8 on Your Side: Drivers Warned of Used Tire Dangers
By Michelle Mortensen, Investigative Reporter - email
LAS VEGAS - A new set of tires can be expensive for many people. That's why some turn to used tire shops. As 8 on Your Side discovered, however, used tires can present hidden dangers.
8 on Your Side bought two used tires from two shops and asked Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Loy Hixson to examine them. He says in the 18 years he's been on the force, he's seen the destruction bad tires can cause - especially when Las Vegas temperatures exceed 100 degrees.
"Unfortunately, the driver is not quite sure of what's happening with the vehicle, will panic, oversteer, brake, and we see a lot of accidents that way," he said.
When he looked at the used tires, he had concerns. "This is definitely a recipe for disaster," he said.
The $30 dollar tire lacked tread in some parts and was dry in other parts, which reduces traction. The $7 tire had additional problems such as exposed metal.
"If you were to put this on a vehicle, you wouldn't make it more than five miles traveling about fifty five in our temperatures before you have a complete blowout or tread separation," Trooper Hixson said.
If you think no one would ever drive on a tire like this, think again. The clerk who sold the tire said he's seen people leave his store with tires in worse shape.
"What a lot of people don't really realize is how many accidents are actually caused by faulty tires," Hixson said.
While statistics for the number of accidents caused exclusively by tire damage are difficult to find, AAA estimates at least 13 percent of accidents are caused due to this type of mechanical failure. The number of used tires on the road is also staggering.
"There are about thirty million used tires that are put back into the market for sale every year. That's an enormous number of tires and potentially very risky tires on the road," said Dan Zielinski with the Rubber Manufacturers Association.
He is trying to convince states to enact legislation to prohibit the sale of used tires. So far, every state that has introduced legislation has failed to pass it.
"We're not ready to give up. We think that our arguments are persuasive, that we are here to protect consumers," he said.
For now, the only way to protect yourself is to know what you're driving on and what to do if something goes wrong.
If you have a problem you want investigated, contact 8 on Your Side at 702-650-1907.
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