehicles in the identified "vehicle-tire group" (if the tire pressure is below that specified in the aforementioned tables, provide that tire pressure calculated using a methodology consistent with the aforementioned tables),
    19. Vehicle Manufacturer's recommended cold tire inflation pressure, per axle, for maximum loaded vehicle weight,
    20. Whether the OE tire, per axle, has ever been subject to: a recall action or investigation, whether or not pursuant to 49 USC 30118; and/or, any program or campaign related to "tire failure" pursuant to which free replacement, any form of credit, and/or a prorated amount was offered for the tire, and
    21. All "Claims" related to OE "Tire Failure." Include the following information:
      1. State of vehicle registration of the vehicle on which the tire that is the subject of the claim was installed,
      2. "Tire Failure" incident date or, if unavailable, date of notice of "Tire Failure" (please specify),
      3. State in which the "Tire Failure" incident occurred,
      4. Tire make/model and tire size of the tire that is the subject of the claim,
      5. TIN of the tire that is subject of the claim,
      6. VIN of the vehicle on which the tire that is the subject of the claim was installed,
      7. Number of tires on axle and position of tire on the vehicle (e.g., "left rear," and "inner" or "outer" tire if dual sets of tires on axle) on which the tire that is the subject of the claim was installed,
      8. Vehicle Manufacturer's opinion about the alleged failure mode and cause (from the list of 8 failure modes/causes listed under the definition of "tire failure," specify all failure modes and causes that apply), and
      9. Vehicle mileage on the vehicle on which the tire that is subject of the claim was installed at the time of incident.


    Dated: January __, 2003

     

    ____________________________
    John Womack
    Assistant Chief Counsel
    Office of the Chief Counsel (NCC-110)
    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,
    400 Seventh Street, SW
    Room 5219
    Washington, DC 20590