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Shelf life of Tires
Old 10-18-2007, 07:14 PM   #1
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Shelf life of Tires

Here's a question for you car lovers. What's the shelf life of a tire? I've googled it and 6 years seems to be the magic number. My original tires are getting close to 8 years old on my honda civic yet still have a decent amount of tread on them (enough to last another year or two with my light driving). Is it crazy to drive on 9 or 10 year old tires? I'm occasionally on long trips driving on the interstate at 80-85 mph for a few hours.

I saw a FIRE friendly deal at discount tire online (NOT SPAM) for $100 off a set of 4 tires, free shipping and no sales tax. Which means a decent set of tires w/ good reviews, and ratings, for $112 delivered to my doorstep. Another $75 or less for installation/balancing, and I'm riding on new tires for under $200. Is this a no-brainer to buy the new tires and install them immediately?

I could buy them and stick em in the shed for a year till my current tires wear out, but if I understand the shelf life issue correctly, the new tires will go bad in another 6 years whether I'm driving on them or not. Might as well stick them on the car now, huh? I might put 25-30k miles on my car in the next 6 years, so running out of tread isn't an issue given the quality of tire I'm planning on buying.
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Old 10-18-2007, 07:28 PM   #2
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You could look into the issue a bit more - the climate where you live, exposure to sunlight, did you rotate the tires often and keep them properly inflated affect the tire life.

Then again divide the cost of the tires by the number of years of expected service to see if it is worth the safety and cost.
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Old 10-18-2007, 07:32 PM   #3
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Might as well stick them on the car now, huh? I might put 25-30k miles on my car in the next 6 years, so running out of tread isn't an issue given the quality of tire I'm planning on buying.
I think you've answered your own question.
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Old 10-18-2007, 08:02 PM   #4
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I cannot answer your question directly. I am assuming the place you googled was reputable. If that is the fact, then the 6 years is probably when the rubber and other parts of the tire starts to breakdown. You could probably keep driving on them, but I probably wouldn't go out of town or do any highs speed driving with them.
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Old 10-18-2007, 08:05 PM   #5
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I believe that "shelf life" is more the issue than tire age. Tires sitting unused (be it on a shelf in your garage or on a car that sits parked for long periods) are more prone to dry rot and cracking. You should get longer life from tires that are properly inflated and driven fairly regularly. It has to do with the wax in the tire sidewalls moving through the rubber. As mentioned above, exposure to water, sun, and dirt will affect the life too. Keep tires that are not going to be driven regularly parked or stored on wood to avoid moisture damage from concrete or the ground.

It can't hurt to apply some 303 Protectant (or similar) on a regular basis too.
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Old 10-18-2007, 08:28 PM   #6
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FWIW, ozone (O3) is very tough on rubber/synthetic rubber. If you live in a smoggy place with high ozone levels, your tires (and wiper blades/etc) will crack faster. Also, electric motors and other devices that produce internal sparks pump out ozone, so it is not a good idea to store tires in an area with operating electric motors (e.g. storing your snow tires in the basement between the freezer and sump pump may not be ideal).

I'd say mount the new tires immediately and put the best of the old ones in the trunk as your spare (if you've got a full-size spare). Maybe the shop that mounts them will fill the spare with nitrogen to slow down leakage?
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Old 10-18-2007, 09:06 PM   #7
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Buy new tires, you will feel the difference and you will be safer.
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Old 10-18-2007, 11:12 PM   #8
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Ever seen what happens when a tire blows out in a curve or peels its belts next to a semi?

Tires are cheap. I generally replace mine when the tread is still a bit above what is considered reasonable and never keep a set longer than 7 years.

One of those items categorized as Something best left to indestructible teenagers than grownups with families.
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Old 10-18-2007, 11:23 PM   #9
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I went about 10 years on my tires on a Monte Carlo... was living 'out of town' for about 3 years and the car was only driven about once a month during that time... the tires still looked good and handled just fine...

But, I had read that 7 years is what some RV people use...
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Old 10-19-2007, 01:58 AM   #10
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I went about 10 years on my tires on a Monte Carlo... was living 'out of town' for about 3 years and the car was only driven about once a month during that time... the tires still looked good and handled just fine...

But, I had read that 7 years is what some RV people use...
My avatar car normally runs on modern tires. I have (and install for shows) original bias ply tires on original wheels. They are probably 20+ years old and look really good. Not a chance that I'd drive above 30 MPH on them and even that would have a 30 mile limit.

