Do You Know How Old Your Tires Are?

How often do you check out your car’s tires? Chances are that we only notice our tires when they’ve become obviously deflated or when you start swerving as you drive. And even if you are the type to replace your tires according to your car’s instructions, you can never really be sure if you’re buying new cars. An incident that happened back in the early 2008 highlight this fact when an owner of a 1998 Ford Explorer fell became embroiled in an accident caused by a tread separation after buying a used tire that was found out to be almost ten years old.

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But even if a tire hasn’t spent a day on the road does not offer any guarantee that it’ll work just fine. While experts have long turned to a tire’s tread to ascertain that tire’s condition, the rubber compounds can deteriorate with time which poses a safety risk. This completely questions our notion of what makes tires old. If you’re driving new tires for 12,000 to 15,000 miles every year, then you can expect them to be thoroughly worn out after three to four years. But what if you’re driving way below those marks? When do you say that your tires have aged? And what about those spare tires you keep carrying around? When do they become old, too?

The rubber band experiment

Try to stretch out a rubber band that has been sitting around for a very long time and you’ll see cracks. This is the same thing as what happens to a tire that has hang around for quite some time. You may not be able to see these cracks when they’re just lying there, i.e. at the back of your car as in your spares, but these cracks will show once you’ve put them on and driven on them. While all tires do degenerate after some time, there are those who resist aging better than others. These tires are usually incorporated with an anti-ozinant compound. But again, these tires still do experience the wrath of wear and tear as well as time.

So how long do they last?

Tires deteriorate faster with increased heat so if you live somewhere tropical, the ten-year lifespan offered by tire makers like Continental and Michelin may have to be readjusted. Heat is also something you need to consider with your spare tires especially if you keep them mounted on the rear or underneath your car.  The ten-year lifespan offered by most tire manufacturers does not give you the license to essentially forget about your tires for such a period of time. Annual tire inspections after the fifth year is crucial to ensure that your tires are still in tip-top shape.

Anthony Roberts writes for Learn the best advice about car tires.

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