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Dangerous Tires - Are new tires really NEW?

The following ABC news story highlights that many tires are over 6 years old when you buy them as “new”. While no shelf life expiration on tires is currently in effect - should there be an expiration date on tires? If so, is 6 years the right number for such an expiratation date?

My take on the story is that tires are ok up to about 10 years post manufacture. Meaning if you buy a 6 year old or older tire you only have a few years of safe use on your vehicles.

The point is that old tires can dry out and the tread can separate and result in a vehicle going out of control at highway speeds.

News stories aren’t newsworthy unless they make dramatic statements. What do you think? Are old tires as big a potential problem as this news story describes?

Forgot the link - here it is.

This has been discussed before. UV rays from sunlight are the biggest contributor to tire “aging”. Most tire installers store tires in a warehouse, not outside. I’ve been buying all my tires from or – they sell huge quantities of tires and have no reason to keep old stock for years. If you have an odd-ball size tire you should ask the dealer about the manufacturer date. Otherwise, it’s a non-issue that keeps the media in business on slow news days.


As Twotone has suggested. Based on environmental factors, climate, if the car is garaged,etc may determine how long a tire will last.

There may be to many variables that determines how long a tire last to be able to put a expiration date on a tire.

I personally feel that this whole issue of tire shelf life is overrated, and suspect that the life data published by the tire industry is biased toward the short end.

However, elastomerics do have a shelf life and perhaps some fed standard is appropriate…

“However, elastomerics do have a shelf life and perhaps some fed standard is appropriate.”

Shelf life applies to uncured materials. It is typical for paints and adhesives in high reliability systems that you can’t repair, like satellites. I’ve never seen a shelf life for cured polymers.

It seems the conscensous is the ABC news report is much ado about little to nothing.

Last summer in preparation for a 400 mile road trip I replaced some tires on my boat trailer. The old tires looked to date back to '87 when the rig was new. These were the worse cracking sidewall dried out tires I’d ever seen short of a junkyard. And they held air fine. For the last 7 years we didn’t use the trailer for more than 1 mile on the road a year to launch the boat for the season. Since they held air I left them alone.

Generally I keep tires until they are worn out regardless of age, exception made for motorcycles. My wife saw the news story and kind of freaked out and wants me to check the dates of all our tires. She is most concerned about the tires on our son’s Camry that he has at college. Got to protect the kids and I’ll check them when he brings the car back to PA from Florida when the semester ends.

I have a '76 Dodge 1-ton with 25 year old 10 ply nylon tires on it. A “farm” truck if you will…Once a month I load 6500 pounds on it and haul that load 10 miles on dirt roads…The TIRES are the LEAST of my worries!