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When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

Posted July 12, 2016 9:00 AM by dstrohl

Last week, Hemmings reader Jeff Yost and I were discussing the subject of tires and collector cars. When Jeff purchased his 1976 Chevrolet Corvette through a Hemmings ad in April of 2016, he thought it would be a good idea to check the age of the tires on the car, a set of pristine B.F. Goodrich Radial T/As. Since they were manufactured prior to 2000, decoding the date required the help of a local tire dealer.

Even this didn’t solve the mystery entirely, since the dealer could only advise the tires were manufactured in early 1983 or early 1993. Determined to get more information, Jeff wrote to B.F. Goodrich directly, who replied:

"Thank you for your email concerning the current Radial T/A’s on your Corvette. We are certainly happy to see that you recognize the dangers of using a tire older than 10 years old. The DOT you provided indicates that these tires were manufactured in the 12th week of 1993. Making them 23 years old!"

Regardless of tread, when is time to get new tires? Six years? Ten?

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#1

Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/12/2016 10:24 AM

My view of tires is run them until they can't hold their air anymore or they start coming apart such as the tread separating from the inner belting layers or the side walls peeling off.

Given that, I have put a lot of miles on some really ugly looking tires over the years.

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/12/2016 11:42 AM

Your "views" are well known, and usually run contrary to rational thought.

The fact that you "got away with it" does not make you right, it just makes you lucky.

My Vette was in storage for 10 years and I never considered putting it back on the road without 4 new tires installed. I do live in Arizona, while you live up north which may help increase the practical life of rubber.

If I had a blow out and crashed into another vehicle while running 14 year old tires, you can bet that the life of the tires would have been a factor in fault finding.

I'd rather replace tires and feel safe.

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#9
In reply to #3

Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/12/2016 7:53 PM

Actually, when the tires on my vehicles reach the wear bars I put new ones on and the old set most often becomes a set of trailer or implement tires which then get ran to death.

I don't run my vehicles on bad tires but I have no issue with putting a rough set on one of the farm trailers or machines and running them there until they are ready for the boiler.

100% usage and then some. It's the environmentally conscientious thing to do you know.

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/12/2016 10:56 PM

You going in to politics?

That's quite a flip flop from #1.

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/13/2016 4:28 AM

How so?

Where in my post did I say that I run them to death on my vehicles?

Is running them until they are well worn on a vehicle then putting them in a non-critical application and running them there until they come apart somehow different?

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#13
In reply to #11

Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/13/2016 9:29 AM

"My view of tires is run them until they can't hold their air anymore or they start coming apart such as the tread separating from the inner belting layers or the side walls peeling off.

Given that, I have put a lot of miles on some really ugly looking tires over the years."

Nowhere did you say, "run them on a vehicle then putting them in a non-critical application" until much later.

That's a classic politicians walk-back. And denying that you said it won't make it go away.

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#14
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Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/13/2016 2:26 PM

I didn't deny anything. I fully admit I do my best to get the most life out of a tire as is possible.

Just because I didn't point out that initially that I typically run a tire on or in two or more applications before its totally worn out isn't hiding anything.

Miles traveled is miles traveled regardless of whether it was all on a vehicle or 95% on a vehicle and the last 5% on a farm wagon or other such off-road harsh service application where it got used until it has zero working life left.

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#15
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Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/13/2016 2:35 PM

Reply Score 2 for Off Topic
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#16
In reply to #15

Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/13/2016 7:44 PM

Feeling trollish (more so than typical) this week?

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/13/2016 9:25 PM

Nope. Just calling you out for making a blanket statement, then saying you meant something else later.

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/13/2016 10:01 PM

So should I write a small but detailed essay on the topic at hand every time I make a post so that you don't have any further misunderstandings of my actions/motives/operating practices?

And yes I guess it was sort of a blanket statement.

I didn't know I had to go into detail as to how I manage to run tires to their death.

I also was not aware that I was under any oath to provide exacting details on anything I say here as semi-relevant comments to any thread.

BTW, I ate Juneberries off the trees until my stomach hurt.

Do I need to report what color my shit is later to ensure full disclosure of my related actions?

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#19
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Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/13/2016 10:24 PM

Most of your statements are worded to produce an image of someone who does things his way no matter what.

The subject came from Hemmings AUTO News and had to do with old tires on CARS!

