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How Old — and Dangerous — Are Your Tires?

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,059
edited November 2014 in General
imageHow Old — and Dangerous — Are Your Tires?

For years people have relied on a tire's tread depth to determine its condition. But tire age is just as important.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • carsaf23carsaf23 Posts: 1
    I am thankful for the comments on tires. I notice bad ones, because my father was a claims adjuster when I was growing up.
    I see so many bald ones and the like, even on trucks on the trailers. I have wondered why they don't put decent tires on vehicles to prevent accidents. Thank you for the article, I check mine all the time....Tires that is a good think to check those.
  • dhahabudhahabu Posts: 1
    In this age of computers, one would think tire dealerships would manage their inventory more carefully; FIFO...First In- First Out or inventory search using DOT information, carry more "units" of the more popular tires,etc. I know of no law against selling "old" tires.But to me it is just good business to inform the consumer especially when holding sales to reduce the inventory of older tires.
  • lrobbins1lrobbins1 Posts: 1
    Good to know. I too only thought of the tread!
  • grimyfacegrimyface Posts: 27
    I do think this is an area that needs more study--we don't want to ignore it, but we don't want to jump to conclusions, either.

    I had an interesting experience with a 1975 VW Scirocco that I bought in 1983. The tires were Michelins, and may have been original, but they looked like they still had good tread left on them. After a year of driving, I noticed that the tread had hardly worn down--at all! When I finally replaced them after 2 years, the tires still looked a lot less worn than I would have expected--although I did observe that the rubber had a kind of "shiny" look that I've seen on other old tires, which I think was an indication that the rubber had actually hardened. My guess is that this hardening was due to the car's unique cycle of use and disuse (I was the 4th owner, and I don't know how long it sat idle in between owners).

    The experience certainly made me a believer that tread depth was not the only indicator of when a tire needed to be replaced!
  • I believe Discount Tire gives about the best deal you can find on tires from a reputable business. I have found places that sell cheaper tires, but those businesses had very bad online feedback.
    Over the years my experience buying and using tires has led me to believe that you should buy the cheapest tire of the size and speed rating you desire, then get the full Discount Tire Warranty for it, so if it fails you will get a new tire. Yes, you will have the trouble of having to change a flat and get another tire, but you will get a new one for no additional charge. More than likely the tire won't fail, and I have also found that buying the cheapest tire with the full warranty is usually cheaper than getting the next better tire without the warranty.
    I use this strategy for buying TV's as well, and since electronics' prices are always falling you will get a better new TV, than the one you had, when the warranty pays off.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 9,184
    grimyface said:


    The experience certainly made me a believer that tread depth was not the only indicator of when a tire needed to be replaced!

    Good point. Age of the tires could definitely be a factor. Most of us wear out the tires before they "get old", but if you don't put on a lot of miles, age can become a factor.

    And since I never pass up a chance to say it B) regular rotation of your tires will maximize the tread life of your tires. There's no such thing as a "perfect" alignment. Something always causes uneven wear on your tires. Might be slightly imperfect alignment, might be the fact that you make more right turns than left in your daily driving.

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  • I am curious if there is any good data as to whether the regular application of rubber conditioners... commercial products known generically as Tire Black, Tire Shine, Tire Wet, etc. can extend the useful life of tires (or are they possibly detrimental?) by minimizing the effects of ozone and ultra violet light deterioration. Obviously if the deterioration process begins from the inside of the tire, than these products would have minimal if any effect.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Everywhere, USAPosts: 126,124
    That's an interesting question. Not that I've seen anything in a long, long time, but most of the arguments seem to have been that those treatments are detrimental in the long run.

    But, generally, I wear my tires out, before any of that would matter.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    I'm probably the only one here who used to buy recaps when I was young and broke! Recaps you ask?

    The store in town sold them for 12.95 and up depending on size. Who knows how old the cores they recapped were? I cringe now when I recall having zero fear as I flew down the freeways of So. Calif with my unbalanced recaps thumping away! I never had one come apart and neither did any of my friends as I recall.

    So much for date codes on those!
  • kyfdxkyfdx Everywhere, USAPosts: 126,124
    I can beat that.... my stepfather owned a retread shop. He did about 100 passenger car tires per day with just three men. I worked there, the summer between my junior/senior year of high school.

    Fortunately, I came away with all my limbs/digits, but I did get a nasty burn, or two.

    I was driving his '71 Econoline on I-75 when the front left tire lost it's tread. That wasn't the most stable vehicle, anyway, and I got a quick lesson in emergency handling, as the rubber started flying.

    15 years later, when I drove Econolines for a living, we still used recaps on the rear tires (late '80s).

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    edited December 2017
    Tires are so good now. I had my first premature replacement incident just last week. First time in a decade I ever "lost" a tire to mishap. Apparently, I parked against curb that had chunked out concrete, exposing a nice metal bar to shred my sidewall. I thought about complaining to the city but I sensed the utter futility of that idea pretty quickly.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    kyfdx said:

    I can beat that.... my stepfather owned a retread shop. He did about 100 passenger car tires per day with just three men. I worked there, the summer between my junior/senior year of high school.

