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ABC’s 20/20 launched an investigation into the sale of outdated tires. They found that many stores, including big names like Sears and Goodyear, were selling old tires as new. The case began when a Newtown, PA., man bought his son “new” tires. On a road trip, the tread separated, the car swerved, and the boy died. The dad found out that the Sunoco dealer from whom he bought the tires, sold him old tires. They looked new, good tread, etc., however, they had been sitting on the shelf for a long time. Tire experts say that after six years sitting on a shelf, tires begin to dry out and are less elastic. This causes the tread to peel off the tire causing the car to swerve and weave resulting in injuries and death.

These incidents should never occur. In England, there is a rule that you can’t sell tires more than 6 years old. A spokesperson for the US Rubber Manufacturers Association said he could not explain why England had such a rule. The United States needs to enact a law that prohibits old tires from being sold. We ban eggs and milk that are past their expiration dates. We need to do the same with tires.

To check the date your tires were made, look to the last numbers. For example, if the number is 4102, it means it was made in the 41st week of 2002. The number 414, means it was made in the 41st week of 1994. The tire manufacturers are award that these tires are on the shelves. They will only change their harmful practice when attorneys file unsafe products lawsuits against them.

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