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Published on August 13, 2007

Letter: Don't trust used tires

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Opinion

Donīt trust used tires


I'm writing in response to the Tire Business editorial “Sell used tires—but carefully,” (June 18 issue) and the July 16 letter to the editor, “Used Tires are OK.”


This all seems familiar territory for me and gives a feeling of deja vu. The United Kingdom went through this same issue almost 20 years ago.


As with any luxury or expenditure such as a car, it is imperative that it is looked after correctly. There is no sale of used gas, and labor charges are not reduced under certain circumstances when you need to bring your car in for maintenance, so why cheap out on tires?


How about when we get an oil change we use someone else's old oil? Or we buy food at the supermarket that has been left by customers in a restaurant! This is all the same type of thinking.


Purchasing a used tire is tantamount to buying a used condom or a used napkin. Who knows where it has been and what has been experienced by the unit?


Unless you are a qualified tire technician, this is an area where a customer will be blindsided by the seemingly potential savings. And if you are a qualified tire technician, you should know better than to install used or second-hand tires.


Getting a “good deal” by purchasing used tires may seem cost effective, but do you know enough about these tires to warrant the so-called savings?


Brand new aftermarket or original equipment tires have a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) code that makes the manufacturer liable for any mishaps or recalls. When purchased as used, the responsibility should then become the seller's, but I guess you are out of luck. This rarely is the case.


You are on your own should something nasty occur, unless...well, there's no unless.


If for some obscene reason used tires are purchased, get a liability clause or such from the seller(s). Make them responsible for what they are selling.


Or do what most people who can afford to run a vehicle do: budget for new tires.


Do you the tire dealer have enough insurance to cover a multimillion dollar lawsuit if the used tires you sell fail and, heaven forbid, wipe out a family or two on the interstate?


Take the idea of buying a car. If you cannot afford to purchase new tires, how will you afford gas? The tires are the only thing holding your vehicle to the ground.


Would you fly on a plane that you knew had tires on it that had been taken from another plane that had crashed? I know I wouldn't.


I will run only on brand-new tires or retreads purchased from a reputable source. It has never even entered my head to buy used tires.


I care about my welfare and other drivers on the road, so why be negligent to save a few bucks? When my wife or I purchase a used vehicle, I have the habit of replacing all the tires. That may be a bit extreme, but I feel happier.


Please do not gamble with your life and others' lives on a piece of rubber you do not trust—or don't know where it came from!


Dean Smith


President


Doc Retread Inc.


Goodlettsville, Tenn.


Eating crow with chopsticks


I've enjoyed your paper for many years and depend on you to find and pass along to us the facts and truth in the industry.


I retired from the U.S. Navy in 1981, bought this business, and 26 years later I'm still enjoying selling and fixing tires for my customers in this very small south Texas city.


When Goodyear dropped production of some of its private label tires, my distributor, Homann Tire Ltd. of San Antonio, had to find a reliable source for ST or trailer tires. The Towmaster brand tire we had used, made by Goodyear in Canada, had proved to be reliable but now was gone.


I convinced Homann that the Titan brand from Titan International Inc. should be a very good tire to add to our line. Proud American Maurice “Morry” Taylor Jr., Titan's chairman and CEO, had convinced me that he was in fact a believer in American-made quality.


The many articles you have published over the years in Tire Business about Titan and Morry even made me purchase Titan stock about five years ago, and I've enjoyed watching Titan come back to well-being.


Your most recent article (July 2, 2007) about Titan and the United Steelworkers union seeking duties on Chinese off-the-road tire imports should make any American feel good about Titan, Morry, and pride in the U.S.A.


So imagine my surprise and absolute disgust when I received my first shipment of Titan trailer tires recently and found an American flag proudly displayed on each sidewall—but in the bead area, easily covered by the rim, were the words “Made in China.”


The first thing I did was to dump my Titan stock. I'm sure that little action will not bother Morry, but as I proudly fly my American flag each day, it made me feel better.


The second thing I did was to call Titan and ask how they had the guts to do this, even as I listened, while on hold, to a phone message from Morry himself running down Michelin North America Inc., Bridgestone/Firestone, and anything made in China.


How far into Titan production does this go?


Rufus Moore


Owner-operator


Moores Tire Center


Three Rivers, Texas


Editor's note: Tire Business contacted Titan's Mr. Taylor for a response to the concerns expressed by Mr. Moore. His explanation follows:


“We made the tires in the U.S. to fulfill an order. We got out of the business of manufacturing (ST trailer tires), but we had to fulfill certain contracts to some U.S. trailer manufacturers that liked the tread pattern.


They then turned around and told us, 'Hey, you still have to keep some of these in the aftermarket (for our customers).'


“We used to manufacture over a million of these similar type tires and sizes. I don't do that anymore…. So we have to have those for the aftermarket, these tread designs.


“What we're doing now is, I said to our guys in the Des Moines, Iowa, plant, 'I don't (care about) the sidewall. I don't want to publicize boat trailer tires. I'm out of this business. So use the Dico brand on them—because we own Dico (formerly Dico Tire Inc. in Clinton, Tenn.)


“Fit, form, function and tread pattern of these tires are the same. Is the name on the tires now different? Yes. That way, (customers) can't say we left them high and dry without tires….”


Mr. Taylor added that the original Titan trailer tire molds were sold to a Chinese tire manufacturer (Tianjin Normandy Rubber Co. Ltd., according to the DOT code), and that company has been told by Titan to remove the Titan name—and Grizz logo—from the molds.


Staying focused


You have an excellent publication. Very insightful and resourceful. Keep up the focus.


Leroy Holloway


Owner-president


Manhattan Detail Gallery


Joliet, Ill.

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