7350 N.W. 35th Street
Miami, FL 33122
Dear Mr. Sacks:
This responds to your letter to Mr. Philip Recht, our former Chief Counsel, in which you stated that you are considering importing tires from the Hangzhou General Rubber Factory, which has been assigned NHTSA manufacturer identification number 7D. You stated that the tires do not display the "molded D.O.T. code numbers," and that Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) No. 119, New pneumatic tires for motor vehicles other than passenger cars (49 CFR 571.119), "clearly does not require [DOT code numbers] for non- passenger tires." Your reading of FMVSS No. 119 is not correct.
I assume from your letter that you are considering importing only non-passenger car tires. This letter, then, will address only the labeling requirements for non-passenger car tires under FMVSS No. 119 and 49 CFR 574. I further assume that by "DOT code numbers" you mean the tire identification number (TIN) required by 49 CFR 574.5.
49 U.S. Code '30112 provides that no person may sell in or import into the United States any new motor vehicle or new item of motor vehicle equipment that does not comply with all applicable FMVSSs. With respect to non-passenger car tires, which are items of motor vehicle equipment, section S6.5 of FMVSS No. 119 requires specific items of information to be marked on the tire sidewalls. Those markings must be no less than 0.078 inch high and must be "raised above or sunk below the tire surface" a specified distance. Among other things, the markings must include the TIN (S6.5(b)).
Paragraph S6.5(b) of FMVSS No. 119 requires the TIN to comply with part 574. Part 574.5 requires that the TIN be permanently molded into or onto tire sidewalls as specified in Figure 1 of Part 574, and specifies what information the TIN must contain. The TIN can be branded into or onto the sidewalls of retreaded tires after the fact, but not new tires. On new tires, the TIN must be molded into or onto the tire sidewalls by the original manufacturer.
I hope this information is helpful to you. Should you have any further questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact Walter Myers of my staff at this address or at (202) 366-2992.
John Womack Acting Chief Counsel