Tire safety

I own a 2000 Toyoto SR5 with 65K. Am concerned about the 8 year old tires with good tread. How do I determine if the tires are safe?

Generally you want to look for cracks in the rubber. Having someone that you trust and who has experience with these things should be able to tell.

How much tread is left on them? You say good tread, but how much exactly?

I really enjoy the feeling a new set of tires gives my car,even if the old ones were still “safe”.The connection between the car and the road affects so many aspects of the driving experience.Driving my car after getting new tires just makes my day.

Pay special attention to the sidewalls. If they aren’t cracked much, you’re OK.

You don’t determine anything yourself except the age of the tires. One of them could go at any time, or none will pop. If you are concerned, don’t hesitate to get new tires. It’s a bargain compared to five tanks of gas.

The articles I’ve read make it sound like at six years you can start to see failures due to age and at ten years you’re on borrowed time, so you’re in the middle of that range.

Do you plan to keep the car for a while? If so, you’ll need to spend the money sooner or later, so you might as well spend it now. Even if you sell the car in the near future, you’ll get some of the money back if it’s a private sale, since the buyer won’t need to run out and buy new tires right away.

By the way, if you happen to be in the habit of driving with one hand, this might be a good time to correct that habit. If you do have a blowout of a front tire, as I did once, you’ll want both hands on the wheel!

On old old tires like those, LOOK FOR SIDEWALL SURFACE CRACKS never the tread. My 79 c10 pickup was just sitting in the back driveway patiently waiting for it’s annual drive or two and one morning I went out to find a flat left front on tires that had maybe 5,000 miles on them. Why ?? AGE ! This 79 has only 70,000 miles on it but I’m on my third set of tires because of AGE.

See http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/techpage.jsp?techid=138 for Tire Rack’s opinion.

I have 8 year old tires on a 1993 Caprice. The car is not a daily driver, when it is driven it rarely exceeds 50 mph in local driving and is kept to 65-70 mph on the highway. The tires look fine with no cracks and the correct pressure is maintained. The tire tread has hardened with age, so I have to be careful driving in the rain. I’m planning on replacing the tires in the fall, if it was a daily driver I would have already replaced the tires.

Ed B.

Another factor for me that I failed to mention which will play into your personal tire condition…UV / sun exposure. My 3 trucks live out side and I know that sun exposure is a big part of the age issue. . . After saying this to youall I’m actively searching for some tire covers which I’ve seen on the trucks at a contractors lot recently to put on my rarely used 79.

You see all kinds of dire warnings but nothing about what to expect if an old tire fails. My guess is that if you see a failure, it will will be a tread separation with a resultant lump in the tread that will make itself felt or the tire will develop a leak. I have not had a tire blowout at speed in over 50 years (yipe) of driving.

Until a few weeks ago I had three of four tires that were 12 years old and have just started to change them out. Also, a few years back we had a motorhome with 10 year old tires; no problem; even had cracks between the tread rows for many miles prior.

I’d go with 6 years in the US south, 10 years in the north.

I have a similar question based solely on tire age (not tire wear). A recent story on 20/20 (http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4822250&page=1) stated that even brand new (never used) tires over 6-7 years old pose a significant blowout risk and the impact of that at full speed (which they also show) is pretty scary.

I just had a flat tire and put on my full size spare. Then I bought a new tire and put that in my trunk as the new spare. But after seeing the 20/20 report, I went back and checked the ages of all my tires and the former spare (now on my car) was made in June 2001 (whereas all the other tires, including the new spare in my trunk, were made in the last year or two). Both the former spare and the new spare and in brand new condition (never been driven on). So, I don’t know if I should:

  1. switch the current spare with the Jun 2001 tire, so I am not riding on the aged tire (and it would become the spare which would only be used in an emergency if I got a flat tire).

  2. leave it the way it is, so in a few years my spare will still be good (and so I “use up” the one that is aged, under the assumption that it is probably still OK…I have been driving on it for several weeks already)

  3. ditch the aged tire and just buy a new one (so all my tires, including my spare, would be relatively new).

The place where I bought the tires said that the report was exaggerating things, and since I had very high quality tires (Goodyear Eagle GTs for a Lexus GS400…the standard ones, not the high performance) the current age of the tire is not at all a concern…they offered to do Option 1 for me, but said it was not necessary.

I just don’t know how much credence to put into the 20/20 report (knowing how the media likes to over-hype things), but I also want to make sure I am safe.

Opinions? Thanks.