Putting new tyres on a car is a costly purchase but since it's essential to have good tyres, it pays to be aware of what you're buying. “By asking the right questions and understanding what you should be looking for there’s less chance you’ll be duped into buying a compromised part,” says Jakkie Olivier, CEO of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI). “There have been incidents brought to our attention where unscrupulous traders have sold expired tyres to unsuspecting customers.”
Hedley Judd, Director of the Tyre Dealers’ and Fitment Centre Association (TDAFA), a constituent association of the RMI, says while this is not a major issue in the industry, in an attempt to clamp down on it, the TDAFA has and continues to engage with the relevant government agencies and departments, with a view to reducing the potential for used, old and out-of-date products reaching the market.
“Your safest bet is to use a reputable dealer. TDAFA members are required to participate in a fair, honest, and equitable manner with all customers and suppliers. Should you believe you've been sold a tyre post the five-year warranty expiry mark, the first option is to approach the dealer. If you can’t resolve the issue, the next step is to approach the RMI/TDAFA for assistance in the negotiation.” However, the evidence needed is the dated invoice of the sale of the tyre and the tyre manufacturing date code. “Failure to produce an invoice will render any potential of a claim extremely difficult to prove... buying second-hand tyres that are beyond the five-year warranty expiry is a far more common issue and often there's no paperwork associated with the sale.”
If you're buying tyres, be sure you know what to look out for to ensure you're buying quality tyres
The age of a tyre can be determined by looking at the side wall of the tyre for the following markings:
While second-hand tyres may only be imported for re-treading purposes, the direct resale of imported second-hand tyres in South Africa remains illegal. The incidence of the illegal sale of imported used tyres has exploded in recent years, with more and more second-hand dealers springing up. Here, there's no quality control, tyres may well be unsafe but never checked properly, and the running-cost calculation of second-hand tyres usually works out to be more expensive than new tyres.
If your tyres have reached the five-year mark, visit the nearest TDAFA member and have them assessed. In the event of a report of visible ageing, you shouldn't hesitate to replace them immediately. "Ensuring that tyres are replaced as axle pairs i.e. two at a time, minimum, the best tyres are always fitted to the rear of the vehicle and not to the front as is often thought,” explains Judd.
Olivier says ensuring tyres are in good condition needs to be a priority: “Many of the deaths on our roads are related to tyres malfunctioning... Speak to the experts and stay away from any unscrupulous dealers."