Tire wear due to miles driven vs age

I was driving on the highway on a very rainy morning yesterday and with the cruise control on when suddenly the VSA ACTIVATION INDICATOR came on and turned off the cruise control. I had never had this experience before so it was very unnerving. This happened twice in succession and then stopped. Afterwards I read up on the indication and surmised that my tires slipped and caused the activation. My tires are Bridgestones and were purchased 8 1/2 years ago but only has about 30,000 miles on them. I googled this problem and saw this at a Bridgestone website: Many drivers are not aware that minimally used tires, like the ones on recreational vehicles, collectible cars, or even spare tires, tend to experience aging instead of wearing, due to a lack of driving. An aged tire has a substantial amount of tread; however, the structural integrity of the tire is weaker because the tire needs to be driven for the chemicals in the rubber to remain effective. Some how that does not seem to ring true to me. I understand that the rubber hardens with age and exposure to the environment but do the chemicals in the tire need to be “massaged” to retain good tire characteristics??? Anyway I just thought I would throw this question out to a group that knows more about cars than I do.

Yes age has made your tires less safe an also in heavy rain you should not be using Cruise Control ( It might even say that in your owners manual )


Yep, age hardens tires. Check your sidewall to see how old your tires are, could be 10 years. Replace them regardless.

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Yep, went back to the owner’s manual and it says cruise control should not be used in heavy rain, winding roads, etc. …lesson learned. I plan to replace the tires next year when they will be 10 yrs old since manufacture. The part that really caught my attention was about the tires needing to be used so that the chemicals can retain the tires characteristics…that seemed strange to me. You would think that once the tire is made, the chemical properties would be set forever…but I guess not!

I think you should replace them NOW and your VSA agrees… I do not know where you live nor if you store your car outside… but tires can become hard as rocks (and completely unsafe) in FAR less time than 10 years if you live 1) Where it is hot, 2) Where it is very sunny, 3) If you park outside, not in a garage or the rubber compound to build your tire hardens faster than others.

I replaced a set of tires I had on my sit-out in the hot Florida sun truck after only 7 years because of heat-and-age hardening.

Those 4 little black gummy tire patches are the only thing between you and death.



Yeah tires harden with age but you should not be using cruise control in bad weather. Snow, rain, ice. It might be in the book somewhere.

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Ok, thanks for the feedback…I live on the east side of the Big Island of Hawaii so the weather is very benign on the tires and the car is garaged. Costco where I buy my tires is on the other side of the island, (where I was driving to when I had the traction problem) about 75 miles distant, so we only make the trip over about 3 or 4 times a year. (Yeah, I know it is a short trip for you mainlanders, but for us locals, a 1 1/2 hr drive is a long ways!!) I measured the tread depth just now and it is 7/32" and when it was new it measured 9/32 so the cheap skate in me makes me want to hold off but you guys are right and I will buy a new set soon…as the saying goes “you can’t take it with you” and safety first makes sense!

No, it is not. It is always warm and mostly sunny. Rough on rubber. You would be better off in the UK… cool, overcast and damp.

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Oh, ok, I thought tires are like humans but I guess not! LOL

10 years is way too long to keep a set of tires. Your tires are unsafe now. Waiting until next year to replace them is foolhardy.


Unless you are just put-putting around town at 35 mph or less, I’d say a set of new tires are in order. One more datapoint: Ask around the local shops if they will repair flat tires or install tires of that age? I expect many of them will say “No, we won’t”.

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As far as I can see, no one has validated the above statement from Bridgestone.

Yes, we all agree the OP’s tires need to be replaced ASAP, but I think Bridgestone’s statement is hogwash. TireRack articles seem to contradict Bridgestone’s statement.

Seems hard to imagine how driving the tire has much effect on the effectiveness of the molecules inside the rubber.

I’m thinking that’s not the issue. Maybe it is when the tire is being driven the tire has a chance to return to a round shape, rather than a flat section in one spot, that seems a good thing for tire life… And a driven tire isn’t facing the same direction all the time, so sunlight doesn’t concentrate in one spot.

I can think of one reason - driving would wear off the outer hardened tread, letting the slightly less hard tread take over traction duties.

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Allow me to confirm that “exercising” a tire redistributes chemicals in the rubber.

Rubber is really not a solid, but more like a matrix. I tend to think of “spaghetti” as an analogy. There are chemicals that sit in the matrix, but aren’t a part of the matrix chain. Some of those chemicals are antioxidants that are supposed to protect the rubber from attack by oxygen.

So sort of like chunks in a meat sauce.


My father explained that to my 20 years ago, I think he got the information from a RV periodical.

Was this “information” from a Bridgestone Tire Company website or a Bridgestone tire dealers website? Big difference. Smells booogus to me.

Its validity was already confirmed by CapriRacer, our resident tire expert.

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Capriracer is the tire expert, I accept his explanation though it is hard for me to wrap my brain around the concept.

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