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More than 60% of second-hand tyres sold in SA are illegal

24 October 2019 - 08:35 By Motor News Reporter
Second-hand tyres are safe-to-use you when you see visible tread wear indicators below the tread across the whole tyre. There must also be no exposed fabric, cuts, lumps or bulges. Picture: SUPPLIED
Second-hand tyres are safe-to-use you when you see visible tread wear indicators below the tread across the whole tyre. There must also be no exposed fabric, cuts, lumps or bulges. Picture: SUPPLIED

Sumitomo Rubber SA’s Used Tyre Survey in 2017 revealed that more than 60% of second tyres sold in SA are illegal.

“This is a staggering statistic,” says chairperson of the South African Tyre Manufacturing Conference (SATMC), Darren Hayes-Powell. “One that has fatal consequences for road users, especially when you consider that the only part of the car touching the road is a piece of tyre tread the size of your hand."

The SATMC, a representative body of SA’s four tyre manufacturers — Bridgestone, Continental, Goodyear and Sumitomo — is commemorating Transport Month by advocating against the sale of unsafe, ill-suited and illicit second-hand tyres to unsuspecting customers looking for quick savings on replacement tyres.

“This Transport Month, October 2019, we are urging drivers to only purchase tyres, new or second-hand, from reputable dealerships, ” says Hayes-Powell.

Second-hand tyres are often sold to customers looking for a way to save money on replacement tyres. However, unless they visit a reputable dealership or know what to look out for, buyers may purchase a second-hand waste tyre intended for the scrapheap.

Hayes-Powell says that the choice between the a waste-tyre and a safe-to-use tyre could be a matter of life and death. “The consequences of fitting second-hand waste tyres can be dire. They reduce the performance of a vehicle by increasing stopping distances, raising the risk of skidding and increasing the risk of blow-outs.”

Second-hand tyres are safe-to-use you when you see:

  • Visible tread wear indicators below tread across the whole tyre.
  • No exposed fabric, cuts, lumps or bulges.

A second-hand tyre is not safe to use when you see:

  • Tread depth across any part of the tyre that is below the level of the tread wear indicators.
  • No tread wear indicator, due to carving the rubber on tyres to create more tread depth (regrooving).
  • Damaged rubber that exposes fabric or cord.
  • Cuts, lumps or bulges.

“More concerning is the fact that we have even seen tyres that have been damaged beyond repair for safe service on the road but have been superglued so that the repair is not visible anymore. This will certainly be cause for a blow-out on the road and potentially an accident,” says Hayes-Powell.

Fitting second-hand waste tyres can also have an impact on insurance payouts. According to the AA, in the event of a crash, an insurance claim could be refuted if it is found that the tyres were in poor condition and were the cause of the crash.


“While the onus of labelling and destroying of second-hand waste tyres lies with retail tyre fitment centres, the catastrophic effects lie with drivers. If you have any doubt about the quality of a used-tyre, do not purchase it. It could save lives,” Hayes-Powell concludes.

According to Riaz Haffejee, CEO of Sumitomo Rubber SA which represents the Dunlop and Sumitomo brands, SA has seen a notable increase of substandard second-hand tyres with 61% of illegal second-hand tyres being sold into the market and the proliferation of these tyres can have fatal consequences to road users.

“In support of SATMC’s concerns, we believe that education on the safety risks and consequences of buying second-hand waste tyres, sold into the market, is critical to consumer safety.

“More importantly, the onus lies with retail tyre fitment dealers to ensure that second-hand waste tyres are mutilated and destroyed and that once these have been assigned for waste pick up, they do not resurface in the market,” says Haffejee.