Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 20 January 2019

Tyre safety is an important issue in UAE

What seems a good deal when buying tyres could actually prove very costly
Tyres on display in a showroom in Abu Dhabi. Fake tyres are a public safety hazard. Ravindranath K / The National
Tyres on display in a showroom in Abu Dhabi. Fake tyres are a public safety hazard. Ravindranath K / The National

Every year, police and industry experts warn against the dangers of using faulty tyres, which are believed to be one of the main causes of car accidents. But why does it remain such a big issue?

It almost goes without saying that the quality of tyres plays an essential role in road safety. Car tyres have to provide sufficient grip when turning and braking on both dry and wet roads. Although a good tyre lasts around 50,000 km, this average can vary enormously, depending on the quality and conditions of use, including driving habits, road surface and weather conditions.

Unfortunately, the market for counterfeit goods in general is flourishing, and specifically fake car parts, including brake components, clutch plates, engine internals and tyres. The counterfeit car-parts industry is estimated to be worth Dh30 billion a year.

Unfortunately, the UAE continues to be preyed upon by counterfeiters, in part because of its status as a regional distribution hub. The authorities have been working to stamp out fake goods. The issue of fake car parts is taken very seriously because of the safety concerns.

Consumers may buy poor quality or fake-branded tyres that shopkeepers pass off as coming from an established manufacturer, without being aware that the potential consequences could mean endangering the lives of drivers and passengers. What makes it an even bigger problem is that the parts and their packaging can sometimes be so convincing that only expert analysis can detect whether or not they’re the real deal.

Another issue is that unlike the common belief that it’s safer to get car parts from big brands, these brands are themselves often targeted by counterfeiters. Customers who are looking for a bargain would be tempted to get what appears to be a branded product at a lower price. Their availability in the market also makes them more convenient than waiting for official dealers to order official parts from the manufacturer. There are also those who are aware of all this, but nevertheless buy counterfeit tyres and parts for their cheap prices without realising that the savings are diminished because of highly degraded quality that requires more frequent replacement.

Authorities have been working on regulating the market and prosecuting offenders when they are caught, fining them and removing their products from the supply chain. But there is also an individual responsibility. We have a responsibility to check on whatever we consume – food, drink, clothing, even the tyres our cars ride on – to know from where they originate. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. It’s better to buy only from reputable companies to avoid dodgy deals – or an accident.

Updated: February 23, 2017 04:00 AM