Most people recognize that tires wear, requiring replacements every so many thousand miles to prevent accidents. However, many do not realize that a tire’s age alone can cause serious safety issues.
As tires age, regardless of the amount of wear, they can become brittle and crack, especially if often exposed to light and heat, according to a study by the International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering.
“Ideally tires should be kept in a cool, dry environment out of direct sunlight,” the study states.
When tires begin to crack, the chance of a tire-related vehicle accident increases. For example, tread separation on aging tires was cited as the cause of a crash in May 2016 that killed six people in Jupiter, Fla., according to The Palm Beach Post. When the tread separates from the body of the tire, drivers often lose control of the vehicle and crash, as was the case in this accident. It can occur even if the tread of the tire, what most people use to test roadworthiness, is in decent condition.
“We’ll show people that their tire is ready to separate, and they still don’t think it’s dangerous because they’re looking at the tread,” Andrew Sarantidis, owner of New Age Automotive in West Palm Beach, said in The Palm Beach Post article. “They don’t want to accept what we’re telling them.”
The age of a tire can be determined by looking at the last four digits of a tire’s identification number, located where it meets the rim. If the tire was manufactured in or after 2000, when the format was introduced, the first two of those four numbers are the week of the year the tire was made and the last two indicate the year it was manufactured. For instance, a tire made in the 32nd week of 2007 would have an identification code ending in 3207.
Most tire manufacturers recommend replacing tires every 10 years but instruct buyers to follow automakers’ recommendations if they suggest sooner. Most automakers do usually suggest sooner, recommending replacements every six years. This explains why buying used tires is a safety gamble: Used tires being sold on eBay have been found to be more than 15 years old, according to Righting Injustice.
Tire issues often spell disaster for drivers, as they are the one connection a car has to the road; therefore, proper tire safety cannot be over-stressed. Tread separation and blowouts, often associated with aging tires, are some of the most common causes for single- and multi-vehicle crashes.
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To see if a vehicle crash caused by aging tires could qualify for compensation, please contact Ben Baker, an attorney in our Personal Injury Section, for a free and confidential evaluation of your claim. He can be reached at 800-898-2034 or firstname.lastname@example.org.