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American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Honda Civic

American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Claude H. Harris
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
July 23, 2012


[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 141 (Monday, July 23, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 43145-43146]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-17892]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2009-0084; Notice 2]


American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Grant of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Notice of petition grant.

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SUMMARY: American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (Honda), has determined that 
certain 2008 and 2009 model year Honda Civic Si model passenger cars 
when equipped with dealer accessory 18-inch diameter wheels do not 
fully comply with paragraph S4.2(a) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standard (FMVSS) No. 138, Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems. Honda filed 
an appropriate report dated December 3, 2008, pursuant to 49 CFR part 
573 Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.
    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and the rule 
implementing those provisions at 49 CFR Part 556, Honda has petitioned 
for an exemption from the notification and remedy requirements of 49 
U.S.C. Chapter 301 on the basis that this noncompliance is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Notice of receipt of the 
petition was published, with a 30-day public comment period, on May 12, 
2009 in the Federal Register (74 FR 22202). No comments were received. 
To view the petition, and supporting documents log onto the Federal 
Docket Management System (FDMS) Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online search instructions to 
locate docket number ``NHTSA-2009-0084.''
    For further information on this decision contact Mr. John Finneran, 
Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, the National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone (202)366-0645, facsimile (202) 
366-5930.
    Vehicles involved: The exact number of vehicles involved is not 
known. However, a total of approximately 952 wheels, or 238 complete 
wheel sets, were sold to Honda dealerships by Honda between July, 2006 
and September, 2008. These wheel sets were sold with a replacement tire 
pressure placard in accordance with FMVSS No. 110, indicating a tire 
inflation pressure of 250 kPa (36 PSI) for 215/40RZ18 tires having a 
load capacity rating of 85Y.
    Noncompliance: Honda explains that the noncompliance occurred 
because the recommended electronic method of updating the TPMS 
inflation pressure settings to accommodate proper installation of the 
subject optional wheel sets incorrectly informed technicians that the 
adjustments had been completed successfully. The result is that the 
TPMS inflation pressure warning threshold remains at the standard 
setting for the original equipment 17-inch wheels of not less than 175 
kPa (25 PSI) for the standard recommended tire pressure of 230 kPa (33 
PSI). The minimum allowable TPMS threshold for the 18-inch accessory 
wheels should be 190 kPa (27 PSI), based on the recommended pressure of 
250 kPa (36 PSI) as indicated on the replacement tire pressure placard. 
As a result, the low tire pressure warning telltale required by S4.2(a) 
will not illuminate at the 27 PSI minimum allowable TPMS threshold 
necessitated by installation of the dealer accessory wheels and tires.

Summary of Honda's Analysis and Arguments

    Honda stated that it believes the noncompliance is inconsequential 
to motor vehicle safety because even at the lower TPMS threshold, 
adequate load capacity remains for the tires on the subject vehicles. 
Along with this statement Honda explained that the load capacity for 
each of the 215/40RZ18 85Y tires is 500 kilograms (1,100 lbs) at 230 
kPa (33 PSI), calculated using the Japan Automotive Tyre Manufacturer's 
Association (JATMA) method, as recognized by NHTSA in FMVSS No. 110. 
The maximum allowable load according to the Gross Axle Weight Ratings 
(GAWR) for a 2008 or 2009 Civic Si is 477 kilograms (1,050 lbs) for 
each front tire and 425 kilograms (938 lbs) for each rear tire, well 
within the load capacity specified by JATMA.
    Honda believes that the described noncompliance of its vehicles is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and that its petition, to 
exempt from providing recall notification of noncompliance as required 
by 49 U.S.C. 30118 and remedying the recall noncompliance as required 
by 49 U.S.C. 30120 should be granted.

NHTSA's Decision

    NHTSA's Analysis: For the agency's analysis of this petition the 
requirements of three associated Federal motor vehicle safety standards 
(FMVSS) were evaluated. First, as relates to FMVSS No. 110, we agree 
with Honda's statement that the 18-inch diameter tires have adequate 
load carrying capacity for the gross axle weight ratings assigned to 
any of the subject vehicles equipped with the dealer-installed tires. 
Two

