An eye-opening report on “the case of the killer tyres” was featured on The One Show TV progamme, revealing how tyres which pass the MOT test could still be “fatally flawed”.
Broadcast on BBC1 on Tuesday night, it highlighted the fact that some drivers are buying secondhand tyres to save money, assuming that if the tread is good and it gets the vehicle through an MOT it is fine.
But this is not the case.
The report demonstrated how older tyes are more risky and even an unused tyre deteriorates over time.
To drive home to dangers, they put two tyres – one made this year and another that was nearly 20-years-old – through their paces on a test drum which simulated how they would react under pressure on the motorway. Both tyres were roadworthy and would pass and MOT test.
The older tyre burst after 43 minutes, which would have made a vehicle virtually uncontrollable on a motorway, while the newer tyre showed little sign of any damage.
According to Paul Brown, a rubber research expert, the rubber decays over time and therefore the structure of the tyre becomes weaker and weaker.
The Institute of Advanced Motoring is trying to tackle some of the biggest culprits in using old tyres, caravans, motorhome and trailers.
Tim Shallcross explained that a caravan tyre experiences little stress, it just rolls behind the car and so the tread can last forever. He said: “It is very easy to have a caravan with 10, 15 or 20-year-old tyres.”
The Caravan Club recommends that tyres should ideally be replaced when they are five-years-old.
Checking the age of tyres is simple. Vehicle owners can discover the age of their tyres by deciphering the DOT code. DOT codes are tyre identification numbers, since the year 2000 tyre manufacturers have used a code consisting of four digits, the first two digits indicate the calendar week of production and the second two the year of production e.g. 3004; this tyre was manufactured in week 30 of 2004.
The report concludes that motorists should exercise common sense and check the age of their own tyres, because a tyre that looks youthful on the outside, could still be due for retirement underneath.
To view the film go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0397kgm/The_One_Show_27_08_2013/