For years, people have determined if they should replace tires on a car depending on tread depth. If it passes the penny test, that means it’s alright, and you can still drive on it. However, thinking this way can be a fatal mistake. No matter how deep the treads are, old tires are dangerous. Although there’s no federal guidance on when the tire becomes too old for use, carmakers recommend replacing them as soon as they turn six years old. And that’s just one of the things to know about the age of your tires that we’ve got in stock for you today.
You’ll learn how to evaluate the age of your tires and what happens to them as they age. We’ll also talk about how they can last longer with proper alignment and balance.
Now, it’s worth mentioning that if you’re driving about 15,000 miles each year, your tire tread will wear out long before the rubber compound does. On the other hand, if you have a particular vehicle that you drive only on weekends, this could be a problem. In the scenario of buying a used car, you should be careful as well. It’s possible that it will come on old tires, and you need to know what to do about it.
So, without further a due, let’s dive in.
If you’re covering a distance greater than 12,000 miles a year, you should be more concerned about the tread than the age of your tires.
What Happens to a Tire When It Ages?
When explaining the processes that take place here, experts love to compare tires to rubber bands. If you take an old rubber band and stretch it, you’ll see cracks in it. And the same happens to the tires on your car.
It’s a long process that happens gradually, but it appears on both inside and outside surfaces. With time, the steel belts in the tread will separate from the rubber, and that’s when the tire becomes dangerous. Moreover, if the tire was subjected to improper maintenance and heat, all of this can happen even sooner than you might think.
The worse thing of all is that it can happen suddenly. One minute you’re driving down a freeway without any issues, and the next, you’re struggling to maintain control because the car is skidding.
So, if you’re buying a classic car, for instance, make sure to check the age of the tires before you decide that driving it to your home is the best form of cross-country car transport. These days, there are plenty of options for vehicle transfer that will be easy and safe, and professional movers offer many such services. Therefore, don’t put your new old car and yourself in danger and just tow it home if you can’t change the tires on the spot.
How Long Can a Tire Last?
This all might seem a bit over the top to you, so let’s talk about how long a tire can last. The problem with this question is that no one has an exact answer. As we already mentioned, most carmakers say that six years mark is when tires are due for replacement. However, tire manufacturers state that these can last up to 10 years with proper maintenance. So, who’s right here?
As it turns out – everyone. One of the most important things to know about the age of your tires is that you can’t put an expiration date on them. It depends on many factors that can reduce the life of a tire. Here’s what those are and how they affect things.
- Heat. The hotter the climate you live in, the faster your tires will age. Keep this in mind if you live in a coastal area with warm weather.
- Storage. If a tire hasn’t been mounted on a wheel and it just sits in your garage or a shop, it will age slower than one in service.
- Spares. Although these rarely see the sunlight, they still age. If they’re mounted on a wheel, they’re considered to be in service. So, make sure to learn how long you can drive on a spare tire before you begin a journey with it.
- Conditions of use. The thing of concern here is how the tire is treated. Whether it is appropriately inflated, what kind of terrain it was driven on, and whether it was ever repaired after puncture are the factors that can contribute to how quickly it wears out.
One of the things to know about the age of your tires is that young age doesn’t have to mean a well-maintained tire.
Alt-tag: An off-road tire on a car.
How to Tell the Age Of a Tire?
The sidewall of any tire is covered in letters and numbers. They all mean something, but it’s not easy to figure out what if you don’t know what you’re doing. Luckily, you don’t have to go too deep if age is the only thing you want to determine. You’ll need to look for the U.S. Department of Transportation number, otherwise known as DOT.
Tires made after the year 2000 will have a four-digit DOT that’s easy to decode. The first two digits are the week in which the tire was made, and the latter two are the year. So if you see 1517, you know that the tire was made during the 15th week of 2017.
However, when it comes to anything made before 2000, things become a bit more tricky. These have a three-digit code in which the first two digits still represent the week, but the last one is the year in the decade it was manufactured. So, knowing the decade is the tricky part. Luckily, you can ignore it, since no matter where the tire is made, it’s from the last century. Therefore, you need to replace it as soon as possible.
Don’t Buy Used Tires
New tires are costly on their own, and when you factor in the price of mounting and balancing, things can get pretty expensive. Because of this, used tires have become more attractive to lots of people who want to save a buck.
Used tires are cheap, but they’re never a good choice for your four-wheeler.
Unfortunately, buying them is not the wisest decision. If you read everything in this article about the things to know about the age of your tires, then you know that tires can age differently. A DOT might be fine, but you can’t see if it was driven on low pressure or if it’s been patched. To avoid having any problems in the future, make sure to buy new and ”fresh” tires.