Consumers may think that they are being savvy when opting for a used tire that looks practically new, but signs of aging or latent defects may not always be readily apparent. Car owners buy used tires for many reasons – the tires are significantly cheaper, they may be selling the car soon, or they simply need a spare. But, these tires can have an array of problems, putting them at risk for failure at any time.
More often than not, the history of a used tire is unclear. Used tires enter the market from many points ranging from tire service centers to salvage yards to individual sales. Tire recyclers and used tire collection companies often collect and sell used tires wholesale to retailers across the country, and will sell tires with as little as 25% tread depth. It can be up to 10 times more lucrative to sell used tires to retailers than to process them into scrap, which creates an inherent incentive to approve as many tires for resale as possible. Companies that reprocess used tires have graders who inspect the tires for separations, cuts, bead damage, sidewall fatigue, lack of tread, inner liner defects and more. But, this process is not regulated in any sense, and does not ensure tires are safe to use.
How a tire looks doesn’t always reveal its true age. Many tire wholesalers use detailing or reconditioning services, whereby used tires can be patched and repainted black if necessary to make them look more like new. All in all, these types of practices serve to widen the profit margin for tire retailers and increase the safety risk for unsuspecting consumers. What’s important to note is that a tire is not automatically disqualified for advanced age or prior repair – two of the more dangerous conditions.
While the powerful tire industry has been able to avoid legislation mandating “born-on” dating to combat aged tires from entering the market, we believe they should take more proactive steps in raising the bar for used tire standards. One way the industry can increase the safety of used tires is through closer examination process using a technology known as shearography. Shearography machines are expensive, but can and should be used by large companies to scan and identify any faults in a tire such as inner liner damage, sidewall impact separations and past repairs.
As Tire Failure attorneys we can help
If you suspect a used tire failed, causing an accident leading to a serious injury or death, contact Didier Law Firm today for a free evaluation of your case. As tire failure lawyers we have extensive experience in litigating car accidents involving tire failures, and stand ready to bring our knowledge and expertise to bear for consumers injured by a tire failure.