Outdated Tires

Be Cautious Of Outdated Tires

Have you ever thought about how many miles the tires on your automobile have or how old they the tires are?  Well, your tires may have very few miles on them and look just fine, but if they are more than six years old, they could possibly be on the road to a catastrophic automotive failure.

Chris Spagnoli, an attorney from Santa Monica, CA was interviewed for an article regarding out dated tires. Spangnoli has had court cases with car companies and tire makers many times.  She is seeing a new, deadly problem.  “We are currently working on a number of cases where the tread separated from the tire and caused serious accidents,” said Spagnoli.

If the tire has been in the trunk for six years and never even been used what is happening is that the rubber ages. It becomes brittle and vulnerable to cracking and tread separation. Aging, out-of-date tires can be very dangerous. “Tires contain antioxidants and when they stop being effective, the rubber gets brittle and it doesn’t have the same flexibility. Even if it has perfect treads, if it is six years or older, the tire is degraded,” adds Spagnoli.

A current case for Spagnoli is one that involves a family who was involved in a serious accident involving a bad tire. Shortly after the family bought a car, one of the tires tread separated and one of their children was killed in the in the accident.

“The vehicle involved was used. It had been traded into a car dealer that fixed it up and put it back on the market without checking the age of the tires. The tires looked good but they were more than six years old,” Spagnoli says.

Tread separation is a very serious matter and it’s extremely dangerous. The process can start slowly but as the tread comes off, it will create a drag. The driver will feel the vehicle pulling toward the damaged tire and it will pull the steering wheel in the opposite direction. Once the tread finally does separate, the dragging will stop and the driver attempts to correct the vehicle which creates a rollover situation.

You ask, who is liable?  Well, liability in these cases could either belong to the tire manufacturer or it belongs to the car company. Some cases, the tires could be warranted for 40,000 miles but they fail because they are more than six years old. Warnings about when to replace tires are, are inconsistent and the information is not easily available to the consumers.

“There have been efforts both nationally and at the state level to get consumer warnings out there about the danger of aging tires,” says Spagnoli. “But those efforts have met resistance. The lawsuits are in many ways an education tool because the information does filter down.”

It is very important to check the age and condition of your tires to make sure you are traveling safely.  Please remember to take the time to do a thorough investigation of your vehicle before hitting the road this holiday season.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.

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