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Low mileage tire lifespan?

I have an 88 Monte Carlo SS joyrider w very low mileage - 36K. I bought new Eagle GT tires for it over 10 years ago, and the tires have less than 10K miles of wear on them. How long are tires good for if they have low mileage wear, the car has always been garage kept, and the tires show no visible signs of dry rot or crackling in the rubber? I have always kept then moisturized on the outer walls.

A car guy told my mother that tires should be replaced every 5 years or so to avoid blowout from rubber breakdown, but since he SELLS tires, I find his advice to be suspect. Anybody with no personal motivation have an answer?

If you don’t drive the car much and aren’t taking any long trips with it I’d just keep using your tires. Be mindful that the tires will not perform as they originally did. The rubber gets harder so they will slide out in corners faster, they won’t give a good traction in the rain as before either.

If you drive the car rarely and don’t drive it at the “limits” then you’ll be OK. If you drive it aggressively the few times you take it out then you’d be better off with new tires.

I would definitely replace your ten year old tires for safety.
Blowouts on the highway, though unlikely, can happen with older tires and be disasterous.

You did not say if you park in the sun or in a garage. If you park in the sun, please get a new set of tyres. It will make life a little safer for you and for the rest of us. When an old tyre fails it is not a pretty sight.

If you park in a garage, you may be able to keep going a little longer, but I would replace them if it were mine.

If you see cracks anywhere on the sidewalls they are past due.

I find it hard to paint things like this with such a broad brush. These rules of thumb are just that and a lot depends on the individual circumstances. Having garaged the vehicle certainly helps to preserve the tires and conditioning the sidewalls hasn’t hurt either. Yes, they are 10 years old. I have a couple sets that are similar that I still drive on occasionally. IMO, 36k is not very low mileage. Probably about 1/2 the expected lifespan of the tires considering it is a rear wheel drive vehicle. If the rubber is still soft and there are no signs of checking (cracking) on them, they can probably be used for some time yet. But at 1/2 their life, it wouldn’t be as much of a loss to replace them either. Just my 2c…

Your car guy friend is definitely wrong - 5 years is way too short an interval. I’ve heard 10 years quoted often, but I’ve also read that there is no good statistics to back up that claim. It really depends - do your tires show any evidence of drying or cracking? Sunlight and ozone are the major causes of aging rubber, so it really depends on how the tires have been stored, and where you live.

Mileage is completely irrelevant on tire life unless worn below 2/32".

Tires should replaced in time in a range of 6yrs to 10yrs dependent on construction and environment facotors.

You are due. Bad tires, exhausts and brakes can kill someone, life is way to short.

TWINTURBO says: “IMO, 36k is not very low mileage. Probably about 1/2 the expected lifespan of the tires considering it is a rear wheel drive vehicle.”

Sorry, must not have made myself clear! CAR has 36K miles on it, tires have around 10K miles on them, and are over 10 years old, but show no appreciable tread wear, still have little side “nipples” on outer walls. The car has always been garage kept, so minimal UV/ozone exposure.

I think everyone should read this.


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There are really two factors on how fast the rubber ages, sunlight and humidity. Since you keep the car in a garage, you don’t get the UV rays that cause the rubber to breakdown.

Now if you live in a dry climate, you may think you are off the hook, but you may not be. You may have relatively dry air on the outside of the tire, but compressors tend to raise the relative humidity of the air it compresses. Unless you have been filling the tires with dry air or nitrogen, chances are that you have a lot of moisture inside the tires.

You could have the tires dismounted and check the rubber on the inside. If its not slimy or easily comes of on your fingers when run your fingers across them, you might be ok. Still no guarantees though.

How fast do you “joyride” and do you have young children or someone you love “joyriding” with you?

Joyride on nice weekend days, pretty much keep to the speed limit, since I’m in my mid-40’s and have garnered an appreciation for low insurance rates, and tend to ride alone or with another adult in the car, never kiddies. More of a casual cruiser, going for rides along country roads, or to local car people hangouts, or charity car shows. The older my car gets and still looks decent, the more attention it garners, and I know this includes Officers of the Law. The Monte kinda sticks out from the crowd these days…LOL!!

Ozone is another big factor, tires can age in a dry warehouse if there’s ozone. This exact thing happened in LA years ago.

I took a quick look at the site. It pays no heed to the following variables:

  1. Tire design and materials used.
  2. Location of vehicle, deep south or far north.
  3. Storage location of vehicle, in garage out of sunlight or not.
  4. Air quality of storage location.

I would not worry at all about tire deterioration due to heat aging in northern Canada but would be much more concerned in a place like Mexico City.

I recently traded a 13 year old car. Just before I traded it, I installed two new tires to replace two of the original tires that came with the car. The old tires performed flawlessly.

We used to own a motorhome that we bought new. We ran the original tires to 12 years of age; no problems.

We live in the northern US where heat aging of tires takes place more slowly.

Oops, no, your post was perfectly clear the second time I read it ;D

Although your garage walls can stop UV from penetrating, ozone moves freely about with air exchange.

I wasn’t trying to be nosey, I was just trying to get you to think about what’s important in life.

I think I would upgrade the tires just for the looks if I were in your shoes, but if I were hauling the kiddies and their mom, then I’d upgrade for the safety.