8,000 cars with 'back-to-front' tires fail Irish test
ERJ staff report (TP)
Dublin, Ireland − More than 8,000 cars have failed the National Car Test (NCT) so far this year because their tires were fitted the wrong way around, reported Eddie Cunningham for The Irish Independent.
Untrained and 'unscrupulous' fitters are being blamed for the dangerous mix-up.
Large numbers of modern tires have treads with special grooves for better grip in wet and slippery conditions, to reduce stopping distances and avert accidents.
These are called 'directional' tires and have arrows on the side showing the way they should be fitted – but more than 8,000 had the arrows facing in the opposite, incorrect direction when NCT tested, new research reveals.
Those 'backways' tires heighten the risk of an accident because they have substantially less grip on wet roads so incorrectly fitted tires automatically invokes a re-test.
Tires are the second most common reason for failing the NCT, after problems with front suspension.
Now, for the first time, tire outlets are being licensed as safety concerns grow, not just for 'backways' fittings but over the numbers of part-worn tires being sold.
All staff of licensed retailers will now be independently assessed and accredited.
The clampdown also means the licensed retailers will not sell part-worn tires – they describe them as "potentially dangerous products".
It is the first time standards have been introduced in the industry and follows a mandate from members of the Irish Tire Industry Association (ITIA). So far, 35 outlets have been licensed.
A survey by the ITIA last year found that more than 50 percent of second-hand or part-worn tires sold here were dangerous or 'not fit for purpose' because of tread depth, condition or age.
ITIA president Kevin Farrell says the new self-regulation system should reduce the numbers having to get their cars retested due to tire issues.
His association's analysis of the NCT's statistics is the first of its kind.
"Both from anecdotal evidence from our members and from the NCT statistics, the incorrect fitting of tires by untrained fitters is clearly widespread, and is endangering road users," he said.
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Full story from The Irish Independent