That Bargain Tyre May Not Be All It Appears
We were asked recently if we sell blemished tyres. The answer is no. Here’s an explanation of why.
What Are Blemished Tyres?
If you have ever bought an item of clothing from a factory outlet store, you may well have bought an item that is ‘blemished’. You may not even realise that it is. It may be considered blemished because of a small mark, or an inch of poor stitching, or even a button that has been sewn on at the wrong angle.
Many blemished tyres that are sold suffer analogous imperfections. Cosmetic issues. But not all. They are factory seconds, but for a variety of reasons.
How Do Blemished Tyres Occur?
With all the money that is poured into research, development and production, you would think that tyre companies would have no problems in their manufacturing processes. But, like all manufacturers, mishaps and mistakes do occur – which is why quality control exists.
Issues during the manufacturing process range from cosmetic – for instance, there may be a mark on the sidewall – to more serious problems, such as a missing steel radial belt. Rubber poured may not fill the mould correctly, and the tread may be short in places, or not uniformly.
There are many reasons a tyre may be termed as blemished. Whatever the reason, it is sold as a second – just like so many fashion items – and hence is far cheaper than a tyre in perfect condition.
How Do You Know a Tyre Is Blemished?
When quality control throws out a blemished tyre, the serial number of the tyre (the number that specifies where the tyre was made, when, and what production run) is removed. The sidewall is embossed with ‘BLEM’ for ‘blemished’.
What Happens in Quality Control?
Quality control is taken super seriously by tyre manufacturers. After all, this isn’t a shirt. A poorly sewn button might pop and show a little flesh. Tyre manufacturers are taking people’s lives in their hands. Even a small, seemingly inconsequential problem could affect the performance and safety of a tyre.
Specialist machinery is used by highly trained quality inspectors. These machines often include X-ray-type machines that check for internal issues, such as air bubbles in the rubber that affect tyre stability.
If a tyre has any issues, whether cosmetic or more serious, they are discarded from the high-quality run and put into the ‘blemished’ pile. They don’t meet the high standards set for the industry, and so are not sold as quality tyres.
Can You Buy Blemished Tyres?
The short answer is yes, and some tyre sellers only sell blemished tyres. The long answer is, “Why would you want to?”
Are Blemished Tyres Safe?
Supposedly, blemished tyres are safe, because only cosmetically blemished tyres are meant to be sold. But here’s the thing: tyre manufacturers don’t mark a tyre with ‘BLEM’ and the reason for the blemish. You only know that they are blemished.
Tyre manufacturers remove the serial number for a good reason, too. Tyre warranties have some specific exemptions that are not covered. For example:
- If your tyre suffers damage because of scuffs, impact or punctures
- If you improperly inflate your tyres (see our tyre pressure guide for advice)
- Tyre misalignment or an incorrect wheel balance
- Tyres that are marked ‘BLEM’
That’s right, a blemished tyre won’t be guaranteed in the same way by the manufacturer. Let’s face it, if they were happy to fully guarantee the tyre, they wouldn’t be removing it from the production line, would they? Removing the serial number ensures that there can be no comebacks on the manufacturer. If you buy a blemished tyre, you take the risk that it is faulty.
No, We Don’t Sell Blemished Tyres
While some tyre shops and tyre sellers heavily market blemished tyres, they are not an item we will ever stock. We value the safety of our customers above everything else.
Some tyre buyers enjoy buying blemished tyres because they feel they are buying brand names at deeply discounted prices. Which they are. But there is a real reason for that deep discount. If tyre manufacturers are confident enough to include blemished tyres on their warranties, what confidence can you have driving on them?
Tyres are the only contact between you and the road. We want that contact to be as strong as possible. When we sell a tyre at Darra Tyres, we know it is the best quality tyre for your vehicle, driving style and budget. We’ll never let our reputation be tarnished by selling tyres that manufacturers wouldn’t be happy to include in their warranties. Your safety is way more important than a few dollars of extra profit.
Don’t mess with your safety. Feel free to contact us to book an appointment to have your tyres checked, or to ask any questions you may have.
Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,