Tires have gone up in price significantly over the past few years while many people are operating on more stringent budgets due to job losses or other financial problems. This has led many people to consider buying used when it becomes necessary to replace a car’s tires. However, even used tires in good condition are not as safe as new tires.
Many mechanics will sell tires that have been used but still have good tread on them. These tires may cost only half of new tire prices. Mechanics and tire shops also sell tires that are more than one year old but still new at discounts of 10 to 15 percent. However, buying tires that are used or more than one year old may present warranty problems for the buyer and cause a much greater risk of tire failure, leading to an accident.
Why Are Older or Used Tires Dangerous?
Tires are made of rubber that comes from the sap of certain trees. Like all organic compounds, rubber can age and change its properties over time. If tires are stored for more than one year they can become unstable even if they are never used. If they are used, the rubber compounds are exposed to wear, weathering and other factors that can weaken the tires.
Auto makers and tire manufacturers offer warranties based on the number of miles tires are driven as well as the number of months they are owned. Tires should be replaced every five to ten years even if they do not exceed mileage recommendations. Tires that are exposed to salt air, extreme heat or humidity or extreme cold may need to be replaced more often.
How Can I Avoid Defective Tire Dangers?
While there are some poorly-manufactured tires that may suddenly fail without warning, there are things that owners can do to ensure they purchase safe tires.
- Look at the manufacturing date. All tires manufactured after 1999 must contain a four-digit code on the sidewall that represents the week and year in which the tire was made. The code may be on the inner or outer sidewall of the tire and is ordered by week and last two digits of the year. Thus, a tire labeled “2612” was manufactured in the 26th week of the year 2012.
- Do not purchase used tires unless you are aware of their history. Even tires that look sound may have been subjected to high temperatures or harsh weather conditions.
- Buy tires with warranties. If a tire shop does not want to warrant a tire, something is wrong. Also, understand that tire warranties may not transfer from one owner to another.
Victims of defective tires may turn to a personal injury attorney for help in recovering damages from the manufacturer. Victims may be entitled to payment of medical bills and other expenses when a defective tire malfunctions and causes a crash.