Retail

Used Tire Problems Continue in Europe

John Stone
Posted on September 30, 2016

It would be true to say that Europe has something of a tire crisis at the moment. No, it has nothing to do with inexpensive Chinese imports or, in fact, new tire prices. The main problem right now is trying to ensure the tires on drivers’ vehicles are actually fit for purpose.

The fact is, eventually tires wear out and when a customer is forced to buy new ones, the tire dealer who fits those new tires is legally obliged to dispose of the old tires in a responsible and safe manner. In the majority of cases, the millions of scrap tires that need disposing of each year are taken to a large tire granulating plant at various locations around Europe where they are transformed into high-end quality rubber granulate that is used for a range of applications including sports surfaces and children’s playgrounds.

However, it is very disturbing to discover that still over 1.5 million of these scrap tires find their way back into the part-worn tire trade that continues to blossom on the Continent despite constant safety warnings.

I have spoken to a number of leading people in the market who all agree that there remains a great temptation by tire collection agencies to sell worn tires to boost revenue. At the same time, it seems the industry is looking to fight back. A few tire safety associations are beginning to launch their own unique collection schemes aimed at ensuring the tires are scrapped and not returned into the buyers’ markets as part-worn tires.

This tire dump in Kuwait may be the world’s largest.
This tire dump in Kuwait may be the world’s largest.
I have been looking a little closer into these pioneering schemes which appear to provide an audited assurance that no tires collected from dealers who agree to join the scheme are sold back to part-worn tire dealers. This latest development in the ongoing European battle with part-worn tire dealers joins other safety campaign groups including Tyresafe and the Tyre Industry Federation (TIF) in trying to remove scrap tires being offered for sale as a cheap source of purchase for families with limited incomes.

One influential person in the trade (who wished to remain anonymous) says, “Whilst second-hand clothes ooze retro charm to some people, part-worn tires certainly do not and can only be viewed as a cut-price and dangerous source of income for unscrupulous tire dealers.” I have also become aware that several leading European automotive magazines have decided to support this much needed tire safety campaign.

A recent article in Auto Express reported that despite strict legal regulations on tread depth, acceptable repairs and the stipulation that labelling and traceability repairs to rubber must identify the name and registration number of the garage that carried out the work, several recent surveys on random tire batches revealed none of the tires offered such important information. Also, all part-worns offered for sale should be ink-stamped as part-worn on the sidewall, but again this just isn’t happening in most cases. This means that in almost every case where an innocent driver buys these tires they have no way of knowing if the tires they have bought are safe, which is extremely worrying and distressing.

A typical European scrap tire site. Look familiar?
A typical European scrap tire site. Look familiar?
At the moment the European euro is continuing to face an uncertain future, which means more and more ordinary family drivers across Europe are looking to reduce their daily expenditure so they are naturally tempted to take a chance on a set of part-worn tires in the future (to save money). The sheer grand scale of scrap tires available at any one time is perfectly illustrated by the shot of the world’s largest used tire dump in Kuwait in the Middle East. So regrettably there is plenty of opportunity for part-worn tire dealers with no concern for safely to grow their businesses.

Although there is a lot of good work being carried out to rectify the current situation, I believe that at least for the moment part-worn tires will remain a monkey on the back of European tire safety.

John Stone has been working within the global tire industry for the past 24 years. In 2004 he launched his own consulting company, Sapphire Media Services, which caters to business media clients around the globe. Stone also writes for tire and automotive-related publications in Europe, South Africa and Asia.

To read more European Notebook articles, click:

TyreAware Campaign Rolls Out Across Europe

Europe Steps Up the Fight Against the Sale of Defective Tires

Tire Labeling Update: Increased Surveillance Should FIx a Loophole

From a Rubber Pattern to Total Control! Future Tires Will be a Source of Invaluable Information

Related Topics: European Notebook, John Stone, used tires

Comments ( 0 )
More Stories
Yokohama will meet with tire dealers across the country during the 2018 ride and drive training program.
News

Yokohama Takes Dealer Training on the Road

Yokohama Tire Corp. is once again taking its dealer training program on the road. The 2018 experiential Ride and Drive Dealer Training Program kicks off with a multi-city tour May 22 in Anaheim, Calif.

The new Monroe ads will run in a broad range of automotive service industry publications and reach thousands of additional industry professionals.
News

Tenneco Ad Campaign Touts Advantages of Monroe Products

Tenneco Inc. has launched an extensive print and digital advertising campaign called “If It Doesn’t Say Monroe” which highlights the quality, performance and value benefits of the Monroe brand of ride control products.

©gettyimages.com/chombosan
Article

Servicing the Next Generation of Cars and Customers

A couple of years ago, one of the consumer magazines compared the cars of 1991 to the cars of 2016 and listed the top 15 automotive milestones over that 25-year period. Hybrid technology, stability control and GPS satellite navigation were the top three in order and amazingly enough, tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) was number nine. The list was a mix of mechanical and driver-related innovations that made cars better, safer, efficient and more convenient.

Continental has released a VDO rubber snap-in TPMS sensor for late-model Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles.
Product

New VDO TPMS Sensor Fits Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep

Continental has expanded its OE-replacement TPMS sensor program with a new VDO rubber snap-in TPMS sensor specifically designed for late model applications on Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep vehicles, including the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

News

TBC Grows With NTB and Tire Kingdom Brands

Since the start of 2018 TBC Corp. has opened eight new NTB Tire and Service Centers and Tire Kingdom stores. The company plans to open another 20 locations by April 1, 2019.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from MTD delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the tire industry and don't miss a thing!