The Dangers of Used Tires
Consumers are saving money any way they can these days, but buying new replacement tires can be unexpected and costly. Some consumers might opt for a cheaper alternative – purchasing used tires.
But according to Consumer Reports, vehicle owners should not purchase used tires. There is no information on where the tires have been or how they have been used. Perhaps the tires were driven overloaded, underinflated, or driven at excessively high speeds. A tire’s life span may be diminished from hitting curbs or potholes, getting punctured, becoming exposed to high temperatures or enduring harsh weather. Any of these factors can lead to internal damage not visible from the outside and could make the tires unsafe and dangerous.
Tires are made of rubber compounds, which age over time even if they are unused or slightly used. While there is no agreement by automakers and tire manufacturers on exactly how long tires can provide safe transportation before the rubber deteriorates to the point of failure, they do recommend tire replacement, regardless of wear, between five to 10 years. Tires manufactured after 1999 have a four-digit code on the sidewall that represents the week and year the tire was made. For example, a tire with the code “DOT 3211″ was made in the 32nd week of 2011.
One of the leading tire safety organizations dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers associated with defective or illegal tires is the United Kingdom’s TyreSafe. The organization recently released a warning following a month-long nationwide investigation that involved purchasing a random sample of 50 used tires. The tires, inspected by an independent tire expert, delivered the verdict that 98 percent of the tires were sold illegally and over a third of these tires were found to contain potentially dangerous forms of damage or non-compliance.
In fact, the inspection engineer described one tire as having the “potential to kill” as it still contained a metal object penetrating through the tread. Other serious safety breaches included dangerous and unsafe repairs, exposed cords, bead damage and evidence of run-flat damage.
To ensure tires will perform safely and dependably, vehicle owners should work with a qualified technician who can recommend the best set of new tires for the vehicle. It is also necessary to have them regularly inspected, rotated and balanced; tires have one of the greatest effects on the way the vehicle handles and brakes. If new tires are recommended at a check-up, spend the money and purchase the tires.