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Frequently Asked Questions for Lead Wheel Weights

Q. When does this new law go into effect?
A. This law was signed on September 17, 2010 and as of April 1, 2011 prohibits the use of lead wheel weights to balance tires and by April 1, 2012 no new vehicles may be sold with lead wheel weights.

Q. Are there plans to enforce the law immediately, or is there a grace period?
A. There is no grace period, and the regulated community is expected to be in compliance with the law on April 1, 2011. DEC is providing outreach to the regulated community.

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 tire(s) that requires an old lead wheel weight to be removed or a lost wheel weight to be replaced, 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 have to replace it with a compliant wheel weight.

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. 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, and disposing of them as a regulated hazardous waste. You cannot discard them in the trash.

Q. Can lead wheel weights be sent back to the supplier or manufacturer and replaced with 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 new motor vehicle with lead wheel weights?
A. After April 1, 2012, a new motor vehicle cannot be sold with wheel weights containing lead.

Q. Can I sell a used motor vehicle with lead wheel weights?
A. Yes. However, if lead wheel weights are removed from a tire for any reason prior to sale, 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. What penalty provisions apply to a person that improperly stores or releases lead in lead wheel weights to the environment?
A. The penalties in Environmental Conservation Law section 71-3703 would apply. This section provides that any person who violates any of the provisions of, or who fails to perform any duty imposed by section 37-0107 or any rule or regulation promulgated pursuant hereto, shall be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars for each such violation and an additional penalty of not more than five hundred dollars for each day during which such violation continues, and, in addition thereto, such person may be enjoined from continuing such violation.

ECL§ 37-0107 prohibits anyone from storing or releasing to the environment substances hazardous or acutely hazardous to public health, safety or the environment in contravention of rules and regulations.

Q. What should I do with lead weights that have been removed from a tire for balancing or repair?
A. Lead wheel weights should be recycled; recycling facilities can be found in the yellow pages.

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