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Tyres aren’t a purchase that most people look forward to making – but they’re an investment in your vehicle and, further than that, in the safety of you and your loved ones.
If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’ve spent a decent amount of money maintaining and replacing tyres over the years. In all that time, have you ever heard of parallel imports?
While it may not sound like a huge deal, it could be affecting the longevity of your tyres, your hip pocket and, most importantly, your safety.
So – do you really know where your tyres have come from?
It’s a risky business
Sometimes referred to as “grey” imports, parallel imports are products that are imported and sold in Australia without the permission or support of the authorised local distributer.
If the name didn’t give it away, parallel import tyres often look identical to those supplied by official importers. It’s the less obvious elements, such as the rubber compound and casing construction, which may not be suitable for Australian conditions.
If this is the case, they may not handle or wear as well as tyres designed for the unique terrains and climates we’re used to Down Under. They could actually be very unsafe.
Parallel imports could also be a few years old by the time they are fitted to your vehicle, exceeding the five year warranty period. The longer they’ve been sitting sadly on the shelf, the more likely their quality has degraded – reducing their lifespan and, again, threatening your safety.
Spot the difference
There are a few questions you can ask yourself, your dealer and the manufacturer, to avoid going grey:
Is my tyre dealer authorised?
If you’re not sure whether your tyre dealer is authorised to sell your brand of choice, contact the tyre manufacturer. If you’re here because Bridgestone is your favourite brand, visit your local Bridgestone Select, Bridgestone Service Centre or Bridgestone Tyre Centre.
Do they come with a manufacturer’s warranty?
Tyres purchased through the correct channels are most often covered by a warranty, so that if any issues arise your rights as a consumer are protected. It’s highly unlikely that parallel imports would be covered by this same warranty – putting you at risk.
Are these tyres suited to Australian conditions?
Select a tyre that has been specially designed to suit this country’s unique climate and terrain.
How “new” is new?
You can tell how old a tyre is by looking for four digits on its sidewall. These represent the date of manufacture, with the first two digits signifying the week and the second two the year of manufacture.
Is this price too good to be true?
If the tyres are cheap as chips, it could be a sign that the product is a parallel import.
For more information please see our Parallel Import Notice.
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