Sometimes buying a knockoff is a great way to get the look for less. When it comes to clothes this might be a smart move, but when it comes to tires, often you get what you pay for. Consumer Reports found poor performing Chinese counterfeit tires being sold to unsuspecting consumers.

The investigation began when Consumer Reports tested the $95 Chinese-made Pegasus Advanta SUV tire and found its performance in winter conditions, specifically snow traction and ice braking to be disappointing. Soon after the test results were published, CR was contacted by American Pacific Industries, owner of the Pegasus brand in the United States, who claimed that their in-house testing had radically different results.

The story takes an interesting turn when CR looked into the codes that revealed the production date of the tires they had tested. The tires were made in 2012. According to API, the factory produced them was no longer a Pegasus-authorized factory at that period in time. API once owned that factory, but sold it to another party in 2011. The company also reports that some of its molds went missing during that time. CR says if the molds were indeed stolen, then an unauthorized manufacturer could have reproduced the tires with different compounds thus resulting in the poor test performance.

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Since API says they did not produce the tires, they will not back any claims in regards to defectiveness or quality. The company says if a consumer purchased these counterfeit tires and has had a problem they need to take it up with the vendor.

The ultimate lesson is that, when buying tires with prices that seem too good to be true, be concerned. The company whose name is on the sidewall may not stand behind the product if you encounter a problem, even when you purchased it legitimately.

We all know that tires are the most important safety feature on your vehicle. It doesn't matter how "Autobahn tuned" your suspension is or how big your Brembo brakes are. If your tires suck your performance is going to suffer. When it comes to getting new tires, shop carefully.

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If you have a question, a tip, or something you would like to to share about car-buying, drop me a line at AutomatchConsulting@gmail.com and be sure to include your Kinja handle.