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I-Team: Used, unsafe tires still for sale across the country

(WGME) -- Your car's tires are the only thing between you and the road. They can be expensive so buying used tires can be a great alternative, but the I-Team found some of those tires shouldn't be for sale at all.

Whether it's on Craigslist, Uncle Henry's, or a brick and mortar store, there are lots of places to find used tires. In fact, the Rubber Manufacturers Association says about 35 million used tires are offered for sale every year, but there are some things you should know before you buy used.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says there are nearly 11,000 tire-related crashes every year.

"America is sort of behind on the safety telling consumers that a tire's too old and you should discard it," attorney Justin Hill said.

Hill specializes in cases involving tire recalls and blowouts. He said saving a little money by buying a used tire may not be worth it.

Most manufacturers recommend replacing a tire anywhere from 6-10 years depending on how well you take care of it, but there's no expiration date on tires like you see on other products you buy like child car seats.

We teamed up with reporters across the country to go shopping in search of used tires to see what's available.

First thing we looked for is the Department of Transportation (DOT) number. Look for the 4 digit code at the end. It tells you the week and the year the tire was made.

We found tires made back in 2007 and 2008 still for sale. In that range, tires are recommended for replacement based on their condition.

"This tire is no good obviously. This is supposed to be all rubber. If air gets down in there, it will make the tire separate. Just the fact that the bead is torn like this they should have scrapped the tire," tire shop owner Dennis Mensch said.

Several states have talked about setting safety standards for used tires and stopping sales that don't meet those standards, but there's no federal law.

Experts suggest you check the DOT number to see how old your tires are, and watch to make sure your tread doesn't get too shallow.


The law firm of Hallett, Zerillo, and Whipple, P.A. are Maine attorneys representing clients who have been seriously injured, accused of crimes in state and federal court, have business litigation needs or family law and divorce cases. Various attorneys in the firm have been locally and nationally recognized for their achievements, including admission into New England Super Lawyers, the Client's Choice Award from AVVO.com, and the President's Award from the Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. For more information on the firm, please visit www.HZWlaw.com.

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