61 per cent of second-hand tyres sold in SA are illegal

It’s not often that I post from press releases sent my way, but this one caught my eye. It’s because I have written a bazillion stories on tyre safety over the years and yet it is still one of things people forget to check.

A recent report conducted by a major tyre manufacturer, revealed that more than 60% per cent of second tyres sold in South Africa are illegal.*

“This is a staggering statistic,” says chairperson of the South African Tyre Manufacturing Conference (SATMC), Darren Hayes-Powell. “One that has fatal consequences for road users, especially when you consider that the only part of the car touching the road is a piece of tyre tread the size of your hand **. This Transport Month, October 2019, we are urging drivers to only purchase tyres, new or second-hand, from reputable dealerships, ” he says.

Second-hand tyres are often sold to customers looking for a way to save money on replacement tyres. However, unless they visit a reputable dealership or know what to look out for, buyers may purchase a second-hand waste tyre, intended for the scrapheap.

Hayes-Powell says that the choice between the a waste-tyre and a safe-to-use tyre could be a matter of life and death. “The consequences of fitting second-hand waste tyres can be dire. They reduce the performance of a vehicle by increasing stopping distances, raising the risk of skidding and increasing the risk of blow-outs.”

Second-hand tyres are safe-to-use you when you see:

  • Visible tread wear indicators below tread across the whole tyre.
  • No exposed fabric, cuts, lumps or bulges.

A second-hand tyre is NOT safe to use when you see:

  • Tread depth across any part of the tyre that is below the level of the tread wear indicators.
  • No tread wear indicator, due to carving the rubber on tyres to create more tread depth (regrooving).
  • Damaged rubber that exposes fabric or cord.
  • Cuts, lumps or bulges.

“More concerning is the fact that we have even seen tyres that have been damaged beyond repair for safe service on the road but have been superglued so that the repair is not visible anymore. This will certainly be cause for a blow out on the road and potentially an accident,” says Hayes-Powell.

Fitting second-hand waste tyres can also have an impact on insurance pay-outs. According to the Automobile Association (AA), in the event of a crash, an insurance claim could be refuted if it is found that the tyres were in poor condition and were the cause of the crash.***

“While the onus of labelling and destroying of second-hand waste tyres lies with retail tyre fitment centres, the catastrophic effects lie with drivers. If you have any doubt about the quality of a used-tyre, do not purchase it. It could save lives,” Hayes-Powell concludes.

* Sumitomo Rubber South Africa’s Used Tyre Survey, 2017.
** https://www.dunloptyres.co.za/safer-than-safe
*** AA Tyre Safety Demonstration, October 2019. Presentation issued by AA spokesperson Layton Beard.

I’m Julz, South African motoring journalist with a passion for cars and a questionable sense of humour. I am not your average motoring journalist, and this is not your average motoring website.

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