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

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Acura TSX

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

Claude H. Harris
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
July 22, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 140 (Monday, July 22, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 43965-43967]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-17427]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2012-0147; Notice 1]


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

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Receipt of petition.

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SUMMARY: American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (Honda) \1\ has determined that 
the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) low tire pressure warning 
for certain model year (MY) 2011 and 2012 Acura TSX passenger cars 
equipped with accessory 18-inch diameter wheels sold at Honda 
dealerships do not comply with paragraph S4.2(a) of Federal Motor 
Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 138 Tire Pressure Monitoring 
Systems. Honda has filed an appropriate report dated September 27, 
2012, pursuant to 49 CFR Part 573, Defect and

[[Page 43966]]

Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.
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    \1\ American Honda Motor Co., Inc. is manufacturer of motor 
vehicles and is registered under the laws of the state of 
California.
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    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule 
at 49 CFR part 556), Honda submitted a petition 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.
    This notice of receipt of Honda's petition is published under 49 
U.S.C. 30118 and 30120 and does not represent any agency decision or 
other exercise of judgment concerning the merits of the petition.
    Vehicles involved: Affected are approximately 212 model years 2011 
and 2012 Acura TSX passenger cars equipped with accessory 18-inch 
diameter wheels sold at Honda dealerships.
    NHTSA notes that the statutory provisions (49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 
30120(h)) that permit manufacturers to file petitions for a 
determination of inconsequentiality allow NHTSA to exempt manufacturers 
only from the duties found in sections 30118 and 30120, respectively, 
to notify owners, purchasers, and dealers of a defect or noncompliance 
and to remedy the defect or noncompliance. Therefore, these provisions 
only apply to the subject 212 \2\ vehicles that Honda no longer 
controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed.
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    \2\ Honda's petition, which was filed under 49 CFR part 556, 
requests an agency decision to exempt Honda as a motor vehicle 
manufacturer from the notification and recall responsibilities of 49 
CFR part 573 for the affected vehicles. However, a decision on this 
petition cannot relieve vehicle distributors and dealers of the 
prohibitions on the sale, offer for sale, introduction or delivery 
for introduction into interstate commerce of the noncompliant motor 
vehicles under their control after Honda notified them that the 
subject noncompliance existed.
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    Noncompliance: Honda explains that the noncompliance is that when 
the accessory wheels and tires are installed on the subject vehicles, 
the preset TPMS warning level cannot be adjusted to warn at a higher 
cold inflation pressure for the accessory tires. The TPMS system on 
these vehicles is set for the OEM 17-inch diameter wheels with 
recommended 230kPa (33psi), not the accessory 18-inch wheels with 
recommended 260kPa (38psi).
    The TPMS warning level is based on the OEM tires, which is no lower 
than 183kPa (26.5psi), while the accessory wheel should be set to warn 
at no lower than 204kPa (29.5psi). Therefore, the vehicles do not 
comply with paragraph S4.2(a) of FMVSS No. 138.
    Rule text: Paragraph S4.2(a) of FMVSS No. 138 requires in pertinent 
part:

    S4.2 TPMS detection requirements. The tire pressure monitoring 
system must:
    (a) Illuminate a low tire pressure warning telltale not more 
than 20 minutes after the inflation pressure in one or more of the 
vehicle's tires, up to a total of four tires, is equal to or less 
than either the pressure 25 percent below the vehicle manufacturer's 
recommended cold inflation pressure, or the pressure specified in 
the 3rd column of Table 1 of this standard for the corresponding 
type of tire, whichever is higher;

Summary of Honda's Analysis and Arguments

    A total of approximately 848 wheels, or 212 complete wheel sets, 
were sold to Acura dealerships by Honda between November 2010 and April 
2012. These wheels were sold with a replacement tire pressure placard, 
in accordance with the requirements of FMVSS No. 110 ``Tire Selection 
and Rims'', indicating an inflation pressure of 260kPa (38psi) for the 
recommended 225/45ZR 18 tire size with an 95Y load capacity rating. 
There have been no reports of crashes, injuries or death as a result of 
the accessory tire being used with the standard TPMS threshold.
    After the beginning of retail sales of 2012 model year Acura TSX 
models Honda discovered that the recommended electronic method of 
updating the TPMS setting for these accessory wheels would incorrectly 
inform technicians that the adjustments had been completed 
successfully. The result is that the TPMS warning threshold remains at 
the standard setting for the OEM 17-inch diameter wheels of not less 
than 183kPa (26.5psi) for the standard recommended tire pressure of 
230kPa (33psi). The minimum allowable TPMS threshold for the 18-inch 
diameter accessory wheels would be 193kPA (28psi), based on the 
recommended pressure of 260kPa (38psi) as indicated on the tire 
pressure placard.
    Honda believes that this noncompliance is inconsequential to motor 
vehicle safety because even at the lower TPMS threshold, adequate load 
capacity remains for the tires on these vehicles. Honda indicated that 
it also conducted dynamic testing to confirm that the handling and 
stability of the vehicle is not adversely affected at the lower 
pressures.
    The maximum load capacity for each of the P225/45ZR 18 95Y tires 
for this vehicle is 575 kilograms (1,268 lbs) at 230kPa (33psi), 
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 
2011 or 2012 Acura TSX is 546.6 kilograms (1,207.2 lbs) for each front 
tire and 514.9 kilograms (1,135 lbs) for each rear tire, well within 
the load capacity specified by JATMA.
    At 80% of the lower pressure for the OEM 17-inch tires (230kPa 
(33psi), as opposed to the 260kPa (38psi) recommended on the tire 
pressure placard for the 18-inch accessory tires), the low tire 
pressure indicator will illuminate at 183kPa (26.5psi).
    Honda has additionally informed NHTSA that it has corrected the 
noncompliance so that all future vehicles will comply with FMVSS No. 
138.
    In summation, 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.
    Comments: Interested persons are invited to submit written data, 
views, and arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the 
docket and notice number cited at the beginning of this notice and be 
submitted by any of the following methods:
    a. By mail addressed to: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket 
Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.
    b. By hand delivery to U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket 
Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. The Docket Section is open on 
weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Federal Holidays.
    c. Electronically: by logging onto the Federal Docket Management 
System (FDMS) Web site at http://www.regulations.gov/. Follow the 
online instructions for submitting comments. Comments may also be faxed 
to 1-202-493-2251.
    Comments must be written in the English language, and be no greater 
than 15 pages in length, although there is no limit to the length of 
necessary attachments to the comments. If comments are submitted in 
hard copy form, please ensure that two copies are provided. If you wish 
to receive confirmation that your comments were received, please 
enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard with the comments.

[[Page 43967]]

Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.
    Documents submitted to a docket may be viewed by anyone at the 
address and times given above. The documents may also be viewed on the 
Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by following the online 
instructions for accessing the dockets. DOT's complete Privacy Act 
Statement is available for review in the Federal Register published on 
April 11, 2000, (65 FR 19477-78).
    The petition, supporting materials, and all comments received 
before the close of business on the closing date indicated below will 
be filed and will be considered. All comments and supporting materials 
received after the closing date will also be filed and will be 
considered to the extent possible. When the petition is granted or 
denied, notice of the decision will be published in the Federal 
Register pursuant to the authority indicated below.
    Comment Closing Date: August 21, 2013.

    Authority:  (49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: delegations of authority at 
49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8)

    Issued on: July 9, 2013.
Claude H. Harris,
 Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2013-17427 Filed 7-19-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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