DATE: May 16, 1994
FROM: John Womack -- Acting Chief Counsel, NHTSA
TO: Fred Benford -- 100+ Motoring Accessories
ATTACHMT: Attached To Letter Dated 4/18/94 From Fred Benford To John womack (OCC-9891)
TEXT: Dear Mr. Benford:
This responds to your request for an interpretation of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 211, Wheel nuts, wheel discs and hub caps. You wrote that your company manufactures aluminum wheel covers without "protruding objects." You requested confirmation that the wheel covers do not violate any FMVSS. Our response is provided below.
By way of background information, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does not provide approvals of motor vehicles, or of motor vehicle equipment. Under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Safety Act), it is the res ponsibility of the manufacturers of motor vehicle equipment to ensure that its equipment meet applicable requirements. The following represents our opinion based on the facts provided in your letter.
Standard No. 211 regulates wheel nuts, wheel discs, and hub caps. Since "wheel discs" encompasses wheel covers, your company's wheel covers are subject to Standard No. 211. S4. Requirements of Standard No. 211 states in part:
As installed on any physically compatible combination of axle and wheel rim, wheel nuts, wheel discs, and hub caps for use on passenger cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles shall not incorporate winged projections . . .
In your letter, you stated that your wheel covers do not have any "protruding objects." Since Standard No. 211 prohibits wheel discs (covers) with "winged projections," if your company's wheel covers do not incorporate "winged projections," the wheel cov ers would satisfy Standard No. 211. "Winged projection" is defined at S3.2 of Standard No. 211 as an exposed cantilevered appendage that projects radially from a wheel disc and that typically has front, edge, and/or rear surfaces which are not in contac t with the wheel when the wheel disc is installed on the axle.
You also asked whether wheel covers made of aluminum violate any FMVSS. The answer is no, because Standard No. 211 does not specify materials for use in wheel covers. However, since wheel covers are "motor vehicle equipment," your company must ensure t hat the wheel covers are free of safety-related defects under the Safety Act. Sections 151-159 of the Safety Act concern the recall and remedy of products with defects related to motor vehicle safety. In the event that your company or NHTSA determines that the wheel covers have a safety-related defect, your company would be responsible for notifying purchasers of the defective wheel covers and remedying the problem free of charge.
I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions, please contact Dorothy Nakama of my staff at (202) 366-2992.