Nowhere were farm implements, off road trailers or other redneck, wheeled contraptions mentioned until you got caught bragging about how you wear 'em down till they fall of the rims, cause that's what you do out in the sticks.

Get over it. You made another over the top statement and I called you out on it.

Take two Ex Lax and go to bed.

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/13/2016 11:41 PM

Topic Nazi much lately?

There's some very effective medications that make these levels of concerns over petty details a lot less concerning you should know.

I run tires to their end whenever I can and how I do it is my business.

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#22
In reply to #20

Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/14/2016 11:56 AM

Not much since kramarat, God rest his tortured soul, left us.

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#21
In reply to #18

Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/14/2016 11:42 AM

Totally off-topic! Are your Juneberries what I know as Mulberries? Juneberry is not in my small dictionary.

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#23
In reply to #21

Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/14/2016 12:07 PM

I am not sure.

I have only known them as Juneberries but they are some times called other names as well being there are around 20 differnt varieties of them.

For more info. Amelanchier species.

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#24
In reply to #23

Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/14/2016 5:45 PM

Since you offered, what color is your shjt? That may help us identify the particular species.

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#25
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Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/14/2016 6:15 PM

They have no effect on me but they are the species Amelanchier ovalis.

Picked about a gallon bucket full today for the family get together this weekend.

Juneberry pie of course!

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#26
In reply to #23

Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/14/2016 11:02 PM

A larger photo was in your reference; they are not the same.

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/15/2016 11:13 AM

What's not the same?

Or for that matter what's different?

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#28
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Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/15/2016 11:48 AM

Your Juneberries were more or less round. The mulberries are more football shaped, and the outside is bumpy like raspberries or blackberries. When I tried some, the bumps were not seeds, or at least not as large as raspberries.

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#12
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Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/13/2016 7:34 AM

I recall we had done that, when we were growing up... we had stopped that, because our wagons and trailers were getting larger and stopped. But I do recall, I was about 9-10 years old, we had a tire on one of our hay wagons, the tread was coming undone, but it never went flat and was going strong for years, but it looked sad.

After I while (a few years), I asked my dad about it. He said that tire came off an airplane, it was a multi-ply that was more than a standard tire.

I believed him, because that tire looked like crap for years.

But it wasn't too long after, all tires we put on our implements were pretty good, just for liability purposes and a piece of mind.

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#5
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Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/12/2016 1:22 PM

Have you even been to Colorado Springs, I think I may have saw you there. I saw a lot of bald tires there, skating around on a light snow.

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#2

Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/12/2016 10:51 AM

I the UK, the answer is "when, or before, the vehicle fails its MoT Test on the basis of tyre condition", as it is an offence to drive a vehicle on public roads with substandard tyres. Although age may be a factor, it is tyre condition that determines the roadworthiness of the vehicle.

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#7
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Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/12/2016 2:59 PM

Where I live the cars have to pass a tread test. (I think it's putting a penny in the tread and the rubber has to come down over Lincoln's head.)

I don't know about trucks, but I see a lot of truck tires that have come apart, leaving big pieces of rubber and steel wire on the roadway. I suspect they're retreads. (I guess if you have 18 wheels on the road, you won't miss one or two.)

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#8
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Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/12/2016 3:21 PM

Lincoln head is old school what a lot of us were taught.

Now on the better quality tires they have wear bars, when they wear down to them it's time for new.

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#29
In reply to #7

Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/15/2016 5:02 PM

Actually, the "gators" you see on the roads are not retreads. Those are just failed tires.

In early years, truck retread tires got a deservedly bad name. They failed badly and often. Retreads over the last 8 years are quite good, mostly outlasting new tires.

Usually truck tires fail from a combination of load, speed, heat on road surface, and improper maintenance.

I have had a double blow out on nearly new tires, carrying a light load. But, it was on I-40 westbound in Oklahoma in 98 deg F temperatures. On tires made in China. Bad rubber compound caused the tread to flex internally too much, developing heat, and the outer tire blew, causing the inner tire to blow also.

If you travel I-10 or I-8 in Southern California or Arizona, the shoulders of the road are tire bone yards. You can't travel 15 feet without seeing pieces of truck tires that have failed. Road surface heat is probably the biggest killer there.

Another topic is the physics behind unmatched tires on the same axle, where you typically have 2 tires on the end of each axle.....