[[Page 43146]]

corresponding requirements exist in FMVSS No. 110 for passenger cars, 
S4.2.1.1, which states ``[t]he vehicle maximum load on the tire shall 
not be greater than the applicable maximum load rating as marked on the 
sidewall of the tire'' and S4.3.4, requires that ``No inflation 
pressure other than the maximum permissible inflation pressure may be 
shown on the placard and, if any, tire inflation pressure label 
unless--(c) The tire load rating specified in a submission by an 
individual manufacturer, pursuant to S4.1.1(a) of Sec.  571.139 or 
contained in one of the publications described in S4.1.1(b) of Sec.  
571.139, for the tire size at that inflation pressure is not less than 
the vehicle maximum load and the vehicle normal load on the tire for 
those vehicle loading conditions. We asked Honda for data for fully 
loaded vehicles. Honda provided the maximum weight on the front and 
rear axles with the vehicles loaded to capacity weight, and we 
calculated the weight per tire assuming an equal distribution between 
the tires:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                         Front axle               Front axle/2                Rear axle                Rear axle/2
                      Model                      -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                       kg           lb           kg           lb           kg           lb           kg           lb
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2-door..........................................          930         2050          465         1025          805         1774          402          887
4-door..........................................          950         2094          475         1047          830         1830          415          915
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The 18-inch tires at the maximum load rating on the sidewall of the 
tires and at the recommended inflation pressures of 33 psi or 36 psi 
specified on the FMVSS No. 110 vehicle placards appear to meet the two 
FMVSS No. 110 requirements identified above.
    We then turned our attention to FMVSS No. 138. FMVSS No. 138 does 
not require the TPMS telltale activation pressure to be set at a level 
such that the tires at that pressure will have a load rating 
appropriate for the vehicle when loaded to its capacity weight.\1\ The 
standard requires the TPMS activation pressure to be the value at 25 
percent below the manufacturer's recommended cold inflation pressure or 
140kPa (from table 1 in FMVSS No. 138), whichever is higher. For the 
subject 18-inch tires, as discussed in the previous paragraph under the 
requirements of FMVSS No. 110, Honda could have specified a recommended 
cold inflation pressure of 33 psi or the 36 psi and either pressure 
would have been appropriate for the vehicles maximum load on the tires. 
Twenty-five percent below either of these recommended inflation 
pressures would have been appropriate under the requirements of FMVSS 
No. 138.
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    \1\ See Federal Register Notice 70 FR 18138, 18146 (April 8, 
2005) describing NHTSA's testing of a variety of Standard Load P-
metric tires at 20 psi with 100 percent load, and no tires failed. 
``This testing led the agency to conclude that warnings of less 
severe conditions [i.e., in Honda's case 25 psi] will give drivers 
sufficient time to check and re-inflate their vehicles' tires before 
the tires experience appreciable damage.''
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    Finally, as relates to FMVSS No. 139, we examined the low inflation 
pressure performance test required by that standard. FMVSS No. 139 
specifies a low inflation pressure performance test in which the tire 
is loaded to its maximum tire load capacity and inflated to only 140kPa 
(20 psi), less than the TPMS telltale activation pressure for the 
subject vehicles. Although NHTSA did not test a sample of the 18-inch 
tire to FMVSS No. 139, tire manufacturers are required to certify that 
the tires meet all applicable requirements of the standard, evidenced 
by labeling each tire with the letters ``DOT.''
    NHTSA's Conclusion: Honda is asking the agency to determine that 
its noncompliance be deemed inconsequential to safety because it 
believes the 18-inch tires have adequate load capacity at the 36 psi 
recommended inflation pressure for these tires and at the lower 33 psi 
recommended inflation pressure for the 17-inch tire being replaced. 
NHTSA's analysis determined that Honda was correct in its assessment. 
Furthermore, FMVSS No. 138 does not include a minimum tire load rating 
margin requirement at the TPMS activation pressure thus a 25 percent 
below either pressure would be appropriate under the standard's 
requirements. NHTSA's analysis also noted that the subject tires must 
be certified to the low inflation pressure performance testing of FMVSS 
No. 139 which is conducted at an inflation pressure further below the 
subject tires TPMS activation inflation pressures. Finally, we 
conducted a search of the agency's Office of Defects Investigation's 
complaint data base and found no complaints associated directly with 
the incorrect TPMS activation inflation pressure thresholds for the 
2008 and 2009 Honda Civic vehicles.
    NHTSA's Decision: In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has 
determined that Honda has adequately demonstrated, under the specific 
facts and circumstances presented here, that the noncompliance with 
FMVSS No. 138 in the case of 2008 and 2009 2-door and 4-door Civic SI 
vehicles is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, 
Honda's petition is granted and the petitioner is exempted from the 
obligation of providing notification of, and a remedy for, that 
noncompliance under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120.

    Authority:  (49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: Delegations of authority at 
CFR 1.50 and 501.8).

    Issued on: July 17, 2012.
Claude H. Harris,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2012-17892 Filed 7-20-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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