In 2002, 287 million light vehicle tires were sold in the United States, 75% percent of which were replacement tires. Balancing is required for each new tire sold and for a much smaller number of tires repaired. Michigan has 1,157 retail tire outlets which sell and repair tires. Approximately 50% of these outlets are independent local tire dealers. The program will target the independent tire dealers, full service repair facilities, service stations and state government fleets for adoption of the "Lead Free Wheels" program.

The "Lead Free Wheels" program has three goals:

  1. direct reduction of 6,000-7,500 kg of lead use on vehicles in Michigan and the Midwest;
  2. demonstrate the viability of lead-free wheel weight installation at Michigan tire retailers, state and municipal fleets and other points vehicle service and:
  3. encourage domestic production of lead-free wheel weights and a phase out of lead use in wheel weights.

The program is targeting participation by tire retailers by providing cost buy down assistance to cover the cost difference(if any) between the lead and lead free wheel balancing weights. The Ecology Center will provide promotional assistance to program partners to highlight the environmental benefits of the service that the companies are providing. To source the lead-free wheel weights, the project is initially working directly with manufacturers in other countries – primarily in the U.K., Germany, Japan and Canada – to supply alternative weights to the participating tire service businesses.

IMPORTANT NOTE: ratings do not provide a measure of health risk or chemical exposure associated with any individual product, or any individual element or related chemical.