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#4

Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/12/2016 1:15 PM

As with any rule of thumb, "It all depends . . . "

I'm more of a "What's the condition of the tire" versus chronological age. Let me caveat that with "I also need to know the tire's 'history'." Previous usage, storage conditions and environment all play an important role.

Also, the anticipated use. For instance, if the tires will be used in severe service, e.g. heavily loaded trailer close to the load limits, then I'm a bit more circumspect about the tires.

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Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/12/2016 1:28 PM

For me, its depends on wear, is it nearing the wear nubs and handling. In my younger days, if it's weather checked and the severity.

Or the overall conditions of the tire.

Currently, I have about 15,000 miles left... BUT,.. I should have installed new shocks last summer so, I'm currently pricing tires. should have new skins on within 2 months.

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#30

Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/18/2016 7:47 AM

I've got a 'new' set of original 1950's Avon Gripsters in store that look just fine, would I ride on them, no way! I had a new set of 6 month old Avon RoadRiders splitting at ~4,000 miles, base of blocks and sidewalls...

Tyre's age by rubber degradation, impact damage and use, chemical, ozone and sunlight exposure are key factors, ply belts weaken by deformation. The newer the tyre the worse the 'rubber' degrades, now they advise replacement between 3 and 5 years from manufacture date as higher grip 'rubber' hardens and cracks faster exposing the cords which then rust.

The worst I've seen were on a Vauxhaul/Opel Agila (Suzuki Splash rebadged) on a dealers forecourt, 3 years old, 30,000 miles less than half worn (rear tyres, front wheel drive, fronts already replaced) splitting at the base of tread blocks/grooves and around the beads! As pictured:

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#31
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Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/18/2016 8:01 AM

Back in the 90's, I owned a 53 Chevrolet Belair 2 door coup, wit 35,000 orginal miles on it.

Unfortunately, I never took pictures of it... but it looked like this, even the paint.

I spend quite a bit of time looking for whitewall tires for it, tire stores, we can't get it. And Now, All one has to do is google it.

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#32
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Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/18/2016 8:20 AM

I believe the concern is, is when they crack on the side wall (Other than weathering).

I store cars over winter, and one thing I found out is tires have to be used. i.e. they have to flex and such, if not they will degrade faster.

And when I store them, I don't put it up on blacks, instead I will slightly over inflate the tires over their recommendations. This helps relieve the sidewall stress in the refined area, as well as help with the cars suspension.

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#33
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Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/18/2016 9:22 AM

Therefore, the rubber formulation was changed 5 or 10 years ago; what the tire companies are now using degrades faster than the old ones. But why?

My wonderment is whether they are eying profit, and paying no attention to environmental effects--that is, to the quantity of old tires going into the landfills plus the greater use of resources to make the tires in the first place.

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#34
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Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/18/2016 9:38 AM

I think you addressed that with your first statement/question....

Therefore, the rubber formulation was changed 5 or 10 years ago; what the tire companies are now using degrades faster than the old ones. But why?

I don't think its all companies, just the companies in Asia who shall rename anonymous trying to get their piece of the pie of the tire market.

I had Pirelli's, Michelin, Hankook as well as Yokohama, and very satisfied, The Pirelli's not so much....

I tend to go with Michelin's when I can.

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#35
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Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/18/2016 11:34 AM

The higher silica content is a factor, along with different chemistry in the rubber, I worked for EniChem who made nitrile rubber for Pirelli & others in the 80's and things were changing then, different plasticisers, etc. All of the major tyre makers have been trying to improve wet grip and longer life (total miles), but it comes at the expense of faster aging degradation. On a motorcycle 9,000 miles fair grip or 6,000 high grip especially in the wet touring was an easy choice, newer tyres it's 12,000 high grip, but replace at 3-4 years old if not worn out.

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#36
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Re: When It Comes To Tires, How Old Is Too Old?

07/18/2016 12:20 PM

Interesting info.....

I had Pirelli's p7000 on my 911, Loved them. Rarely lost bite with the road as though it was one with the road. But then, I never really pushed it.

When I got new tires I had a choice of p7's the equivalent of the p7000 or p7 ZX (if I recall) which is ultra high performance. I made the mistake of getting the p7 ZX. the rubber just rolled off this. and after about 5,000 miles, I don't even think I got to 5,000 miles, I put a set of Michelins on. Real happy with that.

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