An article in a leading publication in the UAE which quoted a mechanic as saying that tires should be less than 150 days old when purchased has raised a ruckus. Newspapers, like other forms of mass media are considered to be trusted sources of information and articles like these are bound to affect consumer perception about the viability of the tires they purchase.
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has clearly stipulated that the validity of a car tire is five years from its date of manufacture irrespective of use. Articles like these which quote so called experts who know better than even the regulatory authorities in the country can mislead consumers about the viability of tires when they are less than one year old. Customers will not fail their RTA vehicle registration test if their tires are less than four years old as vehicles have to pass the inspection on an annual basis and the RTA has accepted that tires are good for use during the period covering five years from the date of manufacture.
There might be a few scamsters who sell tires that are well past their usable date, but the actions of a few should not affect the reputation of tire retailers and wholesalers in general. Tires are sourced from countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Korea and Japan for sale in the UAE and the time required for shipment of the tires from these countries to the UAE can take well over 150 days.
Ideally, tires should be sold within two years from the date of manufacture and changed every three years when used. This is well within the five-year period stipulated by the RTA and means that tires which have been manufactured within a period of two years, or 730 days are suitable for purchase. Suggesting that tires should be purchased only if they are less than 150 days old is hence highly irresponsible.
While publishing articles like these that can affect the prospects of an entire industry, it is important that the facts mentioned in the article are cross checked multiple times from credible sources so that readers get correct information. Articles like these about DOT dates are highly damaging to the local tire industry as dealers will end up with huge amounts of unsold inventory of new tires in excellent condition that can be used for another two, three or even four years. The only other option would be to sell these tires which customers are reluctant to purchase at huge losses.
One example was given by Ali Moaref, Managing Director of Varga Trading LLC which is the exclusive distributor of Kenda and Marshal tires in the local market. He said that customers asked for heavy discounts for tires which had a DOT date of December 31, 2017 whereas they did not have any concern about tires manufactured in 2018, though the difference was just a matter of a few days.
Several prominent tire industry executives were quick to respond to the article in the publication clarifying the rules. They also pointed out that the article failed to mention several things including the fact that it is mandatory for tire dealers in the UAE to use RFID stickers on tires which can be scanned to get complete details about the tire including its date of manufacture. The use of RFID sticker has been mandatory from June 2015.
The sticker, which is provided by ESMA to all legitimate importers of tires, will have all the specifications of the tire, including its brand name, country of origin, type of tire, temperature rating as well as traction rating and tread wear.
Tires which have RFID tags and adhere to GSO standards can be bought without any concern about their viability. There is very little scope for passing off old tires as new or to sell “fake” tires and customers can rest easy if they ensure that they are purchasing tires which have been made within a period of two years.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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