Are My Tires Too Old?

When it comes to maintaining the safety and security of your vehicle, investing in quality tires is essential. With tires representing a significant financial investment, drivers are hesitant to purchase new tires before it is absolutely necessary.

Despite popular belief, tires do have a shelf life. Here are three pieces of information you can use to help you determine if the tires on your vehicle are too old and need to be replaced.

1. The quality of the rubber.

Tires are made from a durable rubber material. As this rubber is exposed to the elements, it can begin to age. You can easily determine if the tires on your vehicle are too old by examining the quality of the rubber on the sidewall of the tires.

You want to check for visible signs of age like cracking or pitting. You should also use your fingers to gently press against the sidewall of the tire. Check to see if the rubber still feels supple, or if it feels brittle and hard to the touch. Brittle rubber is more likely to give out, so this could be a sign your tires are too old and should be replaced.

2. The amount of use.

Tires are a product that benefit from regular use. When you allow tires to sit idly for long periods of time, the rubber used to create them can lose its elasticity. This is especially true for tires that are mounted on a vehicle while sitting idle for extended periods of time.

The weight of the vehicle resting on one spot can result in a condition known as flatspotting, where the tire's rubber is flattened and unable to regain its original shape. If you haven't used your vehicle in some time and you notice signs of flatspotting, your tires are too old and will need to be replaced.

3. The chronological age.

You can use the chronological age of a tire to help determine if it is too old. A tire's life begins when it is exposed to the elements. This means that the tire is mounted to your vehicle, or the tire is serving as a spare mounted on the undercarriage or rear of a vehicle where it can be exposed to the elements.

Some vehicle manufacturers suggest that tires be replaced every six years, regardless of how much use they get. You can use this standard to help you determine if your tires are too old.

Replacing old tires will help you keep your vehicle safe as you travel in the future. Consult with a tire service for more information.