A Different View - Tire Review Magazine

A Different View

C and ABC televised “investigative” reports on the so-called dangers of older tires.

NBC’s report appeared on the Today Show, while ABC used its 20/20 newsmagazine to carry the water for Sean Kane and his plaintiff-attorney assisting Strategic Safety.

When ABC posted its report online, it offered viewers the chance to add their comments on the report. Here are all of the comments posted verbatim:

Hidden Tire Dangers  
ABC News Hidden Camera Investigation: Aged Tires Sold as ‘New’ by Big Retailers

Viewer Comments:

Yeah know, I just cannot figure out why when things like this tire situation are anywhere near surprising to anyone..the basic rule in the great country of ours is to do the very best one can do to screw anyone who comes in contact with you, especially if its in politics or business, but really it applies to all phases of interaction in this hollowed land..what runs this country now is greed, the bottom line, the bigger the better and screw who gets caught on the hook….even religion in any form is not immune…lets here for Gene Autry good times are past…I am very blessed in the things that I have, but even those things are faulty because the builders and manufactures were crooked in thier processes, selling, installation anyway to increase the bottom line regardless of who gets under the wheels..so people if the moon explodes don’t be surprised someone probably made a buck from it..

Posted by: oralcitrate  Mar-25

This seems to be quite an old article, but it’s still not difficult to find relatively old tires at many retailers, including dealerships. It’s not an issue for most consumers in my experience, though, because there are certain tire sizes that are used by a multitude of vehicles and are therefore sold very quickly. However, there are some sizes that are used by far fewer vehicles that can easily stay in stock for two years or more. However, these tires neither bear any weight nor receive exposure to sunlight, extreme temperatures, and/or ozone. I’ve read that those factors contribute the most to the deterioration of a tire. I’ve also read that, perhaps ironically, tires which bear a heavy load and are not used often may deteriorate faster than tires on a vehicle that is driven regularly. One of the biggest obstacles to offering consumers services that will ensure their safety is the amount they are willing to spend. Consumers sometimes knowingly place themselves in very hazardous situations by seeking the cheapest route possible. I’d also like to mention that there are many situations that present a Catch-22 for a tire service technician. If a tire technician refuses to perform a service such as selling and/or mounting an aged or damaged tire because he/she believes it is unsafe, he/she could be in trouble with his/her management for not acquiescing and offering customer satisfaction, particularly if he/she refused the service in error because of improper training. On the other hand, if he/she performs the service and the tire contributes to an accident or inconvenience, the technician could be in trouble with his/her management for putting a customer in a hazardous situation.If this issue is ever pursued again in the future, I think more focus should be placed on obtaining answers from management of such retailers and the manufacturers themselves.

Posted by: unmotivator  Feb-27

Dissecting a 10 or 12 year old tire sitting on a shelf showing separation or conditions leading to separation may have substantiated your report. You have done an injustice to your industry as well as the tire industry.

Posted by: bjlr501  12/7/08

Interesting stuff but I’m curious about the "research and tests" that show "as tires age, they begin to dry out and become potentially dangerous". Who conducted these tests, and is the validity of the testing recognized by the automotive and tire manufacturing industry? And how does the accident rate attributable to aged tires compare to accident rates that are due to tread separation and other inherent tire flaws?

Posted by: hankgordon2  8/12/08

It’s a load of bull…. You MUST perform routine maintenance on your vehicle. This includes things like changing the oil, topping off the fluids, Changing brake fluid ever 1-3 years, checking engine belts for wear and cracking, changing your fuel filter, and yes – checking your tires for wear. The reality is if you put on the standard 12,000 mile a year, your tires will only last about 3-4 years anyway. If you want information on how to check your tires and what you should look for, Tirerack.com has tire test results and general tire info that can be very helpful. I took a nail in a tire once and I had to keep inflating it every month or so because I couldn’t find the hole. The nail was still in the tire when I finally replaced it. Unfortunately, not only did my mileage go down, but my brakes became more worn as a result and I ended up paying for a new brake job. While you are checking things on your car, have a friend or family member help you check your lights. Turn signals, brake lights, head lights and other marker lights can go out at any time for any reason and most of the time, you would never notice.

Posted by: windsurfing_guru  7/31/08

Thanks 20/20 for the invaluable info. I have broadcasted to everyone I know. Who knows you may save some lives without even knowing! Keep up the good work of keeping America safe and informed.

