Friday 23 February 2018

How 'new' tyres could be death trap

Eddie Cunningham Motoring Editor

'NEW' tyres can be 'dangerous'. Just because they have not been used doesn't mean they are safe.

That is the warning now emerging after being highlighted by the Consumers Association of Ireland (CAI).

Its chief, Dermot Jewell, told Independent Motors it had reports of people buying new tyres only to discover, within two months, that they had perished. That is because they had been lying around unused for years and had begun perishing.

Mr Jewell says: "With money so scarce, people are not replacing tyres as often so they are being stockpiled and growing old. It is very dangerous. You could buy something that's technically new but they could end up being dangerous."

Reputable dealers will check the date of manufacture for you. Dodgy ones won't. That is the clear message from the Consumers Association.

The frightening verdict that unused tyres can become dangerously unfit for purpose without ever being on the road is another sharp reminder of just how little we know about four of the most important items on our cars.

But you should also know how to check for yourself – please see accompanying guide.

The central message is that tyres are susceptible to aging.

PERISHED

Like all rubber products, their physical and chemical properties change over time, components dry out, adhesion breaks down and that means tread can separate from other parts.

Mr Jewell told us: "Some consumers have bought what they believed to be new tyres. But they discovered they were in fact perished and needed to be replaced immediately for safety.

There is a recommendation that tyres should not be used if they have been in storage or unused for more than six years.

Now, in the absence of regulation on sell-by dates, the CAI is pleading with buyers to ask the age of any tyres they are thinking of purchasing.

"Although they may look new, they may in fact have been in storage for a significant period," Mr Jewell says.

He admits it is a "new" issue for consumers who pay "significant" amounts for new tyres.

Mr Jewell says: "Reputable traders will have no difficulty in providing basic detail about the age of the tyre. If someone cannot or will not then we suggest consumers take their business elsewhere."

Sometimes ageing cannot be detected by the naked eye and yet the tyre may be extremely unsafe. The CAI's concerns come against the backdrop of new research which suggests that as many as 10 million tyres on UK roads could be dangerous – again not because of poor tread, but because of age.

Only 17pc of drivers know how to identify when their car's tyres were manufactured.

NUMBERS

The research, for Kwik Fit, says drivers may find their tyres reach the end of their safe life long before the tread nears the 1.6mm legal limit.

Nearly three-in-five (59pc) don't know their tyres display the information needed to work out their age. One-quarter (24pc) know but can't interpret the numbers.

More than six million drivers thought their car's tyres were older than five years.

Low-mileage, older cars tend to be most at risk from premature ageing as their owners assume there is no problem if they can still see plenty of tread.

Irish Independent

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