Tire Rage


Greetings from Vermont.

I have a 98 Toyota Camry. Yesterday I took it up the turnpike to the Toyota dealer in White River. This was for its 105.000 mile checkup. I brought along the 4 Nokia snow tires for the car so they could put them on for the winter.

After waiting a while a woman from the service counter came to tell me that they could not put on the snow tires because the area on the tire that meets - touches the wheel/rim were torn. I went out to the car in the garage and they were right. None of the tires would have been able to hold any pressure. It looked like someone had manhandled them with a pry bar.

They came from a tire dealer in my town on October 26, 2004. and last June they took these Nokias off the car and put on 4 new Bridgestones. I took the snow tires back home and put them in the basement and forgot about them. The tread on all 4 tires is excellent.

When I got back from White River I went to the tire dealer in town. I brought the owner out to look at the Nokias. He

looked at them and said that that can happen to 7 year old tires WHAT! I bought those tires on October 26, 2004. I said to him “You mean to tell me that you sold me 4 year old tires as new?” He didn’t have much to say then.

I feel ripped off because he sent me home last June with ruined tires

Now I am waiting for a response from him. He said he needed to talk to " his rep." He is probably going to give me a discount on new tires. The problem is that they were destroyed by someone in his garage. I will probably ask him why he is not giving a new tires free of charge and he will probably reply because they are old. They are old because you sold me old tires. I don’t feel like I should pay anything.

What I would like to know is it standard to sell “new” tires that are a number of years old for full price for them? What do you think I should accept from him?




You did use tires, so a fair settlement would be a partial payment for amount used. This is easy to measure since tread depth is typical and can easily be measured.

A suggestion I have for you on winter tires is to purchase four separate rims (steel) from a junkyard or new. They will pay for themselves in one season of mount/demount costs. When tires are mounted/demounted they do can get damaged in the process. Wheels with tires/rims already mounted are very easy to swap off and prevent damage.

Sorry about your woes, I would be frustrated too.


Look for the date code on the tire. It’s the last 4 digits of the number sequence starting with DOT. It should be coded as WWYY with WW being the week and YY being the year of manufacture.

I’d be willing to bet the 7 year old claim is a feeble attempt to make you go away. The tough part will be proving who did this damage.


The first thing you need to do is get very logical. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Negotiate hard, but be aware when the negotiation has reached the point where the other party has gone as far as they can go.

Second, the damage to the bead area of the tire - the part that touches the rim - is almost 100% caused during the mounting process. You can add credance to this if all the damage is to one side of the tire only. This would be the last bead “buttonhooked” over the rim. That would mean the dealer in White River is probably the one that damaged the tires. Proving it will be very difficult.

Third, the time lag between when a tire is produced and when it is installed can be considerable. At best, the time lag is a minimum of a month - and that assumes the tire is loaded on a truck the day it is produced - not likely!!

Because of the proliferation of tire sizes, certain combinations may only be produced once a year. This is probably more true of winter tires than any other kind. Stored in warehouses with the proper controls, tires have a shelf life of about 3 years. That means 4 year old tires are a bit on the old side for “new”. Hopefully you got those for a good price - and that, of course, would factor into this situation. It is common to offer a deep discount on old tires to move get them installed quickly. This would prevent the tires from being scrapped simply because they are old.

If I’ve calculated this right, you got 3 seasons already out of those winter tires. I would think they would be barely usable due to the tread depth. That means your “loss” is fairly small dollar wise. There is no way any court will award you 100% on tires that have been used - so geeting tires free should not even be considered.

Factoring all this in: If you get 25% off, then that would be reasonable. If they offer 33%, that’s probably a good offer, and if they offer 50% - Grab it!



Thanks for the advice everyone. The tread wear on all the tires are excellent. I agree that it is probably not feasible to expect new free tires but they sold me tires that were 4 years old and could not be expected to last for a normal amount of time. They blame this on the distributer. Howvever they are the ones that sold them to me and should accept responsibilty. As I noted above. If I ask the dealer why you are not giving me replacement tires free of charge. The owner will reply because your tires are old. I will reply that they were old before I bought them. And as was said they should have sold them to me at a discounted price. Thanks. Dave


I think that however this turns out, for the future you should buy another set of rims, have snow tires mounted on them, and then this should never happen again. Removing snow tires each spring and having them remounted each fall puts stress on the inner edge of the tires. While you do have a claim for at least discounted snow tires now, go ahead and buy another set of steel rims from a junk yard or a used tire seller. This way they will only need to swap (and maybe balance) your snow tires rather than having them remounted each time.