CHICAGO (WLS) -- How do you know how old those "new" tires really are? And would you be okay with paying for new tires that were actually nine years old? That's what happened to a north suburban woman who called the I-Team.
Christine Heavey, of Algonquin, recently noticed that the tires she bought as new were about nine years old at the time of purchase.
"Come to find out that the tires were discontinued for quite a long time," she said.
Heavey bought Goodyear Wrangler Silent Armor Prograde Tires from a Just Tires store in Mt. Prospect two years ago.
She said the tires were presented to her as new.
"It made me upset. I wish that they had been more transparent," Heavey said.
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Tire expert Brian Darr said that while there is no set standard on how old is too old when it comes to tires, there is a general consensus in the automotive industry.
"Tires are not wine. They don't get better with age. Don't sell a tire after six years of age. And then definitely take it out service, no matter, what at 10 years," Darr said. "Think of a rubber band that could normally stretch this far. After it ages, it can only stretch this far. And then there's other things, like the hardness of the tread."
When Heavey contacted Goodyear, which owns Just Tires, they offered her a full refund of $540 for "the price of the tires," which excluded $65 she paid in taxes and fees.
Heavey was told she had to also return the tires to the store to be "scrapped" to get the refund.
"Tire service life is not determined by chronological age. Goodyear warrants our tires from date of installation regardless of date of manufacture," Goodyear told the I-Team.
"It was a little scary because I drive long distances on expressway with this vehicle," Heavey said.
So how can you find out the age of the tires you are buying? Look for a 10 to 12 digit Department of Transportation code on the sidewall. The last four digits are the week and the year the tires were made. You want those numbers to be within the year you're buying the tires
Heavey's tires were made in the 37th week of 2012.
If she knew then what she knows now, she said she would not have bought them.
Goodyear also cited the U.S. Tire Manufacturing Association's position, which is similar to Goodyear's. That group said it is not aware of scientific data that identifies a minimum or maximum service life for passenger tires.