Auto Service World
Feature   February 1, 2007   by Tom Venetis, Editor

Paul Hyatt takes the helm of Tire Industry Association

First non-US president of the organization looks to make 2007 the Year of the International Tire Dealer

As the first non-US president of the Tire Industry Association (TIA), Paul Hyatt is looking to make his tenure as president of the international association around strengthening ties between TIA and local and regional tire associations and getting more training into the hands of Canadian tire dealers and independent service providers.

TIA is an association representing the various segments of the tire industry, from manufacturers, repair, recycle, sales and service to those supplying equipment, material and services to the tire industry. Formed in 2002 from the merger of the International Tire and Rubber Association and the Tire Association of North America, TIA provides various training and certification programs that can be used from tire dealers to independent service providers. The position of president of TIA is a one-year term.

Hyatt himself has a long history in the tire industry in Canada, owning and being president of Superior Tire and Auto, a 65 year old chain of eight stores in southern Ontario, and being past-president of the Ontario Tire Dealers Association (OTDA) and the Tire Dealers Association of Canada (TDAC).

One of Hyatt’s first goals as president is getting TIA’s training programs into Canada.

“Training is so important, not just because we should have people trained, but training is important for the consumer, and it is important for the survival of the garage,” Hyatt said.

Working with the OTDA, TIA will be offering its Automotive Tire Service (ATS) certification course, with TIA trainers coming to Canada. This is the first time such training will be offered directly in Canada.

“If someone wanted to take a course, we would have to send that person down to the States,” Hyatt added. “TIA has long been recognized as the leader in training and TIA is going to continue to develop more training programs for tire dealers and service providers.”

More information can be found about these training programs on TIA’s website

The ATS course will be offered in mid-March, with two types of TIA certification available — Instructor Certification and Technician Certification. Along with ATS, Hyatt is looking to have OTDA offer TIA’s Commercial Tire Service (CTS) training program and to have more of TIA’s training programs and information available in French for the Quebec market; and to have TIA reach out and work with Quebec-based local tire organizations.

But training is only one part of a larger set of goals Hyatt has for TIA. Training goes hand-in-hand, according to Hyatt, with the Right-to-Repair and getting the issue out in front of Canada’s Members of Parliament and consumers. For Hyatt, Right-to-Repair is more than simply making sure all Canadian service providers have a level playing field with their counterparts in the dealer’s service bays, of having access to the latest diagnostic information and tools. It is about preserving the Canadian’s right to take their vehicle to a qualified, well-trained and certified technician of their choice.

When he spoke before a Parliamentary Standing Committee examining the issue of Right-to-Repair recently, Hyatt was impressed that members of the committee were asking many questions about what the Right-to-Repair issue means for Canadian consumers.

“One of many arguments to them was that the automobile dealers are a good choice to take your car to; but you want to take it there because you want to, not because you have to,” he added. “Dealerships down the street will need the same information that service providers will need. When someone who has a Ford drives into a Chrysler dealership for service that Chrysler dealer’s technicians are going to need to have access to the same information as the independent service provider. This will be especially important to people living in rural areas and those dealers and service providers there.”

Hyatt will also be putting great effort in getting programs off the ground that will help educate the consumer about tires and safety. One such program TIA is working to launch is the Tire Initiative for Research, Education and Safety (TIRES). The program would fund consumer education programs and be administered by an independent third-party, with funds coming from the tire sales.

“We can also educate people on tire inflation and the improved gas mileage you get with proper tire inflation and points of tire wear and safety,” Hyatt said. “What many don’t realize is that you have a two-tonne vehicle that has four points of contact, each a footprint the size of your hand, on the road which provides all the steering and stopping. The consumer has to be made aware of the intricacies of a tire, the technology and research that go into the manufacture of a tire. For example, the tread of a tire today can have up to three different compounds in its manufacture.”

The same goes for winter tires. Hyatt believes consumers need to be informed that winter tires are not just for when the snow starts to cover the roads. When the temperature drops below zero, winter tires provide improved safety as they are designed to have better traction on the road in cold weather.

Hyatt is also working to have TIA, through its Members Service Committee, develop a TIA Certified Store program. This program would not substitute or replace any other certification program offered by other associations, or banner certification programs offered by other service providers. Instead, the TIA Certified Store program would recognize a tire dealer or independent service providers that met or exceeded accepted industry best practices, for example, in customer service and training.

“This program is not going to be a threat to any other program or certification out there,” Hyatt added. “What TIA wants is to encourage best practices and the only thing TIA is threatening is incompetence and un-professionalism.”

He also added “The real winners will be the service providers who have focused on staff training and updating their equipment.”

ATS Certification Curriculum

* Basic principles of tire construction, sizing and sidewall information

* Vehicle lifting procedures using above-ground and portable equipment

* Tire and wheel assembly removal and installation, including rotation patterns

* Wheel fastener torque procedures and guidelines

* Step-by-step demount and mount procedures using a centre-post and rim-clamp tire changing machine

* Tire and wheel assembly balancing procedures

* Diagnosing tire and wheel problems

* Step-by-step procedures for installing one-piece and two-piece nail hole repair units

* Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems

* Rubber Manufacturers Association passenger and light truck tire service guidelines and information bulletins

* Automotive Lift Institute Life Point Guide and lift inspection guidelines

* Tire and Rim Association load and inflation tables and tire dimension charts