SEVIERVILLE (WATE) – When it comes to buying new tires. you don’t want to skimp on the price.
A dealer in Sevier County who specializes in trailer tires is advising to avoid online retail tire outlets that offer low-priced tires, as you could end up with counterfeits. They may have a brand name on them, but they might not really be steel-belted radials inside.
You see trailers everyday on our highways. Most of them travel on steel-belted radial tires. If you bought yours from an authorized tire dealer, you’re likely traveling on safe ones. However, if you choose to skimp on tires, you could end up finding string-like material and no steel belts.
They’re all sold through the internet to unknowing customers who purchased counterfeit tires.
“These are tires that are sold under national brand named tires that you and I would recognize,” said tire dealer Ron Durham.
Durham specializes in selling trailer tires and he’s concerned about the fake ones. He showed WATE 6 On Your Side some phonies that he’s collected.
“The R indicates it is a radial tire, light truck tire. Right here it says there are two plies of steel in the tread. As you can see, it is nothing but fabric. There was never any steel in the tread to begin with,” he said.
Durham showed another counterfeit steel-belted radial that has no steel – just nylon.
“The steel should be circling the tire on the outside. Once the tire blows up like this there should be steel wire going in every direction. You wouldn’t be able to touch this tire without being able to get stuck with some of the steel,” said Durham.
Durham says they’re sold online with well-known name brands on them. Durham explained that when looking at the marks on the sidewall, ST means special trailer tire and R indicates it’s a steel-belted radial. You’ll also see the height of the sidewall and the rim diameter. Stamped on all tires is the date on which they were made.
“The four digit number indicates the 46th week of 2016, that when this tire was manufactured. Right. this is a fresh tire,” he said.
To be on the safe side, Durham said trailer tires should be changed every three to five years. Tire companies have made it easy for you to know the manufacturing date. However, he said tires that look new may not be new.
“The best place to buy a tire is at a neighborhood tire shop where you can go back and have someone to voice your opinion to,” Durham said.
You won’t find counterfeits at your neighborhood tire store. They’re pushed on the internet, so let the buyer beware.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says to use caution when purchasing either auto parts or tires on the internet that are shipped from other countries or sold at very low prices. Consumer experts say when buying tires that seem too good to be true, be concerned. The company whose name is on the sidewall may not stand behind the product if you encounter a problem since it’s counterfeit.