Recent developments have put the Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS) and the Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVIC) fates in question. A series of back-to-back controversies -including the implementation of a child seat law- has resulted in President Duterte stepping in and making the announcement that MVIS is no longer mandatory for registration renewal.

While the matter gets settled within the government -specifically the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO)- with regards to MVIS, there is a new issue that needs addressing. This time, it's an objection made by an association of companies that deal in tires.

Tire companies speak up: MVIS 5-year max tire age unfair, negligent image

The Tire Importers and Traders Association of the Philippines (TITAP), a group comprised of nearly all the major tire brands in the country (e.x. Bridgestone, Michelin, Yokohama, Goodyear, etc.), has just sent a letter to DOTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade about specific provisions in the MVIS testing guidelines. Specifically, they were concerned about the prescribed tire life in the guidelines, wherein a tire that is five years or older will yield a fail upon inspection.

In their letter, TITAP says that “mandating said age will not be commercially coherent” going so far as to say that it is “unfair” and “negligent”. TITAP cited that modern tire technology that includes polymers, aramids, and other compounds has improved the lifespan, integrity, and strength of tires. If stored properly in covered warehouses, TITAP says that brand new tires have almost unlimited shelf life.

TITAP also cites the U.S. NHTSA as saying that tires that are mounted properly, and well maintained can be used for six years safely. A lifespan of 10 years from the date of manufacture has also been cited. The organization further argues that the tread wear indicator -not necessarily age- is the proper basis for tire performance.

Tire companies speak up: MVIS 5-year max tire age unfair, negligent image

The organization was concerned because tire companies are allowed to import tires manufactured five years prior, meaning some dealers still have brand new tires in stock that were made in 2015. TITAP says that if the MVIS policy was enforced to the letter, companies can lose up to hundreds of millions of pesos due to the stocks they still have, leading to further financial strain, up to and including bankruptcy.

What the tire companies are asking the DOTr is to conduct a further study on how to address the tire-related matters of MVIS, stating that it is a “well-intended policy but not without loopholes”.

TITAP is also asking the DOTr to address another matter such as making illegal the trade of used tires from local sources. Sometimes when a motorist has their vehicle's tires replaced, the shop offers a small trade-in value for their existing tires. TITAP says these tires are already unsafe and yet find their way back on the road.

Currently, MVIS is in limbo given President Duterte's announcement, but if the overall situation improves (including the economic impacts of the quarantines) and they look at making MVIS mandatory again, it would do well if all the gaps and issues with the program have been plugged and ironed out.

It also begs the question: what about the recapped tires on trucks and jeepneys?