These days, car tires are extremely expensive and it’s rare for someone to wake up one day and decide they are going to spent hundreds of dollars on new tires, “just because.”
In fact, most people purchase tires because they have no choice. They have an air leak that can’t be plugged or they have a real flat that can’t be repaired. Also, tires do have a life expectancy and when the tread is bare, it’s time to cough up the money to ensure safety on the road.
The question is, when you get to the tire store, how new is the “new tire” you are being sold? Tires that have been sitting in store stock may have been sitting there for years. After all, tires are not disposal the way milk should be. However, there are expiration dates on tires and most people are completely unaware of these “buy before” dates.
In a store, it’s not unusual for the clerk to declare the tires are new. Especially if they show absolutely no sign of wear, most consumers believe the store is selling new products. However, just because the tire hasn’t seen any road wear doesn’t mean it’s new at all.
While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not provide guidelines about the lifespan of tires, manufacturers are relied upon to make sure tires have a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) code that alerts consumers to the date of manufacture. Even though tires may look perfectly new on the outside, the inside of tires degrades as years pass. This means a “brand new” tire on the shelf in your local car parts store can be ready for the landfill based on it’s real condition. Manufacturers generally say tires should be replaced (or removed from store shelves and not sold) six years after date of production. Other companies assert their tires will last up to a decade before breakdown begins.
In one television news story, a teenager was allegedly killed when he drove on a tire that he bought “brand new” but was actually 12 years old according to DOT code. Safety Research & Strategies, Inc., an auto safety advocacy group, says there have been more than 250 serious accidents caused by aged tires in the past two decades.
Before you buy, check the DOT code on the “new” tire: Look for a DOT code on the tire; there will be a four digit number after it. That number tells the date the tire was made — week and year. For example, if the four-digit code on your tire says “0515,” it means the tire was made in the fifth week of 1015.
If you were injured in an accident caused by a faulty car part, such as an old tire, you may have a product liability case. Contact Lombardi and Lombardi today for a free consultation about your legal matter.