Tires and Aging

10 10 2013

Dale BertramTires are somewhat expensive and the better you take care of them, the longer they will last. Still, tires do have a life expectancy but what that actual life span is seems to be up for debate. Some seem to think that six years is the magic number even if they haven’t actually been used. When tires sit on a shelf or have been in storage for six years they still age and deteriorate. The Rubber Manufacturer Association says it isn’t as simple as that. Until the experts agree it is up to us in the automotive service and repair industry to keep a good eye on our customers’ tires.

Most consumers may not be aware that the date of manufacture is on your tire wall. For example, in a recessed rectangle on a tire if you see a code such as 8PY806 stamped on it the 806 means it was manufactured in 2006 and in the eighth week of that year. When you do purchase new tires check the date. Some tires sit around for years before being sold as “new” and you don’t want to purchase aging tires! You want to purchase new tires! That is what you are paying for.

It has been determined that over 6,000 accidents a year are caused by tire problems. That is not too surprising considering that car manufacturers recommend we check our tires pressures every time we fill up our gas tank. Do you ever see any one actually doing that? I’ve never personally witnessed it.

Tires do come with wear bars or flat spots between the tread grooves. When the tread wears to the point it is equal to the flat spots the tire needs to be replaced. When you look at the rubber tire and see cords showing through, or bulges, deep cracks or tread starting to separate, you have a very unsafe tire and should not drive on it.

Climate does play a factor in the aging of tires. NHTSSA says tires age faster in warmer climates and high ambient temperatures can accelerate the aging process. This can cause tread separations. Tires that are used infrequently such as on collectible vehicles and recreational vehicles can also age even though they are used as much. These tires might have great tread left but the structural integrity gets weakened from disuse.

Many are confused about when to replace tires. Check your owner’s manual and use those recommendations as guidelines. Again, a lot depends on your driving habits, road conditions and climate. Most manufacturers recommend replacing tires at least ever six years but some say 10.

Keeping your tires properly inflated is vitally important to the tires’ lifespan. Some consumers think the tire pressure listed on the tire sidewall is the proper pressure. That is not true. That is the maximum the tire can hold. The recommended tire inflation pressure can be found in your owner’s manual, on the vehicle’s door jamb and some vehicles even put it inside the fuel hatch filler flap or on the door of the glove compartment. Keeping your tires at the recommended inflation can save you nine cents per gallon of gas!

And when you are thinking about tires, don’t forget the spare! Hopefully you won’t have to use it, but it is nice to know it is ready just in case!

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Fairway Auto Repair

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