Dangers of Out of Date Tires
Old tires can cause serious rollover car accidents.
We all know that bald tires are a safety hazard. But it turns out that even beautiful, new-looking tires can put drivers at risk of serious car accidents.
Because road wear on the treads is not the only factor that determines a tire’s safety. Tires will age and degrade even if they are never driven on.
By the time a tire is about 6 years old, the antioxidants that are designed to protect the rubber from aging have lost most of their effectiveness. The tire then becomes brittle which makes it prone to cracking and tread separation.
Tread separation has the potential to cause catastrophic car accidents—especially because drivers typically do not recognize the signs of tread separation or understand how to react to the problem. As the tread begins to separate from the tire, it creates drag, which tugs the vehicle towards the side with the damaged tire. Drivers try to compensate by pulling the steering wheel back in the other direction. When the tread separates, the drag stops and the driver suddenly finds they are overcorrecting. They have to jerk the wheel back the other way and this sometimes causes a rollover accident.
Beware When Buying Used Tires
One of the most common ways that old, unsafe tires end up on vehicles is through a used car or used tire dealer. Often, used vehicles come in with incomplete service records and it can be difficult to tell just how old the tires are, especially if they look like they have not been driven much. Other times, used car dealers will actually go to their collection of used tires and put old tires on the vehicle, again picking tires that look like they have plenty of life left but are actually too old.
Full-size spare tires are a common source of old tires. These tires obviously look great after years of being toted around, and when car owners get a flat they may put on the spare without a second thought as to its age.
Who is Liable for Accidents Caused by Old Tires?
In accidents caused by old tires, liability can be tricky. After all, despite years of national and state efforts to create standard consumer warnings about aging tires, there is still nothing on the tire itself or in the purchase information that explicitly states the danger. Individuals can certainly claim ignorance of the danger. But car dealers and tire manufacturers should be aware of the danger and may still be held liable for car accidents and injuries in certain situations.
To learn more, please contact The Law Office of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707.