Safety Group Warns of Used Tyre Danger
A prominent motoring safety group in the US has voiced concerns about the number of used tyres sold throughout the country each year and the unregulated nature of used tyre sales.
The group, Safety Research & Strategies, say that used tyres are often repaired, repainted or patched before sale, making it difficult for purchasers to get an accurate idea of their safety, and such tyres are the cause of countless accidents every year. “Without self-policing and a more transparent business model, used tyres sellers are courting disaster,” said Sean Kane, the organisation’s president. “Regulators should examine how to ensure consumers are getting safe tyres.”
He added that “there is no standard of care beyond a visual inspection, and they (customers) can’t pick out all the unsafe tyres.” Kane believes that used tyres should be subject to testing and certified before sale, in a similar manner to which dealers offer certified used cars.
The advanced age of some used tyres poses a potential safety issue. In December 2006 Kane submitted details about 108 accidents linked to tread separation on tyres more than six years old to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These accidents resulted in 85 deaths.
Such findings have found influential backing in the US, with car manufacturers BMW, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Toyota and Volkswagen all supporting recommendations that tyres should be in service for a maximum of six years.
Kane noted that Safety Research & Strategies’ research reveals that companies recycling and reselling used tyres don’t always carefully inspect them. Many tyre recyclers are eager to resell, as they make more money selling the tyres they receive than they would by processing them into scrap rubber.
The Rubber Manufacturers Association, the representative body of major tyremakers, doesn’t recommend people buy used tyres in most instances. “You may not know if it has been damaged or what the history is,” said Dan Zielinski, the association’s vice president for communications. “People should be very wary of buying used tyres to save a few dollars at the potential expense of safety.”