TORONTO — One of Canada’s largest tire and auto repair retailers places no upper limit on the age of new tires it installs in customer vehicles.
Canadian Tire, with 488 stores, says it does not restrict the sale of new tires no matter how long it has been since they were manufactured.
Global News found that Canadian Tire, as well as other retailers, sell tires that are well over a year old.
While perfectly legal, because there are no expiry dates on tires, consumer safety experts say tires degrade over time and pose a potential risk.
“All of the science shows that tire age matters, tire age plays a role in the safety of the product whether or not it’s been used,” said Sean Kane of the Rehoboth, Massachusetts-based Safety, Research & Strategies.
In the U.S. and Canada, however, the organization representing many tire manufacturers disagrees.
“There’s no data to support that chronological age of the tire in any way affects performance of that tire,” said Glenn Maidment, president of the Tire and Rubber Association in Mississauga, Ont.
Consumers are rarely told about age when buying new tires.
When Global News mystery-shopped some Toronto-area retailers by telephone, asking to find out when a set of tires was manufactured, we were assured the tires were new.
But no manufacturing date was offered.
Active Green and Ross, a franchised Ontario tire and auto repair company, sold four-and-a-half year old tires to Randy Kamino, an insurance adjuster.
When he found out, almost a year later, he asked for his money back from the company, which refused.
“You’re paying the same price, so you’re entitled to the brand new product,” said Kamino.
Andy Chiodo, marketing manager with Active Green and Ross, defended the company’s position.
“We respectfully disagree with the comments that Mr. Kamino did not get full value on that purchase,” he said.
“The tires were brand new when he purchased them in November, 2014, regardless of the DOT (tire identification) date.”
Global News mystery-shopped a company location in Toronto and found Active Green and Ross selling tires manufactured in 2012, 2011 and even 2010.
A Canadian Tire location was also selling a display Michelin tire manufactured in mid 2013, about two-and-a-half years old.
When contacted about its policy on selling aged tires, a spokesperson said the company strives to provide customers the best selection of tires and follows the recommendations of its industry association.
“We do not have an official policy in place regarding the sale of tires past a certain age,” the spokesperson said in an email.
Consumers can determine the age of tires by looking for the four-digit tire identification code imprinted into the sidewall.
The first two numbers represent the week of the year when it was manufactured; the last two digits are the last two numbers of the year when the tire was manufactured.
For example, 2612 refers to a tire produced in the 26th week of 2012.