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My tires

I have a 1996 Camaro Z28 with Continental P275/40ZR-17 tires. I drive it less than 1,000 miles per year. My tires have 10,000 miles on them and lots of tread but they are 7 years old. No cracks between treads or on side-wall. I am worried about the side-walls drying out and blowing out when I am on the road. How long are tires good for and should I get new tires?

You are on the line..    I would suggest that if your car is usually parked outside in the sun, or if you are in an area that have high ozone levels, I would suggest new tyres.  Age is important for tyres as is distance. 

Good Luck

Car is parked year-round in a heated garage. We live in Indianapolis, Indiana, where ozone levels are low. Thanks for your help.

You should only buy ozone safe tires. Any tires that can’t stand up to ozone in the air should be taken off the market, I say. And, whatever you do, don’t put ozone into your tires. Also, if it ever lightnings in your your town, get your tires changed right away because lightning puts a lot of ozone into the air. In fact, lightning is so bad when it comes to ozone creation, I am shocked Al Gore isn’t campaigning for lightning to be regulated or even outlawed. Oy!

Keep an eye on the sidewalls for surface age cracks, especially visible on the lower portion where the sidewall is naturally flexed most from the weight of the car.

Being garaged changes a lot concerning UV , but even the feel of the rubber , the elasticity becomes hardened over time an that same tire will not grip today like it did 7 years ago.

Even with no visible cracks now, the current hardness and inablity to flex may MAKE cracks as you attempt to drive it on those old hard tires…careful.
Personally, I’d at least start saving and shopping for the next set.

( my experience is with un-garaged old tires. My 79 Chevy pickup has merely 70,000 miles on it TOTAL yet is on it’s third set of tires. Once the left front just popped while parked. )

Recent bulletins from the tire industry indicate that tires degrade simply due to time. The age of a tire is important even if the tire is unused. There some disagreement over how to best express this age limitation, but my take is:

If you live in a hot climate (AZ, CA, NV, TX, and FL) then the limit is six years. If you live in a cold climate (MN, ND, WI, MT, etc), then the limit is 10 years. States in between are … ah … in between.