If you'll never wear them out, just replace them. No one will ever know.
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Old 10-19-2007, 06:37 AM   #11
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If you are from a humid area, like Houston, you may have to change your tires within a 2 years span. When I was driving from Houston to Chicago, two of my tires had dry rot from the weather there. It just would not be safe going so many miles with the possibility of a blowout.
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Old 10-19-2007, 08:44 AM   #12
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Thanks for the replies, folks. The new tires (4 Falken Ziex ZE-912 ) are on the way, $112 total shipped to my front door. Safety concerns were my main deciding factor. I also live in an ozone non-attainment area w/ high levels of ozone, so that may have caused unknown chemical decomposition of my current tires. I figure the amortized cost of these tires will be around $33/year - a pretty low price to pay for better safety and security.
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Old 10-19-2007, 09:56 AM   #13
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Thanks for the replies, folks. The new tires (4 Falken Ziex ZE-912 ) are on the way, $112 total shipped to my front door. Safety concerns were my main deciding factor. I also live in an ozone non-attainment area w/ high levels of ozone, so that may have caused unknown chemical decomposition of my current tires. I figure the amortized cost of these tires will be around $33/year - a pretty low price to pay for better safety and security.
Wise move, Justin. I think you bought some significant safety enhancement at a good price. A frugal decision.

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Old 10-19-2007, 10:30 AM   #14
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Is it crazy to drive on 9 or 10 year old tires? I'm occasionally on long trips driving on the interstate at 80-85 mph for a few hours.
I can understand trying to get the most out of a purchase, but like others have said, a blow out can be life/death - maybe someone else's.

IMO, the occasional extended high speed driving is the clincher. That is a lot more stress than just short trips into town.

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Maybe the shop that mounts them will fill the spare with nitrogen to slow down leakage?
Isn't that an urban myth? Remember, air is ~ 80% nitrogen already. If the other 20% actually did leak out, and you topped it off with regular air, you would be at 96% Nitrogen. A second top-off puts you at 99.2%, about as pure as the stuff in the tanks.

Compressed air may have moisture and oils in it, don't know if those are actually good/bad for a tire, but I don't buy the nitrogen/leaks thing.

-ERD50

PS - looked before I posted - good decision!
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Old 10-19-2007, 11:15 AM   #15
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Just hope those mail order tires havent been sitting out in the sun for the last 5 years.
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Old 10-19-2007, 11:52 AM   #16
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1. Does the article that discusses shelf life explain what happens when the tire is too old? We're assuming blowouts become more likely, but that may not be the case.

2. I wonder if there's a way to have a tire evaluated for age-related problems.

This will definitely be an issue for the tires on my truck, which spends most of its time in the garage. I was in blissful ignorance of this until this thread came along.
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Old 10-19-2007, 11:59 AM   #17
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Just hope those mail order tires havent been sitting out in the sun for the last 5 years.
Yeah - I hope not. I think the particular model I ordered is a new product line. Supposedly a new and improved version of a previous generation of tire that wasn't very good.
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Old 10-19-2007, 12:16 PM   #18
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You can check the 'born on' date:

Tire Tech - Determining the Age of a Tire



Seems to be a lot of support for that 6 year limit, but little hard evidence:

Tire Expiration Dates

-ERD50
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Old 10-19-2007, 12:21 PM   #19
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2. I wonder if there's a way to have a tire evaluated for age-related problems.
When the tire reaches the age of six, take a core sample of the sidewall with a 1" hole saw. Carefully inspect the core that was removed. Then go to the tire store and buy a new set of tires.

The core sample will prevent some poor schmuck from unknowingly buying a used tire with tread left, but that was older than expected.

-ERD50
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Old 10-19-2007, 03:36 PM   #20
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Thanks. My trucks tires have "DOT B3DD DX2X 3901" which means they were manufactured in 2001.

In a statement from the British Rubber Manufacturers Association (BRMA) issued on June 5, 2001 regarding the age of tires they state, "BRMA members strongly recommend that unused tires should not be put into service if they are over 6 years old and that all tires should be replaced 10 years from the date of their manufacture." Tire age can be accelerated by a variety of environmental factors, such as sunlight exposure and coastal climates. Poor storage and infrequent use of your vehicle are other things that can accelerate tire age.

Coastal climate -- bummer. Is it the salt in the air??
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