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Deadly Tire Tread Separation Accidents Can Occur in Aging Tires

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An excellent investigative report by WFTV in Florida tells us why tire tread separation can occur even in tires that seem brand new. According to this news report, safety experts are now warning that tires more than six years old are susceptible to failure. And even more disturbing is that the WFTV’s investigation found the local Florida stores were selling old tires as new.

The reporter interviewed the mother of Nicalos Rowan, a 20-year-old who died in a rollover accident after the tread separated from the tire on his SUV. The failed tire caused his SUV to flip over. The defective tire was actually a spare that his mother, Linda, had put on the vehicle two days before the accident. Only after he son’s tragic death did she learn that the tire which she believed was brand new, was in fact 11 years old.

Experts say that an old tire is nothing short of a ticking time bomb. What happens when a tire just sits for years and years is that it begins to dry out. It is particularly a danger in places like Florida and here in California where it can get pretty hot because heat can make the problem worse.

The investigation also found that local stores such as Wal-Mart are selling these old tires with no warnings whatsoever to consumers. Spokespersons for the store told the reporter that they were not required to divulge the age of the tires to consumers. The age of a tire is usually hidden by a cryptic code on the side of a tire, safety experts say.

So far the federal government has not put any age limits on the tires. This is an important detail. Why does the government not require stores to give consumers a piece of information that could mean the difference between life and death? It is absolutely important that we don’t forget about the spares we tend to keep in our cars. With age, these tires will become dangerous. For more information, please visit the Rubber Manufacturers Association’s Web site.

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  • Jon Jensen

    I regularly travel though the Califonia desert at typical speeds of 65-75 MPH for long distances during the summer. I have had tread separation failures on 2 brands of tires.I think if you do much high speed, hot summer,desert driving for long distances it would pay to buy only “A” temperature rated tires and use them for a maximum of 5 years from date of manufacture.Date of manufacture is printed on the sidewall of tire and is the last 4 digits of DOT code.Example 3207 would be 32nd week of 2007.

  • AZ
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