    Fortunately, I came away with all my limbs/digits, but I did get a nasty burn, or two.

    I was driving his '71 Econoline on I-75 when the front left tire lost it's tread. That wasn't the most stable vehicle, anyway, and I got a quick lesson in emergency handling, as the rubber started flying.

    15 years later, when I drove Econolines for a living, we still used recaps on the rear tires (late '80s).

    Oh, I'll bet that was a nasty smelly job! I still remember how Jerry Morgan's tire shop used to smell inside and the miserable heat. Maybe I got lucky because I never had one come apart.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Everywhere, USAPosts: 126,124
    Tires are great, now.

    We had Firestone 500s on two cars in the late ‘70s, when they had issues. We had so many failures, that I could change a tire in about 12 minutes. Lots of practice. I think I’ve only changed one tire in the last 10 years

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    Oh I remember! I managed the Service Dept of a large Sears Auto Center and Sears private branded a bunch of those Firestones! Constant tread seperations! They were just terrible and failures were constant! We once had one explode while being inflated on a Coates tire machine! Thes only thing worse were Split Rims that we used to change in those days. Ever mess with one of them? They could be wicked!
  • kyfdxkyfdx Everywhere, USAPosts: 126,124
    Before the retread shop, my stepfather had a tire supply business. When I was a kid, I'd go with him on sales calls in the summer. Remember those cages they'd roll the split-rim truck tires into to inflate them? Saw a couple of those that had been sacrificed to save someone's life. Scary.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    I had a guy who worked for me that didn't see the need for the split rim cage that we had. One day, he had one go off as he was airing it up. To this day there is a ring 1/2 inch deep on a concrete wall where the ring hit it.

    Luckily he had the ring facing away from him. He was thrown across the shop which broke his collar bone and his left leg. The concussion from it going off blew out a couple of windows in our overhead doors.

    I should have fired him but otherwise he was a good guy and I figured he had learned his lesson. After that, the other tire installers who were there at the time were terrified of them and for good reason.

    Firestone made a split rim called the widowmaker. These were known to blow the ring off AFTER they had been aired up and taken out of the cages! I guess this was before the days of OSHA!

    I still see pickups with splits once in awhile but I have no idea who will work on one now. The local tire shops won't touch them and the younger guys don't know what they are!
  • texasestexases Posts: 8,883
    edited January 2018
    My boss at the gas station decided to repair a split rim flat, first and only time. We had no cage, so to inflate it he set the lift (the kind with troughs for the tires) down over it. Fortunately nothing let go, but boy, what a stupid thing to do for a few buck tire repair. And he normally was a smart guy.
  • I just bought 4 "new" tires for my FX50 from the dealer. $1671.00. The problem is 3 of the tires were manufactured 3512 (35th week of 2012) not exactly new. I am trying to get the dealer to take them back but there is a problem. The dealer wants a clear path back to the warehouse before they commit. The warehouse is saying the tires are fine. Any thoughts out there?
  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 881

    I just bought 4 "new" tires for my FX50 from the dealer. $1671.00. The problem is 3 of the tires were manufactured 3512 (35th week of 2012) not exactly new. I am trying to get the dealer to take them back but there is a problem. The dealer wants a clear path back to the warehouse before they commit. The warehouse is saying the tires are fine. Any thoughts out there?

    It is generally held within the tire industry that any tire within 3 years of manufacture date can be considered *new*. Unless you got a deep discount, then you should insist that tires that are over 5 years old, are NOT acceptable.

    You should be able to pull up articles about tire age to confirm this.

    Threaten to sue in small claims court if necessary.


  • kyfdxkyfdx Everywhere, USAPosts: 126,124
    edited February 2018
    I wonder about the tire size on an Infniti FX50. Might be a weird one-off, that's hard to find?
    We had a 2011 X3 with RF that only had two possible models to choose from.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    Kinda like looking at dates on the food we buy. For many years there were no dates. We would buy a half gallon of milk without even thinking about dates and I don't remember anyone getting sick.

    Now, with tires? I suppose this makes sense but....does it REALLY matter all that much?

    How did we ever survive back when we were young and broke and bought recaps? Who knows how old those tires were before they were recapped?

    And to think....we drank from garden hoses....horrors!
  • berriberri Posts: 10,047
    Garden hoses, we'd lap it up right from the spigot like a dog :D
  • I'm about to buy new tires for 2012 Lexus that were made the eleventh week of 2011. They only have 20,000 miles on them and I know the dealer will resell them. I'm thinking, because I am paying a disposal fee on the tire, that I just slit the side wall so no one will get killed with my tires?...
  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 881
    edited July 2018
    Those of us who work with tires that needed to be disposed of use a box cutter and cut a radial slit in the sidewall - sometimes 2 or 3 in a tight grouping. The slit is quick and easy to do and no one can repair that damage easily - making it more work than the value of the tires.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Everywhere, USAPosts: 126,124
    I'll just note that the disposal fee is for the tires you are buying, not for the ones you are taking off. ;)

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