Consumer Safety Rides in Part on Tire Awareness – Cueter Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram

December 28th, 2015 by

Consumer Safety Rides in Part on Tire Awareness – Cueter Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram

When jumping into a vehicle with newer looking equipment, it’s fair to say that most of us expect things to be in good working order. Too bad that is not always the case.

News outlets across the country have shown that looks can be deceiving when it comes to tires. They may look brand new with untouched tread, but they can still be capable of causing an accident. That’s why we need to take the initiative for our safety by asking the right questions.

Here’s the issue: Tires have a shelf life of six years, and then the rubber and cord body begin to break down. Yet, there are a lot of retail stores and service centers around the country, big box and small independents, that sell tires manufactured before 2009 because the tires have never been used.*

It’s illegal in Michigan to sell those old tires, and the seller as well as the manufacturer can be charged with a misdemeanor and fined $500, but it’s not usually enforced unless there is a tire blow out and investigation, like in the case of Fast and Furious star, Paul Walker. He died in a car accident last year because of high speeds and nine-year-old tires.

Here’s the solution: We need to know our tires’ DOT numbers (a.k.a. the manufacturing number required by the U.S. Department of Transportation). The 4-digit code is on the side of every tire so it seems simple enough, until you try looking for it. Unfortunately, it’s on the side of the tire that faces the underside of the vehicle so unless you have a hoist to lift the vehicle, or you see the DOT numbers before the tire goes on the rim, you may be out of luck. If YOU DO get a chance to see the numbers, it’s easy to read. The first two digits reflect the week, the second two reflect the year. So if your tire shows 4812, it was made in the 48th week of 2012.

A call-to-action has been placed to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration to require DOT numbers on the outside wall as well as the inside wall of tires, but all the states still have to get onboard. Until that day, the duty to keep us safe belongs to us. In the meantime, there is legislation pending in half a dozen states seeking to raise the punishment for selling old tires to a felony level, which would bring larger fines and possible jail time.

Here’s what you can do now: Aside from knowing your DOT numbers, there is another measure you can take to increase the odds of getting road-worthy tires. Use suppliers that do business with car dealerships because they are held to stricter standards.

Tires are rated on four levels: Speed, Weight Bearing, Traction and Temperature. The NHSTA requires retailers to pay attention to speed and weight bearing ratings when selling a tire, but dealership technicians are more inclined to also consider traction and temperature because they know road salt, cold weather and tire cleaners can all speed up the breakdown of rubber and cord body.

It’s why we try so hard to put you in what came original on your vehicle. I think of it like a sports team. It’s the coaches job to set the team up for greatness so they win every time, rather than setting the team up for what they can get based on the cost.

* As shown on Good Morning America, The Today Show and 20/20.

Written by Champion Service Advisor Brandon Pullen, of Champion Automotive Group. Cueter Chrysler Jeep Dodge has been serving the Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor and surrounding communities for over 30 years. Visit www.cueter.com for your automotive needs.

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