New sets of tires can be expensive, but purchasing used tires for their cost savings is not worth the risk. Although used tires are cheaper than new ones, opting to purchase used is not the same as making a similar decision when shopping for other expensive items.
Hidden Risks of Used Tires
While many consumers believe that finding a used tire with good tread depth implies it is safe to drive, there are many hidden factors in buying tires used. Tires degrade more quickly if they are driven for long periods of time while underinflated, overinflated, overloaded, or at high speeds. In addition, storage in harsh weather including high heat, sunlight, or humidity can cause the compounds of the tires to break down. All of these factors create internal damage that is not visible to a potential buyer and is often entirely undetectable without destroying the tire. The increased chance of tire failure adds another element of unpredictability while on the road, a clear safety issue.
Tires Degrade Over Time, Not Just Mileage
Many official groups similar to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have recommended against used tires because of their extended age. Properly stored and cared-for tires have a useful lifespan of six to ten years from the time of production, and according to AAA, should be replaced regardless of visible tread wear. This includes all the time between the initial production to when the tires are mounted on your car. Because of the degradation with age, in the US, each tire is stamped when it is manufactured with a Department of Transportation code, the last four digits of which represent date of its production.
Unregulated Market Exposes Consumers to Potential for Misbehavior
The lack of regulation around the used tires sales market in the US contributes to the relatively low prices, but also puts consumers at a greater risk of unethical business practices. Used tire sellers can sometimes resort to tricks like painting tires black so that they look newer. Additionally, in the event of a recall, the original purchaser would be directly informed by the manufacturer, leaving any secondary buyer unaware. Purchasing used tires could leave you oblivious to a safety recall that might affect you.
Factors Related to Performance
In addition to all of the safety risks that used tires pose, new tires have more information available to the customer about their individual performance. According to Consumer Reports, the safety factors like handling, dry and wet braking, and rolling resistance vary by the model and brand of each tire. Purchasing used tires reduces the certainty of these variables and therefore the performance of the car.
If an unsafe product has caused you or a loved one to suffer, you owe it to yourself to take action. The team at Regan Zambri Long PLLC can help. Reach out today to learn how we can assist you with your product liability case.