Driving on Danger: Are your tires really "new"? - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Driving on Danger: Are your tires really "new"?

If you think you're buying new tires, you might want to think again.

The WAFF 48 Investigators have uncovered information that some new tires aren't new at all.     

WAFF 48 Investigator Georgi Bragg has the story.           

Some people argue that a tire should not sit on the shelf more than two or three years before it's put into service or sold to someone.     

We checked local tire stores and put them to the test.       

Who knew you're supposed to check the date on tires before you buy them. 

The sign says new. The sales staff say they're new.  

And by the price tag on most tires, one would hope they're new.

That old adage is true. You get what you pay for.     

Madison County's Better Business Bureau director Michele McDaniel has only had one complaint about a Valley tire distributor selling an old tire as if it was new. 

But she still warns buyers beware. 

When it comes to new tires, many consumers don't know how new they really are. 

And if you don't know where to look for the age on a tire, you're not alone.  

A 3 digit code is etched on the inside wall of most tires and if the tire is already on a vehicle, you have to get under the car to inspect the code.     

Managers at Valley tire businesses we went to couldn't talk on camera because of company policies.     

But they did show us how to decipher the Department of Transportation code etched on every tire.  

First look for the letters DOT. The last numbers listed, tell a tire's age.

The first two digits are the week it was made.   The last two digits represent the year.     

Armed with information on how to decipher the code, the WAFF 48 Investigators inspected tire inventories of 4 Huntsville retailers.     

At all 4 locations, we found tires for sale as new.  

They had codes indicating they were made in 2008 and some in 2007.     

At the Sears location in Madison Square Mall, we found tires for sale on the retail rack coded for the year 2004, 2005 and 2006.

We asked for an explanation.   

A Sears employee said, "I mean that's not the norm, but if there's one tire that...I mean it's still considered a safe product."  

Sears also sent us a written statement saying, "There is a differnce of opinion in the tire industry...about the service life-limits of tires.   The safety of our customers is a top priority for Sears."

The DOT is working to get the date put on the outside of the tire.

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