With reporting by Reem Saad
Inspectors from Qatar’s Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) have ordered the temporary closure of the main showroom and a warehouse of vehicle servicing company Auto Future Tech for storing and selling expired tires.
The company’s Salwa Road showroom and a warehouse in the Industrial Area were shut for one month yesterday after ministry officials found and seized 4,900 tires that were “expired”, the ministry said in a statement on Twitter.
Auto Future Tech is part of the Al Fardan Group, and has sole distribution rights for Continental tires in Qatar, according to the company’s website.
An employee at the showroom confirmed the closure, but said the order only affected one of the company’s warehouses and branches.
Its other branch on Airport Street remains open to the public, he added.
The MEC posted a short video of its inspection of the company’s warehouse on social media.
شاهد عبر السناب شات قيام موظفي الوزارة بالتحقق في اخبارية لمخالفة أحد المحلات ببيع إطارات منتهية الصلاحية: Mec_Qatar pic.twitter.com/ukOASKeuUU
— وزارة التجارة والصناعة (@MOCIQatar) May 17, 2016
Shops and garages in Qatar are not allowed to store or sell tires for cars, buses and light trucks that are more than two years old. Heavy truck tires may be kept for up to 30 months after manufacturing.
The latest closure is part of an ongoing campaign by the MEC’s consumer protection department to ensure automotive-related businesses are complying with the law.
In 2013, it took legal action against 17 shops that were found to be violating the law by storing or selling out-of-date tires.
In an advisory at the time, the ministry told residents to check tires for production dates, which appears as four digits printed on the side of the tire.
The two numbers on the right indicate the year of production, while the digits on the left show the
month week, MEC said.
The rubber in tire degrades with age. The process can be exacerbated by extreme heat, sunlight, ice and general wear and tear.
The average lifespan of a vehicle tire is six years from its manufacturing date, according to the US-based Tire Safety Group.
However, in extreme heat, chemical changes known as oxidization can take place which make the tire become brittle and fall apart, causing safety issues.
This story was corrected to note that the left-most digits printed on a tire show the week of production. Information contained in an advisory incorrectly stated it is the week.