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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > March 2014 > AG Urges Consumers to Check Tires Before Buying

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AG Urges Consumers to Check Tires Before Buying

You venture out to buy car tires and find a good buy on brand-name tires that look new and show no signs of wear. It’s no problem making the purchase and crossing that chore off your list, right? Wrong.

Attorney General Mike DeWine recently warned consumers to inspect vehicle tires prior to purchase. Even tires that look new and have never been used could be several years old and more prone to failure.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a chemical reaction involving the rubber components can cause tires to degrade over an extended period of time. When this occurs, tires are more prone to catastrophic failure. Therefore, even though a tire may be on a store shelf in 2014, it’s possible it was manufactured years ago. 
Consumers can determine the age of a tire by checking the identification number, which begins with the letters “DOT.” The last four digits represent the week and year the tire was manufactured. On newer tires, the number can be found on the outside wall of the tire. On older ones, the number is located on the inner sidewall. For example, if the ID number is “DOT 01/10,” the tire was manufactured in the first week of 2010.
In addition to checking the manufacture date, consumers should take these precautions when buying tires:
  • Do not assume tires showcased are new or newly manufactured.
  • Verify with the seller that the tires are not used. In Ohio, used goods cannot be advertised as new.
  • Ask the seller about warranties that may come or be purchased with the tires. Be sure to document all warranties, including the terms and conditions of the warranty, in writing.
    • Most tires come with a tread-life warranty based, in part, on the estimated number of miles the tire tread is expected to last. As long as consumers have properly maintained the tires — including rotations on a regular basis — they may be eligible for a prorated credit toward the purchase of new tires if the mileage goal is not achieved.
    • Road hazard warranties are typically available from tire dealers. Those warranties often cost extra and essentially provide insurance against damage during the life of the tires. If a tire is damaged, the dealer will repair it or provide a prorated credit toward a new tire based on the amount of tread still left.  
Consumers who suspect an unfair business practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 800-282-0515 or