Posted by: beckstr2000  7/8/08

I just took off two tires date code 1990-1991 off my vette 18 year old tire driven the car in excess of 100 mph for long periods no problem These are the speed rated high quality tires that were OEM. The gov not going to scare me into footing the bill for there wining and dining because they need more tax from everyone. Test some real tires in real age conditions not article aging and SHOW ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the real results for all tire brand proceses type speed rating and so on. They cant test a cheap poorly maintained tire and say ALL tires of age are defective. Is Bush getting a kickback on tires also?

Posted by: mikevette1990  6/3/08

You people are ridiculous, If you came into an autocenter before this and were told to replace tires based on age you would say "you’re just trying to sell me tires" It’s safe to say that the majority of those tires were on CLEARANCE RACKS. I don’t know how many customers i have come in and say, i want the cheapest tire blah blah blah….you get what you pay for. In this time and age of MCDONALDS all you people want it and want it now. It’s pysically impossible to have every tire in stock in every size and only have it be 6 months old.

Posted by: mopar53150  5/25/08

I hope all of us take this information seriously, as a member of my family was just in an accident yesterday for this very reason. Do yourself a favor, do your family the favor of giving this the benefit of the doubt and go check your tires. The car rolled several times and we are so grateful he was okay, but the officer on site was surprised that was the case. How much does it really take to make sure you’re really safe. Thanks for the information ABC. This little life-saving tip should not have been kept a secret. Thanks for telling us all.

Posted by: ktrenae  5/17/08

I don’t know a lot about tires but I have a 1983 Mazda RX-7 with only 34,000 miles, that I bought from my mother who hardly drove it while she owned it for 12 years. I continued to drive it for 12 more years occasionally and I never had to replace the tires until one year ago when they started to crack. I kept checking with my local trusty tire store to assess the tires and they kept saying they were fine until last year. So, I don’t think age is the main factor. I recommend building a relationship with a tire store you trust and keep checking with them about the condition of your tires.

Posted by: uoft1985  5/12/08

I agree with many of the people here that the age of a tire does not constitute if a tire is bad. If you do proper air pressure checks, rotations and alignments on your vehicle then your tires will function the same whether it be 6 months old or 10 years old. The weather has a major effect on tires and not age. So do you want to talk about the belts on your car? They are made of rubber? Do you think they all have a shelf life of 6 months? NO! It is all maintenance of your vehicle. Don’t you think that every single tire manufacturer would put "expiration dates" on their tires if the proof was there? They don’t because there is not enough evidence to prove this myth. Leave these tire dealers alone and talk to the manufacturers of these tires.

Posted by: firstbrunettedaughter  5/12/08

You are SO busted. I will not, repeat NOT, buy a tire from you if you can not certify that it is less than a year old. Period, fini, end of story. So you might as well bite the bullet and write off all those 2 – 12 years old tires right now!

Posted by: alice888  5/12/08

The tire investigation was fine work. Missed the first part and hope to see this segment again. As for the general content of 20-20, I much prefer the hard news investigations that save lives over the celeb news and soft pieces I see so much of on your program in recent years.

Posted by: TradeWind2  5/11/08

I take issue with the comments that the date code is "intentionally cryptic" and placed on the inside wall of the tire. First of all, there IS NO inside wall to an unmounted tire! The code is placed on the presumed inside wall because we consumers want the prettier side to show. It’s an aesthetic choice, not one that is designed to obscure. We put tags on the inside of our clothing for much the same reason. More, did it occur to anyone that it would be in the US tire industries’ interests to support a 6-year age limit if it were necessary? They’d sell more tires! Going along with an arbitrary expiration date is exactly what a company who valued money over safety WOULD do.

Posted by: liz  5/11/08

Interesting piece

Posted by: Stormins  5/10/08

The biggest cause of tire seperation is under inflation. The story does not mention what happens to a tire that has been sitting in a rack for up to ten years to make it unsafe. Most tire deterioation is due to direct ozone or sun exposure, and sitting for long periods of time on bare ground. Why would a tire in a enclosed building on a rack just go bad?

Posted by: uscjoe1941  5/10/08

What about the tires on new vehicles purchased at dealerships? Now I am going to have to look at Mom’s 1 year old KIA Sorento..it has Michelin tires that are already bad after not even 2 years. I think everyone with a newer vehicle should check the date codes on their tires too. Too bad the story didn’t cover tires on new vehicles as well.

