The wraps are about to come off a program under which wheel makers whose aftermarket rims meet SAE's J2530 standard get an opportunity to distinguish themselves and their products from wheel makers and products that do not meet the standard.
The SAE program is voluntary, so if a wheel maker has one or more rims that meet J2530, it can choose to have the rim(s) listed in an online registry/database. The registry will be created and maintained by SAE as a consumer aid and will feature free access to basic information including the list of participating companies and basic test results. There will be a charge (not yet established) for more detailed information.
"SAE recognizes that the Internet is a powerful and easy-to-access resource for consumers,” said John Kinstler, Vice President (retired) of Engineering at Hayes Lemmerz International and Chair of the Aftermarket Wheel Test Certification Conformance task force of the SAE Wheels Committee. “What makes our online wheel registry even more valuable is that it will serve as a resource for professionals within the rim industry as well as everyday consumers."
Participating companies will be permitted to place an SAE logo on rims that conform to J2530, providing another visual distinction (in addition to registry listing) from products that do not conform to J2530 (or that do conform but have not been submitted for listing in the registry). Companies may choose not to participate or to submit only certain wheels for the registry. It is SAE’s hope that all wheel makers will take full advantage of the registry. To participate, a wheel maker would pay an initial $200 entry fee, then a $100 annual renewal fee. There also will be a fee (to be determined) for each wheel family registered.
Wheel makers currently may stamp onto their rims “J2530” if they comply with the standard. But it is only by participating in the registry that they may also use an SAE logo, which is now being designed.
SAE will not conduct the wheel testing, but it will accredit facilities to do so. Wheel makers may conduct the testing themselves, or they may outsource it. Either way, information confirming that testing for a particular wheel family was conducted in accordance with procedures spelled out in J2530 must be submitted.
The wheel-registry program is similar in some ways to SAE’s power rating program under which companies can have their engines tested for conformity with the relevant SAE engine standard (J1349 – Engine Power Test Code – Spark Ignition and Compression Ignition – Net Power Rating). In that program, the goal is to draw a distinction between one automaker’s unverified engine rating claims and another automaker’s SAE-verified claims. In both programs, participating companies may place the SAE logo on their qualifying products and tout SAE verification in written materials.
SAE has completed almost all of the legwork to implement the first phase of the wheel program, which is to activate the online registry website and begin listing all wheel manufacturers that choose to participate. As part of this phase, participating wheel makers will have to submit the mark they use on their wheels. SAE hopes to complete phase one in the next month or so.
It could be a matter of only a few weeks after phase one is implemented that phase two can begin. In phase two, wheel makers will be able to submit test data for their various rims. Once determined by SAE that the test data proves conformance to J2530, a wheel maker will be permitted to put the SAE mark on the conforming rims.
J2530 was adopted by SAE near the end of 2009. Some wheel makers already have J2530 test data for their existing products, Kinstler said. “Wheels can be grandfathered in with previous testing results if done by a certified laboratory. Therefore, we would expect a large number of wheels to be listed [in the registry] in a shorter period of time than necessary to retest wheels.”
“The wheel industry is very aware that the wheel is a safety component in the vehicle,” Kinstler continued. “While most wheels are designed and manufactured to meet vehicle requirements, some wheels may not meet this requirement. SAE J2530 was created to ensure that the basic strength of the wheel is present.”