Car Tires - Safety Issue - Serious Defect

by : Chris Meagher

Serious warning - Car tires may have a hidden defect that could cause drivers to lose control on the road.

A lot of us think that if our car tires look good, are properly inflated and have a good amount of tread, that they are probably safe to go out on the road with.

But few drivers ever think about the age of their tires - as we are about to learn, this can be a tragic mistake.
Tires, especially the spare tire, could be up to a decade old, making them an accident waiting to happen. A ten year old tire can have deteriorated to the point of having rotted inside, when the tire is used at highway speeds the effect can be disastrous.

"In tires, the materials that hold the belts together -- the rubber materials -- will degrade and lose its elasticity, and those properties will get to the point where the tire can no longer hold together," said vehicle safety advocate Sean Kane. Also, in warmer climates tires start to break-down even earlier. Six years, or older, is when we start to see a disproportionate rise in tire failures. An American government report on tire aging, analysing insured tire claims from several states, found that 84 percent of claims were for tires over 6 years old.Even never used tires, such as those bought from the showroom floor, in the same age bracket, are just as dangerous, as they may indeed have been sitting there for a decade or more, just waiting to be sold.

Many auto-makers now put warnings in their new-car manuals, warning against using tires more than 6 years old. What is really needed are expiration dates stamped on the product, similar to many other consumer products, from washing machines to yogurt.

The tire industry disagrees, stating that expiration dates will only give consumers a false sense of security, Dan Zielinski from the 'Rubber Manufacturers Association' says: "Consumers may view the use-by-date as the minimum service-time they can use that tire, no matter what they do to it - whether they care for it or not, or have worn it to the nub."

Tire-makers say proper maintenance is the key to safe tires and that there is no reliable data available showing tires becoming dangerous after 6 years.

So, where does this leave the consumer? I have some invaluable information to pass on to you!

On the outer wall, or side-wall of the tire, the bit that faces away from the car, are a series of four raised numbers and letters (actually manufactured with the tire). The last series of four numbers actually shows the "birth-date of the tire". e.g. if it shows 1501, this means on the 15th week of 2001 is the date of manufacture.

Safety experts advise that if a tire does fail, the driver should not slam on the brakes, this can cause the vehicle to swerve out of control, pulling suddenly toward the affected tire, nor should drivers jerk the wheel back, possibly causing the car to roll.

Drivers should immediately back off the accelerator and gently pull the wheel back to straighten the car applying the brakes carefully once the car has slowed to a manageable speed.

Other Interesting Articles can be found at: