Fact Sheets and FAQs

FACT SHEETS

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Lead Wheel Weights (English)
Lead Wheel Weights (Spanish)

ALTERNATIVES ANALYSIS ON WHEEL WEIGHTS

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

 

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Q. When does this new law (California Health and Safety Code Section 25215.6) go into effect?
A.

This law (California Health and Safety Code Section 25215.6) became effective Jan. 1, 2010.

Q. Are there plans to enforce the law immediately, or is there a grace period?
A.

The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) will focus its early enforcement efforts to implement this law by providing outreach to the regulated community. The law does not provide for a “grace period.” No lead wheel weights may be sold, installed, or manufactured in California after Jan. 1, 2010.

Q. Will DTSC be conducting outreach on this new law?
A.

DTSC launched an outreach initiative, targeting the auto repair and tire retail industries. Additionally, DTSC has posted information about this law on its Web site and will be continually updating the site with new information. DTSC also will be contacting vehicle retailer associations, including motorcycle industry associations, to further disseminate information.

Q. How can I receive additional information on this law?
A.

DTSC will post all information about this law on this Web page. You may also see the Regulatory Assistance Office Web page for direct updates.

Q. I heard there was a legal settlement with U.S. automakers to phase out lead balancing wheel weights. How is this new law related to that settlement?
A.

The California Legislature adopted this new law to codify standards consistent with a recent Proposition 65 lawsuit. In 2008, the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) reached a legal agreement with Chrysler and the three largest producers of automobile wheel weights (Plombco, Hennessy Industries, and Perfect Equipment) that required the companies to end the use of lead wheel weights in California by the end of 2009. The agreement marks the first legally binding statewide rule that phases out lead in wheel weights in the United States.

Under this agreement, Plombco ended shipments of leaded wheel weights into California at the end of 2008; Hennessy and Perfect Equipment agreed to end shipments by the end of 2009. Chrysler agreed to eliminate lead in wheel weights on cars manufactured for sale or distribution in California by the end of 2009.

Q. How do I know whether my wheel weight has lead in it?
A.

Wheel weights may have a chemical abbreviation written on them. For weights made of steel, you may see the chemical abbreviation “Fe” (for iron, the primary component of steel). The chemical abbreviation “Zn” may be visible on weights made of zinc. Both of these metals tend to be a little lighter in weight than those made of lead, so those weights should be larger than lead weights. You may want to contact the manufacturer if you have questions about the materials in your wheel weights.

Q. Does the law require that I replace lead wheel weights with compliant wheel weights?
A.

The law does not require that lead wheel weights be replaced. However, if any work is done on a car’s tires that requires an old lead wheel weight to be removed, or if a lead wheel weight falls off in the process of working on a tire, the old lead wheel weight cannot be placed back on the tire. Any wheel weight installed on the tire will need to comply with the new law.

Q. If a car with lead wheel weights comes into my repair shop because the tires need to be rebalanced, do I have to install wheel weights made of compliant materials?
A.

If you add or replace a wheel weight, you are installing a wheel weight. To comply with California law, the wheel weight being installed cannot contain more than 0.1 percent lead.

Q. If a car comes into my repair shop to have a flat tire fixed, and I remove a wheel weight, do I have to replace the wheel weight with one made of a compliant material?
A.

If you remove the wheel weight and replace it, you have to replace it with a compliant wheel weight.

Q. What should I do with unwanted stock of lead weights?
A.

Lead wheel weights may be hazardous waste. It is the generator’s responsibility to make the appropriate hazardous waste determination prior to disposal.

Disposal options may include returning the wheel weights to your supplier to see if it will exchange them for the type that comply with the new law; sending them for recycling as scrap metal, which exempts them from hazardous waste regulation (California Code of Regulations, Title 22, Section 66261.6 [a][3][B]); and disposing of them as fully regulated hazardous waste. You should not discard them in the trash.

Q. Can lead wheel weights be sent back to the supplier or manufacturer and replaced with California-compliant weights?
A.

The law does not require distributors, suppliers, or manufacturers to exchange lead wheel weights with compliant wheel weights, but you can contact your distributor or manufacturer for more information about what to do with your noncompliant lead wheel weights.

Q. Can I sell a motor vehicle with lead wheel weights?
A.

It is against California law to sell a new motor vehicle manufactured on or after Jan. 1, 2010, with lead wheel weights. A wheel weight that complies with the new law will need to be installed.

If the tires are replaced prior to the sale of a new or used vehicle, the wheel weights will have to be in compliance with the new law. Additionally, if lead wheel weights are removed from a tire for any reason, the old lead wheel weight cannot be placed back on the tire. A wheel weight that complies with the new law will need to be installed on the car.

Q. If the vehicle was manufactured out of state, can it be sold in California if it has lead weights?
A.

Regardless of where the vehicle was manufactured, it is against the law to sell a new motor vehicle in California with lead wheel weights if the vehicle was manufactured on or after Jan. 1, 2010. Wheel weights on vehicles manufactured after Jan. 1, 2010 cannot be made of lead.

If the vehicle was manufactured prior to Jan. 1, 2010, the existing wheel weight can remain on the tire, as long as the tires have not been changed or the existing wheel weights had not been removed for any reason.

Q. Does this law apply to on-highway and off-highway motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs)?
A.

Because the law does not specifically exclude off-highway motorcycles and ATVs from its provisions, those vehicles and all other vehicles with wheels that require a wheel weight are affected by this law.

Q. Does this law apply to airplanes?
A.

Because the language of the statute is worded broadly to include any wheel weight containing more than 0.1 percent lead that is manufactured, sold, or installed in California, and does not limit the scope of the legislation to automobile wheel weights only, this statute potentially applies to all vehicles with wheels that contain more than 0.1% lead.