Posted by: cherylholmes  5/10/08

After watching the show I decided to check my "new" tires I had purchased last fall. Turns out I had nothing to worry about. I bought those tires from a dealer. I purchased the tires in the 42nd week of 2007. According to the DOT number all 4 of the tires were manufactured in the 17th week of 2007. So my "new" tires really are new. They were made just 25 weeks before I purchased them. Needless to say I am pretty happy with this knowing that my local Dealer was not stocking old tires.

Posted by: Skyb1rd  5/10/08

Unfortunately there seems to be a misconception that old out of date DOT# tires are sent back to the manufactures to be broken down and reused to make new tires. These tires cannot be put in new tires but ground up and used in rubberised asphalt and in outdoor play areas. The steel is stripped from the tires and recycled. As a retailer of new tires I reject older DOT # tires. It is most likely stock that has been in a Wholesaler’s Warehouse and not rotated properly out of stock.In the southwest and southern states where heat and underinflation is the key to most tire failures we find that poor maintence is the major cause of most tire failure not age. It should always be up to the consumer to educate themself’s in any purchase. Most Independent Retail Tire Dealer would gladly inspect and help consumers decide if a new tire is needed. In the year 2000 Firestone was subjected to recall on tires installed on Ford’s Explorer and during this recall we we pulling tires off the Explorer that were 10 years old and still had half the tread left. We are now as consumers being told that we are not responsible enough to check our air pressure in the tires on our own cars and suv’s and light trucks that our federal government has mandated that all of these must have Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems. This adds to the cost of any new vehicle and the service that needs to be done thereafter. Simple maintenance and checking your tires air pressure at least once a month will add to the life of you tires and to the safety of your families. In a nutshell the age of the tire is important but proper maintenance is crucial to tire life and safety.

Posted by: giddens  5/10/08

The number 1 cause of tire failure is underinflation, not age. The number 1 cause of underinflation is owner neglect. if people would just check their air pressure once a month, tire age would not be a story on 20/20. People would get improved fuel economy and their tires would last beyond the tread wear warranty. This is a proven statement of fact. Remember, you are the key to your vehicle’s safety. Open your glove, pull out the owners manual and read it. Most people have no idea what kind of info is in there.

Posted by: navstargps  5/10/08

After watching I went out to check the tires on my 2007 Ford Exp. Sport Trak and found the number they describe on the show to be MISSING the area is there the circle so to speak BUT NO NUMBERS WITHIN IT! That scares me. Am I to buy 4 new tires?

Posted by: kpsnip  5/10/08

Where are the statistics on number of accidents directly related to failures of 6 year and older tires? Where is the analysis and research that went into the British study quoted? Is a personal injury lawyer the technical expert? Interestingly you focused the camera twice on separated treads on the side of the highway implying they were from six year old tires. They were not. They were clearly separated truck retreads which are all over the highways. This is clearly unsubstantiated, misleading reporting.

Posted by: Ted.R  5/9/08

I have 1961 MGA with Michelin X tires on it. The tires were installed in 1970 and currently have about 50,000 miles on them. That’s 38 years folks! None of the tires have ever had a flat nor have they gone flat in storage. I just had the car out on the backroads of Oregon at 55 mph. Tire too old at 6 years? Make no sense whatsoever to me. Where the data that shows tires fail? Is it consistent across brands?

Posted by: Barkdust45  5/9/08

hamdave, It has been found that under-inflation has caused a lot of tire failures in the past. Everyone, go out and inspect your tires, make sure they are properly inflated, and check the tread. and if they are heavily weather-checked, then take care of it. This is a maintenance issue. I still want to see lab test results of unused tires stored correctly as compared to recently manufactured new tires. The technology exists to do that. Then and only then will I be convinced that ABC 20/20 is doing a public service with this story.

Posted by: northwoodsbug  5/9/08

I have a vintage sports car with Michelin tires which are now 37 years old. Yes, 37 years and about 45,000 miles. I just had the car out and the tires are just fine. It seems to me that someone is trying to increase sales. There must be something more serious/real to investigate!

Posted by: Barkdust45  5/9/08

Note that the date code (which will start DOT)will be branded into only one side of the tire, the other side will have all the letters and stuff that tell where and so forth the tire was made, but a blank space where the number would be…. The big issue here is that while tires do not age as fast in a cool dry warehouse, they do age and once on the vehicle no way to tell how much of that age was on the vehicle. Not as big an issue in northern areas, but here in southwest Florida tire age fast.I have been told by several tire outlets that Florida has a law making it illegal to repair a puncture in a tire over 5 years old. Unless a tire is a very odd size there is no excuse for it to be in stock for more than a few months, Just poor inventory management.

