Tires need replacing on your vehicle, they’re a nuisance to get off and on, but it has to happen. Fortunately, you can buy used replacements online for relatively cheap, or if you’re looking to buy brand new, then you can usually find them from your car dealership.
Increasingly, however, there is an emerging market of counterfeit tires, made and cold from China to the West, at a too-good-to-be-true bargain price point (if something is too good to be true, it probably is). These tires are counterfeit in the sense that they won’t last as long as regular tires, which therefore ends up costing you more money. Therefore, here are some things to look out for when spotting counterfeit tires.
Price Point: It’s the obvious place to start, but typically things made in China and sold through online vendors such as Ebay, tend to be of lower price point than those made in the West and sold through physical vendors, one report read of tires being at $89.00; which sounds like a fantastic bargain until you read about the failures. So, be wary of the price point, if you must buy online.
Appearance: Counterfeit tires aren’t made to the same safety standards as ‘real’ tires, and you should carefully examine any tire you are skeptical of before you purchase it. Sometimes such counterfeit tires will have small cracks in the rubber which would hopefully never appear on safety-regulation-compliant tires sold by legitimate vendors. Other key appearance cues are tire print. It should denote clearly the maximum load and speed at which the tire operates safely, if you have difficulty finding those things, you should avoid them. Depending on where you’ll be driving, all tires are required by law in most places to have these marking clearly visible and stamped on the inner and/or outer wall of the tire. If these aren’t present, don’t touch the tire.
Avoid Used: I know we’ve mentioned it above, but you shouldn’t buy used tires unless you absolutely have to, and even then, you should really inspect the tire carefully before you buy it. Generally-speaking, you’re better off avoiding used tires altogether.
Do Your Homework Before You Buy: Again, potentially stating the obvious, but this pertains specifically to the dealer from whom you’re buying the tire. If you’re not buying online, there’s still a chance that you could be sold counterfeit tires. You should know that all tires are supposed to stored in a specific way: namely away from dust, oil, chemicals, in a ventilated area and on tire racks; which you should see as you enter a shop. Other than that, every dealer should be able to present to you his authorization of sales certificates, which should be verifiable with the national or municipal road authorities.
There’s a whole wave of counterfeit tires out there that have the potential to cause you and those riding with you some serious harm if they should ever fail in any capacity while on the road. Be sure that you’re getting the good stuff before you hit the road with your ‘new’ and ‘cheap’ tires. Give us a call for further advice.