Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Change Tires if More Than 6 Years Old?

I’ve recently read that you should change your tires if they are more than 6 years old. The reason given was that tread separation was much more likely after 6 years, even if the tread depth is still good. Even tires that have NEVER been used but are more than 6 years old should not be used. Do you agree?

Not only the reasons you are asking but after that amount of time, more likely sooner, the rubber is really hard and sounds as if you are driving on stone wheels.

That seems to be the minimum age some manufacturers (Chrysler, Ford) have come up with, Bridgestone is at 10 years, I think. I certainly wouldn’t go over 10, less is up to you. Part of the difficulty in coming up with a single number is that it depends a lot on the pollution in your area - high ozone hurts tires a lot.

Tires dry out with age. Factors that increase tire aging include exposure to ozone, sunlight, temperature extremes and general outdoor weather conditions. Whether the tires are useable depedn on how they were stored and what kind of tire. A set of plastic wrapped Z-rated Michelins kept in a climate controlled environment are probably OK, but how many tires are kept like that?

In summary, unless you already own the tires or they’re free and were stored under the conditions I mentioned I’d pass.

No. In the deep US South 6 years; in the far North 10 years. The sun is a lot more destructive in the deep South. I have two tires on my car that are 12 years but the car has been stored in the summer; is used in the winter.

If they were stored under good conditions (little ozone and no sunlight and cool, they should be fine. I have never heard of tread separation being an age related issue.

If you see cracks on the sidewalls you should not use them. If I were buying tyres I would avoid them.

It depends on the environmental conditions and whether weather checking cracks (dry rot to me) are present.
Another factor is the type of tire (speed/temp rating, etc.) and how it’s being driven.

There is nothing wrong with using 20 year old tires if they’ve been in storage and have not been exposed to the elements. I’ve seen 60 year old NOS motorcycle tires used safely and I’ve also got a full set of roughly 8 year old brand new tires in my attic that could be used in a heartbeat without a worry in the world.
I’ve even got a pair of NASCAR practice slicks in the attic (one from Bobby LaBonte’s car and one from Dale Earnhardt Jr.s car) that are about 10 years old and are perfectly good and useable in spite of of a bit of thrashing at the track. (although not street legal of course)

If the rubber is soft and there is no weather checking on the sidewall or in the tread grooves then I don’t see a problem at all.

(Some of the old motorcycle tires I mentioned survived the years becauae they were sprinkled with talcum powder and wrapped in paper. The paper can be omitted but the talc is something to keep in mind if you ever decide to stash some tires back for a lengthy period of time.)

I’ve seen 60 year old NOS motorcycle tires used safely

Funny you should say that. This year when getting my bike cleaned up, I decided I should replace the tyres. It was a 1965 Honda with the original tyres. I bought it new. I don’t ride it all that much.

It would not occur to me to replace costly items such as tires simply because of their age. Maybe 2% of all such tires will ever develop a problem before they wear out. But the tire manufacturers need to defend themselves against potential litigation, hence the warning.

Inspect your tires, particularly the spare. If they look to be in good shape then continue to use them. I have had tread separation before and the symptoms are very noticeable long before there is a safety problem.

Mr. Meehan, what model Honda is it? Just curious. I was just starting high school in 1965 and Hondas were wildly popular back then.
I remember in junior high school that everyone wanted that small step-through model (can’t remember the exact designation; maybe Cub?) and the real studs had a Honda 300 Dream. (hope that one is right; the one with the squared headlight)

CM200T Twinstar

Thank you for the reply. I’m not familiar with the Twinstar at all but like many other kids back then I did have the hots for the 300 Dream. Unfortunately, I wound up with an Allstate Moped (Sears used to sell them) with the bicycle pedals. :frowning:

It’s kind of cool that you’re the original owner of an old bike like this. I watched a bit of a TV bike auction from Las Vegas this evening and saw a 1941 Crocker go for 230,000 dollars; and the bidder (by proxy) was very willing to go even higher. His competition all started dropping out at around the 175-200k mark.

I have experienced tread separation with the tires that came on my Civic when it was new. It happened on one tire and I replaced it. Then it happened to another tire and I replaced the other three originals. Thankfully, both times I noticed the change in the way the car felt when it was only a bubble under the tread and the whole tread didn’t get a chance to come off while I was driving. In a car with a low center of gravity and independent suspension, a blow-out or tread separation isn’t usually a catastrophic event. I think if I drove a vehicle with a higher center of gravity and bigger tires, I would be more worried about a roll-over accident and I might replace my tires after six years. Tire blow-outs seem to be a lot more dangerous when you drive an SUV.

This is a good reason to buy 40,000 mile tires instead of 70,000 mile tires. I would hate to replace tires simply becuase of age and not wear.

I heard from those articles that they shouldn’t sell a tire over 6 years old and they should be changed after 10 years. If people drive 70 mph and they don’t have any driving skills that is probably a reasonable idea. These failures are rather rare and are usually coupled with overloading and high speed. Statistically this is an invented problem. It would be nice to buy new tires every year. I’ve had a number of problems (sidewall cord separation) with tires that I have bought on used cars. There seem to be quality problems with many brands of tires. Never had that when spending a little more for Michelen. It does seem a bad choice when when people spend more for sneakers than their tires.