Warning: Old Tires can be Sold as New

Posted: Aug 05, 2008 10:34 a.m.

Enjoying your new set of tires?  Good.  But are you sure they're new?

Kicking Tires reports, "ABC News recently broadcast a rather alarming report about tire dealers selling aged tires as brand new, a potentially dangerous -- even lethal -- practice." 

Tires expire.  Even unused, the rubber in tires dries out over time, making tires prone to blowouts after a few years even if they have never been installed on car.  KT explains, "Tire dealers say they dispose of old products after four years…Yet the ABC report sent undercover reporters to numerous tire dealers and found plenty of examples of tires older than four years, and even managed to buy a few." 

LifeHacker notes, "Although in many other countries there are restrictions on selling older tires, in the United States there is no restriction. A retailer in the U.S. could sell you a 15-year-old set of tires if it looked new enough to convince you to pay for it, all the while knowing that the tire could well be dry-rotted or degraded due to its advanced age."

According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advisory, it is fairly easy to check the age of a tire. "The age of the tire can be determined by checking the identification number on the sidewall that begins with the letters 'DOT.' The last four digits represent the week and year the tire was manufactured."

For instance: A quick check of one of our editor's own tires reveals the code DOT ANVF F721 1908.  This tire, then, was manufactured in the 19th week of 2008 -- early June. (Phew!…and a quick plug for our local Costco tire center, which put the new shoes on in this case). 

Wise Bread adds one more caution: "Most tire manufacturer's warranties cover their tires for four years from the date of purchase or five years from the week the tires were manufactured. So if you purchase new tires that were manufactured exactly two years ago they will be covered for a total of six years (four years from the date of purchase) as long as you have your receipt. If you lose your receipt, your tires' warranty coverage will end five years from the week the tire was produced (resulting in the tire manufacturer's warranty coverage ending only three years from the date of purchase in this example)."

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