ERJ staff report (TP)
Kingston, Jamaica − Establishments across the country are selling substandard used tires, especially to taxi operators, but also to private motorists – reported The Jamaica Gleaner.
Kyle Gregg of BD Gregg and Brothers Ltd, who is also a circuit racer, said he was aware that mediocre tires are being sold to taxi operators.
"I know it is being done. I don't doubt it. Everyone does it to hustle. I don't recommend it, though, especially if it is vulcanised or patchy, because it is not safe. I'd never sell one like that," Gregg said.
President of the Jamaica Used Car Dealers Association, Lynvalle Hamilton, said, "I can't really speak to that, but this isn't far-fetched. It's not only being sold to taxi men, but to other motorists to cut costs, based on what I know".
According to bridgestoneselect.com, motorists should ensure tires have more than 1.6mm of its threading. Most new tires have about 8mm of thread pattern when manufactured, but as tires wear down their ability to disperse water reduction. Tires should be replaced before the thread wears down to the level of the wear indicators. These indicators are moulded into all major grooves of tires in at least four positions.
A representative from a popular tire company, who requested anonymity, explained that persons who take taxis, which have these tires, are putting their lives in danger. He also pointed to the absence of regulations governing this unsafe practice.
"The market is being flooded by cheap, useless rims of rubber. I can lift these tires up with my little finger. They are targeting taxi men. The taxis will have three bad tires and one good one, but the one good one is also bad," he said.
Saying, for one particular brand, the thread patterns are "horrible" from the outset, he said "people are literally risking their lives and there is a lack of regulation".
Chief motor vehicle inspector at the Island Traffic Authority, Clive McDonald, said he is not aware of any regulations that would reduce the practice of reselling used tires. However, he said, when motorists go have their vehicles examined to renew certificates of fitness, it is usually pointed out by the examiner.
Public education and information co-ordinator, Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), Ellis Laing, pointed out that the BSJ's concern would be those tires coming into the ports.
"I would not be able to say, without having spoken to the regulatory divisions. However, our primary responsibility would be those tires that come into the port of entry. Persons may very well purchase discarded tires. The bureau would not have an issue with tires that are circulated locally, only those brought in through the ports of entry," he said.
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Full story from The Jamaica Gleaner