Hurry Up & Slow Down!

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Matt White is the Director of Tire Services for the Tire Industry Association (TIA). He has over 34 years of experience training technicians from all over the globe on how to stay safe on the job. Photo Matt White

This isn’t NASCAR.

We’re at a time of year when most of us are thinking about numbers—if you can fill your numbers, you can increase your volume.

But it takes longer to do it right than to do it wrong. That’s because when you do it wrong, you’ll have problems like comebacks.

So instead of focusing on numbers, focus on safety. That way you can avoid wheel-offs, vehicle vibration, leaving grease on the car or on the wheels, sloppy jobs, and more. It all comes down to slowing down – do what you’ve been doing, but take the time to pay attention to details, and you’ll keep your customers happy.


It’s a good time to practice the “RIST” program. Remember what that’s all about? It’s the acronym for the program developed by the Tire Industry Association that provides steps for doing tire service. Following these four simple steps will help any shop offer safer, more accurate tire service, and cut down on costly, potentially harmful mistakes.

R – stands for Remove all foreign debris
I – this is for Inspecting all wheels and wheel components
S – represents Snug, or snugging lug nuts in a star pattern
T – stands for Torque, or putting the proper clamping force on the wheel when putting it back on.

Your shop should be reviewing RIST on a regular basis; it should be part of your standard operating procedures and vigilantly enforced.

Removing all foreign debris is crucial, especially since there’s going to be dirt, salt, or grime on the wheel. When you think it’s clean, then clean it again. In Canada, vehicles develop surface rust, and our roads have so much dirt. Those fasteners are taking the brunt of all that, plus potholes. If dirt falls off after you’ve replaced the wheel, then the wheel can potentially come off. That creates the potential for serious injury and even fatality for the driver.

Inspect all mating wheel surfaces and mating surfaces, like where metal touches metal. Use the right kinds of tools, and replace any fasteners or lug nuts as needed.

Over-tightening the fasteners is another avoidable error. Stressing the studs past their yield point can result in them stretching to the point of no return. That’s why you should be using regulatory torque – you want to distribute it evenly through the correct clamping force.

Torque check

It’s recommended to do a torque check in Canada every five to 50 miles. That’s not a retorque—that’s for when you didn’t do it right the first time. A torque check is needed when the vehicle’s been on the road, to check for any variables that the technician may not have seen.

But when you start with a good and proper cleaning, that’s the right first step. You can’t do that when you’re trying to win a race. This isn’t NASCAR. Don’t think winter tire service is all about tire count. If one wheel comes off, it will take away all your profit.

Do yourself a favor—hurry up and slow down!


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