I have an old pair of wide whitewall tires that I want to put on an old car of mine. The ones I put on the front have good tread, but the ones I want to use on the back are quite worn. Would it be a good investment to have new tread put on these tires or would it be cheaper and safer to go with new tires. I’ve inspected these tires and they seem to have no cracks and are not very stiff.
You would be better off buying new tires.
I’m not an advocate of retreads.
You can get “classic” tires from Coker tire company. Visit their website. Tires being a critical safety item, you may even want to replace all four.
How old are they! Tires older than 10 years from date of manufacture should not be used. Some states reduce this requirement to as low as 6 years.
Manufacture date can be found by the DOT code moulded in the side of the tire (following from Wikipedia):
The DOT Code begins with the letters “DOT” followed by a two numbers or letters plant code that identifies where it was manufactured. The last four numbers represent the week and year the tire was built. A three-digit code was used for tires manufactured before the year 2000. For example, 178 means it was manufactured in the 17th week of 8th year of the decade. In this case it means 1988. For tires manufactured in the 1990s, the same code holds true, but there is a little triangle (?) after the DOT code. Thus, a tire manufactured in the 17th week of 1998 would have the code 178?. After 2000, the code was switched to a 4-digit code. Same rules apply, so for example, 3003 means the tire was manufactured in the 30th week of 2003.
Edit: I don’t know what the code is if they were made before 1980. Maybe no code at all.
The sidewall is the part of the tire that actually carries the weight of your car and you don’t want to be riding on old ones. Retreads only make sense for things like semi-truck tires that do so many miles that the tread may wear down in a matter of months.
I second the Coker tires suggestion-- I looked into them a while ago and was suprised that they weren’t really that much more expensive than a regular tire.
The date coding system was put in place in the late 1960’s. At that time they used the 3 digit code with no symbols. It took a few decades, but it was realized that you couldn’t tell which decade a tire was produced by looking at the date code. This wasn’t much of a problem because most tires didn’t last that long - and the folks that were most interested in this - … well … they were in the business and it was easy for them to tell an obsolete tire design. (Most tire designs weren’t produced for more than 5 years before they were replaced.)
But as tires got better and better mileage, it became apparent that a better system was needed. So in the 1990’s the “arrow” symbol was added. I say arrow because the symbol is really a triangle on it’s side with the peak pointing towards the date code.
And, of course, late in 1999 the 4 digit code was started and the transition was complete by mid 2000’s. So you will see some tires produced in 1999 with 4 digits and some tires produced in 2000 with 3 digits.
And they meet all modern safety standards!
Has anyone bought “normal” tires and used a painting kit to make your own wide whitewall tires? I’ve found a kit on ebay that is much cheaper than buying actual wide whitewall tires. I’m a poor college student, but still want to put decent tires on my car that go well with the age of the car!
If you are a poor college kid, I’d recommend selling the old car. Older cars require a lot more maintenance - which means cost - and sometimes the parts are hard to find.
you never told us how old those tires are.
I’m not sure how old these tires are, I’m just wondering how the quality and look of painted whitewalls would look and hold up.
I haven’t seen those kits since the early '70s. As I recall they didn’t hold up very well.
I’m not sure how old the tires are but I think the number on them is something like G76
Sidewalls have to do a lot of flexing, so paint applied to the surface definitely won’t hold up. Actual whitewalls are made out of the white rubber that’s in the tire, so they don’t have that problem.
The paint actually dries to a very flexible elastomeric coating. Probably a polymer of some sort. I recall using it on tire lettering on the sidewalls of some tires and, as I recall, it didn’t work well. Adhesion seemed good, but it wore off very quickly. Durability was poor.
The was probably the old alpha numeric tire sizing that was in use during the early 1970’s.
It looked like this: G70-14.
If those are original then they are 30 years old!!!
Please look for the DOT number and look at the last few digits. That will be the date code. BTW, it will be on the non white sidewall side.
Personally, I would not run a re-tread tire on a passenger car. Some of the truck drivers get away with it because if a tire comes unraveled there’s other tires around it to carry on. The truckers also can’t run them on the front axle.
I say invest in new tires.
Whitewalls are not as popular now but some years back there used to be guys who would go around to dealerships and install “whitewalls” on brand new cars that were factory equipped with blackwalls.
A machine would spin the tire a bit and a slight groove was cut into the side of the tire. It was then filled with a white rubber tape. Looked like the real deal for a while, but eventually age and few trips to the car wash…
(I’m not a big fan of removing rubber from the thinnest part of the tire anyway.)