I don’t put a lot of miles on my car and have had my current tires for years, are they still good?
What is basically being asked here is if tires have an “expiration” date. The answer to that one is Yes AND No. First things first, let’s figure out just how old those tires really are. A lot of people don’t know that you can find the manufactured date on the sidewall of your tire.
So just by looking at those 4 numbers you are able to tell when your tire was actually made.
Using the number on my tire I can see that it was made the 5th week of 2009. Is it still good?
Most manufacturers say that a tire over 6 years old should NEVER be used. That’s what they say anyway. The bottom line is that tires age. There are no ifs, and or buts about it. And just like anything else tires deteriorate with age. However, the conditions that they are exposed to can affect the deterioration rate. Some conditions that affect tires are:
- Tire Pressure – Do you keep your tires at the correct pressures?
- Heat – Do you live somewhere where it is almost always sunny?
- Damage – Do your tires take impact by curbs or potholes?
- Use – Were your tires stored or were they on your car from day one?
This is a big one. Tire pressure affects pretty much every aspect of your tires. For instance: If your tire pressure(s) are low you will do damage to the sidewall. When a tire is driven with low pressure it, sort of, doubles over on itself causing friction and wear. If they are inflated too much thee is a good chance they will blow out due to extra strain being put on the sidewalls.
A lot of people don’t think about heat when it comes to their tires. Here in Pittsburgh heat isn’t too much of a problem because we have cooler temperatures and a lot of cloudy days. But in states like California where sunshine and high temperatures or the norm, heat becomes a factor. Have you ever seen something, like a picture, that has been sitting in a window for years? You can notice how the sun has “bleached” the picture over the years. The same goes for your tires. Constant high temperatures are also a big problem. As you drive and your tires move they heat up. Well, if it is already super hot outside just imagine how much hotter your tires will get when you start driving!
This is a pretty simple one. If your tires are normally subject to impacts then your tires wont last long. Even if you barely scraped the curb the damage is done.
Your tires were made in 2009 but have they always been on your car? Tires that aren’t on a vehicle and are stored correctly they age significantly less. If the tires were made in 2009 but were stored in a cool/dry place and not in direct sunlight they will be in better shape then a tire of the same age that has always been on a vehicle.
My tires are….cracking. That’s bad right?
If your tire appears to be “cracking” that is Dry Rot setting in.
What is dry rot and can I do anything about it?
Dry rot is very common. Dry Rot comes from Excessive heat/sunlight, improper storage, infrequent use and improper tire inflation.
Tire dry rot degrades the quality of the rubber and causes it to be weak. Unfortunately, there really isn’t a way to “fix” dry rot. It can be prevented but not fixed.