New concerns about old tires

Monday, May 12, 2008

Remember when bottlers started putting "born on" dates on beer and soft drinks?

It seems that there's a "born on" date on tires that we should be paying attention to.

An investigative report by ABC-TV Friday pointed out that some tires, being sold as new, were actually made before the turn of the century.

In fact, one tire sold as new in New Jersey was manufactured in 1996.

The problem, manufacturers have known since the 1930s and have affirmed through recent scientific studies, is that tires deteriorate with age, whether they are in use or not.

A driver may put an old spare, which looks like new, into high-speed highway use, causing it to fail.

In Germany, where autobahn speeds leave little room for error, manufactures like Volkswagen already include this note: "WARNING -- Old tires can fail in use, causing loss of vehicle control and personal injury. Replace tires after six years regardless of tread wear. Always reduce speed and drive cautiously if you must use an old tire in an emergency. Replace the tire as soon as possible."

It is possible to determine when your tires were manufactured. The U.S. Department of Transportation requires on each a code of 11 or 12 letters and numbers to be imprinted on each tire, identifying the factory, tire size, manufacturer's code and week and year the tire was manufactured. The third and fourth digit from the end indicate the week the tire was made, and and last two digits are the year. For instance, if the last two numbers are "0708," that means the tire was built during the seventh week of 2008.

With the price of gasoline, few of us are willing to spend more transportation dollars replacing tires that appear to be in good shape. But it seems prudent to take an extra look at your tires before embarking on that long vacation drive over those hot summer highways.

If you have replaced your own tires and have some old ones laying around, you have a good chance coming up to get rid of them.

Besides avoiding the fee normally associated with tire disposal, it's a chance to clear out mosquito-breeding habitat -- the insects like to use the water pooled in old tires to reproduce.

The free event will be May 16-31 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, and Saturdays, from 8 a.m. until noon at the McCook Transfer Station, 1801 West Old Highway 6-34 in McCook. On U.S. Highway 6-34, turn south at Southwest Implement to find the old highway.

Only tires from Southwest Nebraska, including Dundy, Hitchcock, Red Willow, Furnas, Chase, Hayes and Frontier counties will be accepted. A maximum of 500 tons of tires will be accepted on a first-come, first serve basis, but no rims.

It's a good opportunity to clean up your property at little expense. Call the McCook Transfer Station at (308) 345-7049 for more information.

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