Posted by: kozynferg  5/9/08

Selling an ‘old’ date coded tire is ‘criminal’. Those of you who don’t believe may have never had a blown out tire at high speed, it can be quite devastating to your health, much less the equipment vehicle the tires are mounted on. The age issue is because tires will eventually dry out. On a passenger car where you will drive it about 12-15K miles a year, you will normally wear the tire out before the date issue is a problem IF you got relatively new ones to begin with !! There are statistics that show that older dated tires are MORE hazardous and have a greater tendency to have catastrophic failure.

Posted by: hamdave  5/9/08

The six year age limit recommended by automakers, according to the way I read this article, must have an assumption here….the tires are already mounted on a vehicle and need to be replaced after six years. Right? Anyone with a camper knows what happens to tires even if the camper is used once a year…the sun and its UV rays, plus the heat dry them out and they become checked. Now, please tell me why the condition of these above mentioned tires are the same as tires that have been warehoused, out of the sun and drying elements of outside air, and never used? In order to be convinced that this is a real problem, I would like to know where are the data that supports tire deterioration over time when the tires are warehoused, stored out of the sun’s rays and out of the ambient temperatures of a parking lot? Tires are not bananas with a shelf life based only on age. I want to see real scientific tests on the physical properties of tires, newly manufactured, older tires within the "age limit" and tires properly warehoused older than that. One commenter brought up the issue of money…think about it folks. Who would make money if all unsold tires older than 6 years were to be taken off the market, shredded, recycled and mixed into new tires, and sold to you at the going price now that oil is over $120? Tire companies would make out like bandits…not having to pay for the raw materials, but the consumer pays the full price as if they were completely new!

Posted by: northwoodsbug  5/9/08

There should be a label that shows DOT xxxx. The first two digit is the week it was made and the last two are years.

Posted by: makattack4000  5/9/08

This is nothing more than just fear mongering – is there some validity to a dried-out tire and potential performance issues? – absolutely. But suggesting that ALL tires beyond their "expiration" should not be sold is just plain ridiculous. I think we have bigger fish to fry then to worry about something like this.

Posted by: cpurvis  5/9/08

Check the long string of numbers on the side of the tire. At the end of that string will be four numbers. The first two are the week the tire was manufactured and the last two are the year. For example, if the number is "2604". Tire was manufactured the 26th week of 2004. Good luck.

Posted by: Mystic_Redcat  5/9/08

I feel I need to comment here: First of all, the automotive industry has a six year limit, because I assume that the tires in question are mounted on the vehicles and are in use. Anyone with a camper stored outside in the sun knows that the sun and its UV rays do the most damage on tires, used or unused. Parking a car all day in the lot at work or at the mall…not only lots of sun, but heat from the asphalt. Now, how is a six year old tire in use the same as an unused tire stored in a warehouse…most of them are kept dark. I would like to see the scientific analyses of the physical properties of older unused tires compared with the same properties of newer unused tires and of course, tires that have been mounted on vehicles, even if they are not driven except to go to church on Sunday. I don’t think safety is an issue as much as this article leads me to think. Just think of the money to be made of all tires older than the requisite six years have to be shredded, the rubber contents recycled, mixed back into to make more tires, and then, tah tah, sold as new at the inflated price now that oil is $120 plus.

Posted by: northwoodsbug  5/9/08

This is why it is best to buy direct!! Some people wont wait and will go to a store and buy what ever they have not thinking those tires have been there as long as the store sometimes. Especially if its and uncommon tire size. Low profiles are the worse when you buy them in a store. Just look before you buy as you should would everything you spend your money on….

Posted by: invisible099  5/9/08

I just ordered a set of Goodyear tires…how do I read the code on them to know their ‘best before date’ ? ABC, please tell me!!

Posted by: desmond222  5/9/08

Anything to make money. That is WalMarts stand and any other Stores stand that puts the safety of its customers below there bottom line.

Posted by: fastiger13  5/9/08

I’m just positive the store management lies awake at night, every night, worrying about the safety and well-being of the people who purchase their products.

Posted by: kgainer2334  5/9/08

Gosh, this is such a travesty. Come on, investigate some real issues for a change.

Posted by: AVGWarhawk  5/9/08


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