Unsafe Used Tires

Effective January 1, 2020, Assembly Bill 949 (Medina, Chapter 266, Statutes of 2019) adds a new Article 10 to the Automotive Repair Act, affecting the installation of used tires. Business and Professions Code section 9889.30 makes it a misdemeanor for an automotive repair dealer (ARD) to install an unsafe used tire on a motor vehicle for use on a public roadway. Under the new law, a used tire is considered unsafe under any one of the following conditions:

  • The tire is worn to two thirty-seconds (2/32) of one inch tread depth or less on any area of the tread.
  • The tire has any damage exposing the reinforcing plies of the tire, through cuts, cracks, punctures, scrapes, or wear.
  • The tire has any repair in the tread shoulder or belt edge area.
  • The tire has a puncture that has not been both sealed or patched on the inside and repaired with a cured rubber stem through to the outside.
  • The tire has repair to the sidewall or bead area.
  • The tire has a puncture repair of damage larger than one-fourth (1/4) of one inch.
  • The tire shows evidence of prior use of a temporary tire sealant to repair a puncture or damage to the tire without evidence of a subsequent proper repair.
  • The tire has a defaced or removed United States Department of Transportation tire identification number.
  • The tire has any inner liner damage or bead damage.
  • The tire shows indication of internal separation, such as bulges or local areas of irregular tread wear indicating a distortion in the tread area when compared to other areas of the tread, or belt separation.

An ARD may perform a visual inspection to determine if the used tire is unsafe, except when determining whether the tire is worn to two thirty-seconds (2/32) of one inch tread depth or less. However, the law is silent as to the method that should be used to measure the tread depth.

It is important to note that the new law does not apply to tire repairs, tire rotations, tire balancing, or a tire mounted on a wheel or rim that is temporarily removed from a vehicle and reinstalled on the same vehicle.

Under the new law, a “tire repair” means repairing a puncture that has not caused any internal damage to the tire and is no larger than one-fourth (1/4) of one inch in diameter.

The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) Enforcement Division conducts investigations, often in response to consumer complaints, and may discipline licensees who do not comply with the Automotive Repair Act and related laws and regulations. As this bill prohibits an ARD from installing an unsafe used tire on a vehicle, any licensee who violates the new law would be subject to BAR discipline. Additional information is available at www.leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.

Stack of used tires

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