Replacing Tires

I keep hearing about replacing tires due to them aging out, and we are going on a trip, just 700+ miles soon, and the tires on my Wife’s 97 Chevy Monte Carlo (Not the originals) look beautiful, probably still 15,000>20,000 miles of tread left, no weather or any aging (Cracking) anywhere on the sides or anywhere, really look good, But this last May they were NINE YEARS OLD. Should I or shouldn’t I replace them before we go???

TIA for any info, hopefully from some REAL TIRE EXPERTS :slight_smile:

If my tires were 9 years old, I would replace them. It’s very unusual for a tire that old to not show some evidence of deterioration but they also age inside where you can’t see what’s happening.

I would be happy I got my money’s worth out of them and then lower the risk of an accident by purchasing new tires. It’s insurance.

I wouldn’t. When I’ve had tires fail due to age, it was tread delamination, that manifested itself as a shimmy, that progressed to a wobble, that progressed to something that got me to the tire shop, pronto. (I.E. plenty of warning.) The only time I’ve ever had a sudden blowout…out of the clear blue…it was as a result of a sketchy remount on the rim the day prior.

I’d go for it! I wouldn’t, however, replace tires within a week of the trip. Too large a chance of some complication manifesting itself on the trip. Either run the old tires, or replace a few weeks in advance.

I might add that this vehicle is always garaged when not in use, and only gets, LESS THAN 3,000 miles of use per year, our driving spread between three vehicles and being retired, not much driving really.

Looking at the sidewall is your best clue of old age…not tread depth.
My wife’s 06 Escape has great tread on the o.e. tires…BUT…that’s not the indicator.
The sidwalls are starting to look like and old oil painting.
Yikes !
My 79 has merely 71k on the odo…it is on it’s third set of tires…ALL due to age.
Once upon a time , sitting in the living room, I head a loud bang in the back driveway and went to see if someone had thrown a rock onto my trucks or something.
no signs of anyone or any vandalizm.
But the left front tire of the 79 had blown out…parked !

Although you may disagree, you should consider this car as (basically) abused, and follow the severe maintenance schedule. Cars don’t like to sit, and need to be run in order to maintain all the little seals and things that make them run properly.

I hope your trip is a blast, and you have a lot of fun. 700 miles isn’t all that far, so your tires should make it without issue. I would agree with both the posts above - they’ve done well so far, but at the same time changing them right before a trip is just introducing risk.

Tires are not just about the amount of tread on them. It is also about how much age the rubber has on it. Not cracked rubber, but aged, hard rubber.

Take your fingernail and press it into the tread rubber. Is it soft like a pencil eraser? Or hard like a hockey puck? Does it leave an imprint you can see for a few minutes? No? Replace the tires.

A second test to see if your tires have aged out. The last time you drove the car in the rain, did the ties spin when you hit the gas? Did the car slide a little when you turned a corner? Yes? Replace your tires!

Tires get hard with age. That means they won’t grip the road well in wet conditions. You say you are a careful driver and don’t drive fast in wet conditions? Good for you, BUT What about trying to stop short when that semi suddenly pulls out in front of you. Can you afford that extra 50, 75 or 100 feet to stop? THAT is why you should replace your nearly decade old tires.

This advice is from a retired automotive chassis engineer and amateur car racer for what its worth. There IS a tire engineer that frequents this forum, look for @CapriRacer. I think he will agree with this post.

Well I’m going to disagree. First I think they can deteriorate from the inside and not show signs on the outside. Also take a look for cracks between the tread. Second, 15-20K of wear left is not really a lot, and they have hardened over time and have less traction especially if it rains. Third, what’s the actual cost of replacing them a year or two earlier than you might otherwise, compared to the cost of having a problem on the road and needing to buy a set in a panic.

Granted, a 700 mile trip is not that long a trip but it will be sustained driving at higher temps and the tires are nine years old anyway depending on the date code on the tire. If you are asking, you are sensing a problem so I’d just bite the bullet on the side of caution and be done with it for another nine years.

I agree with those who say replace. If not now, when? After the 700 mile trip? Next year? As Bing says, when you replace, it looks like you are good for another 9 years anyway,

But, of course, I am the “high-rel” guy, who tries to replace things when their age and condition is such that it MIGHT fail soon, rather than waiting until it blows up. Your tires MIGHT fail soon based on their age. No one can be sure. Replace them now and you will have up to 9 more years of good tires.

And, this 700 mile trip will be in the bag. It sounds like you do not make many 700 mile trips.

We can’t tell if they’ll make it. What we know for a fact is they’re old. I’d replace them.

Replace. As Bing says, that is not really a lot of wear left. Tires are a very important safety consideration.

Be careful to get really “new” tires when you replace, look at the date code on the tire. Some tires have been sitting at the tire store for a year or more, you don’t want those.

Thanks all. Will plan on that next week, probably at Sears, knowing they are open 7 days per week, and will more than likely be around VS your Mom & Pop little tire shop.

Sears is circling the drain , I would use Sams, Costco. Walmart or something like Discount Tires. Unless I am mistaken sears does not even own their tire centers but contract them out.

Not Walmart. Even their name brand tires like Goodyear are not the same as what you would get at a dealer.

Thanks for the vote of confidence Mustangman. I, too, am a retired engineer and former amateur car racer.

The rubber in tires does deteriorate over time - and temperature seems to be the biggest factor. Tires in Phoenix age much more rapidly than tires in Minneapolis - and 10 years is a good upper limit for the cold areas of the US. So 9 years is certainly a removal point for most parts of the US.

Plus, the outsides don’t always show the affects of aging. Not only do different tire manufacturers use different rubbers on the outside, it is what’s inside that is important. You can NOT judge a tire to be GOOD just because there are no cracks - BUT - you can judge it to be bad because there are!!

While 700 miles doesn’t seem like a large distance, the distance between a failure first becoming perceivable, and that failure ending in a catastrophic tread separation is on the order of 200 miles.

@JazzAzz, I just started using Tire Rack. I have the tires shipped to a local shop that I use for other work. You might consider using an on line retailer and shipping to a shop they use and that you are familiar with.

Our Sears definitely still has THEIR OWN Auto center that I often use, for this & that. I would not use an ONLINE dealer for something like this, then expecting a local tire shop to really give me their all out good service. Sears has some great tire sale prices, so will still go with them. Looking forward to the Sunday paper Sears ADs… Sorry I am not one of those types that goes looking in a Brick & Mortar store, asking the sales people questions, taking up their time, then going online to make a purchase. The prices aren’t really all that much different, especially considering the service that one expects buying locally. Thanks all for your input though :slight_smile:

Hey Car talk guys, since our acct. is also linked with our email addy, whichever one we chose (ME the one I could are less about being spammed>>LOL), why can’t y’all email/alert us when their has been a reply to our posts???

You can do that now. Go to your profile ‘Click on your name’ and choose ‘Edit Profile’ and then go to ‘Notification Preferences’. There is a list of things you can choose if you want to receive an alert for any of them. Check the ‘Email’ box.

Well said, @Joe Guy!