Monday, June 17, 2024

Does a Car’s Tire Age Really Matter?

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Age really does a number on things – our bodies, our skin and even our vehicles! Yes, that’s right. Our vehicles, and especially their tires, can really get worn down over time and from the heat. But how old is too old when it comes to tire age and is there a point when they become unsafe? That’s exactly what we’ll be looking at today.

How long do tires last and is there a specific tire age when replacement is advised?

Well, this question is not as cut and dry as you may have hoped. There are many factors that come into play like driving habits, storage, weather and climate, types of roads, types of tires and so on. It also seems that tire manufacturers, carmakers and even auto repair shops all have different opinions on proper tire lifespans.

Interestingly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has no specific guidelines on tire aging and defers to the recommendations of carmakers and tire manufacturers. Some will tell you to replace your tires after six years and others claim tires will last up to ten years so long as you get annual tire inspections after the fifth year of use.

By the way, figuring out how old your tires are can be tricky. While we won’t get into those details in this blog, experts share that you will want to look at the sidewall of a tire – it is covered in numbers and letters. They all mean something, but interpreting them can be challenging.  Also, to determine tire age, you simply need to know its U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) number.

What could go wrong with your tires?

Have you ever seen an old, unused rubber band? It begins to crack when stretched after a while. The same can be said for older tires. Cracks in a tire’s rubber, both on the surface and inside the tire, will begin to develop when the tires are old. This cracking can cause the steel belts in the tread to separate from the rest of the tire which could lead to accidents. Improper tire maintenance and heat will only accelerate the risk.

Some high-mileage tires with antiozonant chemical compounds to slow the aging process are available, but they will also be affected by age at some point. The bottom line is that tire age DOES matter – for your vehicle’s performance and for your driving safety.

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