Watch Out of the Week: Do you know how old your tyres are?

Watch Out of the Week: Do you know how old your tyres are?

This watch-out is inspired by a personal tyre experience. I got a flat last week, went to a tyre fitment place. They removed the wheel, did that submerge in water test, and came back to me to say the tyre was in bad shape and needed to be replaced.

Tyres/ iStock

I had thought I’d get away with replacing the two front tyres, because the tread on the back ones seemed fine, but I ended replacing all four, plus the spare!

All of them had had issues - puncture repairs of various kinds that I’d lost track of, plus they were manufactured in 2010.

Until recently I’d done fairly low mileage.

But here’s the thing - you have to consider the tread, the general condition as well and age of your tyres.

If your tread is worn to less than 1.6mm, it means that your car is no longer roadworthy, according to the National Road Traffic Act. So, not only is it illegal to drive your vehicle under these conditions, but it also means that when you’re involved in a car accident – your car insurance probably won’t pay out any of your claims.

Cracks in the sidewall are also a red flag - they are often caused by wear and sun exposure - and this puts the tyre a high risk of a blow-out, because the UV exposure has broken down the oils and chemicals and turned the rubber brittle.


Did you know that tyres have an expiry date; the date after which the manufacturer believes the tyre should be replaced, regardless of your mileage? It’s usually five years. 


Dunlop recommends that after five years, you have your tyres properly inspected at least once a year.

“Age deteriorates your tyres regardless of whether or not you drive on them, and it is recommended to get them replaced at the very least every ten years, even if they don’t look worn. Tyre age is measured from the date of manufacture, not of purchase.

How can you tell when your tyres were manufactured?

There is a four-digit number on the wall of the tyre that tells you that - the first two numbers indicate the week of manufacture, the second two the year.

So if the tyre was made on Feb 15 this year, would have the code 0719  (the seventh week of 2019).

So take a look, and if your tyres are more than five years old, get them professionally checked out.

And when you are buying tyres, check out when they were manufactured. You don’t want to be buying old stock.

Oh, and don’t let the tyre salesman talk you into replacing more tyres than you need to, or tell you that your insurance company insists that you get a particular, premium brand. Check with your car manufacturer and the insurer first.

Here endeth the tyre tutorial.


So you think you can ignore the small print?

 In this week’s ShopTalk I want to reiterate a warning I’ve given a few times in the past three years or so, but not for a while, and clearly businesses - small to medium  sized ones especially need to keep hearing it, because I still get emails from people who’ve fallen for the scam virtually EVERY DAY.

Potential victims are companies that pay Telkom’s directories subsidiary, Trudon, for a bold listing in the white and yellow pages. They get a call from someone asking for an email address so that they can confirm the listing for the next directory - a free process. They assume it’s Trudon.

Then comes an emailed form, which the person, often the receptionist or admin person, fills in without consulting the bosses, and without reading the small - very small - print.

They think nothing more of it until they get a demand for payment of around R10 000, for a 24-month listing in some obscure digital directory that has nothing to do with Telkom. Telecom Directories, White Listings, White Pages Online, Business Directories.. lots of names, same modus operandi.

If they don’t pay, the “debt collectors” start harassing them.

The whole thing is illegitimate.

The advertising has been found to be misleading by the then Advertising Standards Authority and earlier this year, the Council for Debt Collectors fined two of the operators for operating debt collecting companies illegitimately… Niel Grundling, a prosthodontist from PE, emailed me this week to say that he’d got an email from a debt collecting company called A & P Attorneys, saying “We shall proceed with the issue of summons, Judgment and warrant of execution against your property to recover the debt.”

“These people harass me all the time,” he said. “Please sort them out!. How on earth can they still keep on scamming/harassing  people. Every time it is a different 'law firm' and different email. All over the internet they scammed the people!”

Yes, it’s an awful scam, but here’s the thing: the people getting scammed are the ones who DO NOT read the small print of documents before they sign them.

The small print spells out that the senders of those emails are not part of Trudon, and includes variations of “This is a 12-month listing costing R9450."

So the advice is - read the small print, always. Don’t assume it’s all fine. Warn all your staff members.

And if you didn’t and you have got caught, just ignore them.  Their threats of legal action are empty; they just want to scare you into paying up.  I don’t know of a single case of legal summons being served.

I really, really hope I’m still not having to warn businesses about this a year from now.

Also read: Wendy’s “Watch Out” of the Week

To contact Wendy, go to her Facebook page and click on the Send Email tab.

In case you missed any of the past Consumerwatch shows, find them below:

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