Recently, there was an issue with the tire of our car. Since the time it was fitted on the vehicle, we used to feel that the driving was not up to mark and the steering had started feeling stiff. After numerous wheel alignment visits and wheel balancing visits and also to the extent of changing some parts in the steering column we finally gave up and felt that it was just a state of mind that the new tires were not good and everything was okay.
Then what happened?
Finally, after less than five years and over 25000 kilometers of driving we happened to stop by at a new tyre shop (not the regular ones we visit) for some puncture work. The puncture guy gave a stern look at me and said “Sir, don’t get me wrong but you seem to be spending too much money on maintaining the look of the car but have completely forgotten about the tyres!”.
Hmm… I said what happened?
He said : Do you feel stiff steering and improper ride during driving?
I immediately reacted : Yes! How did you know?
He said : You are driving with almost eight year old tyres!
I said : No way… these are less than five years old.
He then instantly checked the tyres and said no you are wrong.. the manufacturing date says the tyre is manufactured in 2005 and now its 2012 end so close to over seven years and under eight years since the tyre was manufactured!
I immediately contacted the Tyre Manufacturer at their call center. They said a person will visit you and check. The technical guy called up and when I mentioned that I had purchased the tyre in 2007 December, he said nothing can be done and I need to contact the dealer from whom I purchased the tyre. Hence, I went to the dealer who agreed that these are 2005 tyres but said that warranty is five years from date of sale while the Tyre Manufacturer claims that warranty is from date of manufacture.
Hence, we are left with old tyres because neither the dealer nor the manufacturer is ready to accept that the steering stiffness and poor ride is because of the old tyres.
Hence before buying the tyres we request all our readers to check the manufacture date. Each tyre manufacturer mentions on their website how you can find the tyre’s week and year of manufacture.
Why should I worry about the manufacture date?
You should worry! Say if the manufacture date is too old from date of sale, the tyre might have been lying around at godows / shops / etc under “non-standard” storage conditions. Due to this, the rubber of the tyre might have dried up , gone brittle or even start cracking. Hence, the life of the tyre is reduced to a great extent and as the rubber might have gone hard / brittle, the drive quality of the vehicle also goes down because of stiffness of the tyres. Hence, it is very important that the tyres you purchase have a recent manufacture date or if its too old then it might be lying around and might not feel like a brand new tyre.
What are the risks of using such a tyre?
The greatest risk is your own safety as well as that of the vehicle! Yes, if the tyre rubber has gone hard / become brittle it might crack or burst at higher speeds. So say you are driving on a highway at higher speeds, there may be chances that the tyre cracks down under pressure as the rubber has gone dry / hard, thus risking the lives of passengers!
I think you are being too pessimist by your statement regarding risk! If there were risks manufactures would not have allowed it to be sold in the first place!
Yes, you are right. Its really the manufacturers duty to check and solve issues related to manufacture date and see that the tyres sold through their dealer network are road worthy and the tyre has not gone dry / hard. Any such complaints should really be taken seriously by manufacturers. Once, consumer awareness increases, more people will come forward with issues like this.
I have such a tyre. What can I do?
Well, first would be to see if the tyre shows signs of hardness / stiffness and /or cracking. If not, then it might have been stored under “ideal condition’s”. But its better to have them examined by some third party tyre vendor (not from the one you purchased or anyone around you). Its better to even drive that extra mile and go to some remote vendor and allow him to examine the tire and then take a final call. If you notice you have such a tyre, best is to call the manufacturer immediately via their call center and ask them how much warranty is provided and take the same from them in writing. You may even try to ask them to sign a road worthy certificate.
Do you have such a tyre? Or have experienced such an issue with your tyres? Do share your experiences with us and help others know what they need to look for before buying a good set of tyres for their vehicles.
*spelling of tyre / tire : both are correct spellings and vary depending on the region you are from