Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Traders dealing in old car tyres are reaping big despite it being illegal.
The car tyres are sold in various places like Kiseka market, Kireka, Namugongo, Mpererwe and most fuel stations.
Old used car tyres are prone to bursts and cause road traffic accidents as their quality has already depreciated. According to the UNBS guidelines, it is illegal to trade in old or retreaded car tyres, but also the new car tyres must not be displayed under the sun in the open as it wears them out.
The guidelines provide for imprisonment of two years and fine of 10 million shillings or both.
According to Shaban Mutebi, an old car tyre dealer in Namugongo, the tyres cost according to the state in which they are in, the country from which they were made and size.
“A tyre from Japan of the same size is more expensive than that tyre made from Taiwan,” Mutebi said. The tyres are bought from both private and public organizations that buy new car tyres after a certain mileage.
The tyres cost between 100,000 Shillings to a million shillings when buying them, but can be sold between 200,000 Shillings and 1.5 million shillings to willing buyers in Uganda.
Mutebi makes a fortune of averagely 15 million shillings a month from the sale of old and treaded car tyres in Namugongo.
Ivan Muhwezi, a driver who uses old car tyres is unaware that it is illegal to buy and use old car tyres, but he prefers the old tyres because they are cheap and can be used for some time, up to three years without having any problem.
Solomon Bamulangeyo, a driver and technician notes that they buy used car tyres which are dangerous but not like the re-treaded ones.
Bamulangeyo says that unlike the old used car tyres, re-treaded tyres are reduced in the size or thickness of the tyre while making grooves in them and unevenly designed to withstand pressure, heat from traction and weight carried by each of the tyres.
Barbara Kamusiime, the Senior Public Relations Officer Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), says that there are car tyre guidelines which stipulate how car tyres must be transported, stored, piled or displayed that illegal old car tyre sellers don’t follow.
Vehicle tyres have a six-year expiration date which begins from the day the tyre is manufactured.
However, in 2016, an assessment by the Inspector of Vehicles in Kampala showed that several vehicles in Kampala possessed expired tyres.
The assessment conducted on 600 vehicles found at least 246 of them with expired tyres.
The Traffic and Road Safety Directorate says expired tyres cause at least one out of every 10 accidents in Uganda today.