Second-hand tyres are safe-to-use you when you see visible tread wear indicators below tread across the whole tyre.

JOHANNESBURG - You simply cannot underestimate the importance of tyres when it comes to your safety on the road. Faulty tyres not only compromise your grip on the road, but they can also cause blow-outs, which often lead to a loss of control of the vehicle. The danger multiplies, of course, when you fit second hand tyres to your vehicle, which is an understandable thing to do given how stretched household budgets are these days. However, an alarming statistic that came to light recently was the fact that more than 60 percent of second-hand tyres sold in South Africa are in fact illegal.

This is according to a report that was recently conducted by a major tyre manufacturer. Commenting on the findings, chairperson of the South African Tyre Manufacturing Conference (SATMC), Darren Hayes-Powell said that this was a "staggering statistic" and “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 we are urging drivers to only purchase tyres, new or second-hand, from reputable dealerships,” Hayes-Powell added.

Used tyres are often sold to motorists looking for a way to save money. However, unless they visit a reputable dealership or know what to look out for, buyers may purchase a second-hand waste tyre, which really belongs on the scrapheap.

Hayes-Powell quite rightfully points out that the choice between the 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 usually safe to use when you see the following:

- 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 (re-grooving).

- Damaged rubber that exposes fabric or cord.

- Cuts, lumps or bulges.

Beware of superglue fixes

“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.

It's also worth noting that fitting second-hand waste tyres can have an impact on insurance pay-outs. The Automobile Association points out that 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 concluded.

IOL Motoring