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Does a Tyre Have a Legal Lifetime Limit?

Question:

I tried to have a puncture fixed at a tyre dealer. The dealer declined stating that the tyre was older than five years and that legislation prohibited him from fixing it. He also said that if I was involved in an accident, my insurer could decline payout even if the other party was at fault. Are his statements true or was this part of a hard sell tactic?

Answer:

In terms of Regulation 212 of the National Road Traffic Act it states that no person shall operate on a public road a motor vehicle which is equipped with a regrooved tyre having a bead diameter of 430 millimetres / less. The law says your tyres must have 1.6 millimetres of tread, and if they fall below that figure, you risk hefty fines and points on your licence. Given the average life span of a normal car tyre is 2 to 5 years, depending on use, a dealer is under an obligation not to repair / regroove a tyre if it will not comply with the National Regulator for compulsory specifications. If a dealer repairs a tyre that should not have been repaired he is at risk of being liable for any damages caused to the vehicle as a result of damaged tyres. A dealer is under an obligation to advise the consumer that he is of the opinion that the tyre needs to be replaced.

When you enter into your policy conditions with your insurer you enter into an agreement stating that your vehicle will be in a roadworthy condition. If you fail to keep your vehicle in a roadworthy condition and an accident occurs, your insurance company can repudiate your claim. If your tyres are not in good condition your vehicle can be viewed as being unroadworthy. This however can be challenged with the short term insurance Ombudsman.

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