Do You Know How Old Your Tires Are?
Most drivers know that when a tire’s tread wears down to the depth indicator, it’s time to replace the tire. Other drivers are familiar with using a penny as a tool to measure how much tread is left on a tire. Some drivers just do a visual inspection of the tire to look for uneven wear. Whatever your personal method of checking tire safety is, you may be ignoring a serious factor in tire safety. Old tires can be deadly.
As a tire ages, the rubber compounds that compose it break down. Think of an old rubber band, as it stretches cracks in the rubber appear, and the band snaps under much less tension than a new rubber band. This is essentially what happens to a tire as it ages. Cracks may be visible from the outside of the tire, or hidden within. As the cracks form, they can eventually cause the tread of a tire to separate which may result in a driver losing control of his or her vehicle. The deterioration of a tire may be accelerated by improper alignment and heat.
So when does a tire become unsafe to use? The answer may depend on the manufacturer of the tires, or who you ask. Continental and Michelin suggest that a tire can last up to ten years. Some manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz recommend that consumers replace tires within 6 years of their production date. And while the National Highway Traffic Administration has no specific guidelines in regards to tire aging, their research has found that tires age more quickly in warmer climates. Because there are so many factors that go into the health of a tire, it may be difficult to determine if a tire should be replaced after 6 years or 10 years.
Checking the age of your tires may be confusing; this guide does a great job of explaining what all the codes on a tire’s sidewall mean. If you find that your tires are over 6 years old, it’s a good idea to think about replacing them. We will be happy to check the health of your tires here at Fisher. If the tires should be replaced, Fisher is a great resource for new, recently manufactured tires. Let our knowledgeable staff keep you safe on the road, it’s worth it for peace of mind.