Tires too old?

When are tires dangerously old? A mechanic tried to sell me new tires for my 6-year old Accord with 34K miles on it, though the tires have plenty of tread. I baby this car and obviously don’t put many miles on it.

When there are cracks on the side. I think the life of them is supposed to be 4-5 years, but this is from manufacturing date. This date is imprinted on the side. Just google how to read it.

There are a number of factors. Do you park you car inside or out side? Is it exposed to a lot of city ozone? Do you live in a hot sunny area or cold and cloudy area?

I don’t expect others to agree, but here’s my opinion. Drive on. For motorcycles where you have to rely on only two wheels then “old tires” can be a significant safety issue. You are driving a car, so 4 wheels are on the pavement. The deterioration in performance is real, but unless you plan on going racing the difference is too small to significantly impact performance.

Sidewall cracks do not mean the interior rubber is compromised. If the tire holds air then the inside is OK. You have plenty of tread, that’s what is needed to channel water to minimize hydroplaning. I would keep going on your current tires. When they get to 10 years old that’s the point where I’d consider replacing them.

The safety benefit of early replacement of tires needs to be factored into the increased cost, and more tires filling up landfills.

Do they have lots of cracks and splits or appear normal? Somewhere between 6yrs-10yrs is too old dependent on car storage.

I agree with UncleTurbo. I’d keep driving the current tires until they are worn to the indicators in the tread.

7 or 8 years is the generally recommended replacement interval, regardless of wear, but I think there are other factors. If the car spends much of its time in a garage and the tires’ exposure to the sun is limited I think you can safely drive on tires older than 7 or 8 years.

I have a set of four Nokian winter tires, mounted on steel wheels, that are 9 years old and they are still in very good condition. I store them indoors about 8 months out of the year, and the sidewalls have only minimal cracking.

I drive at highway speeds on these tires and have no problems with them. They hold air pressure from one winter to the next.

I don’t think you need to replace your tires just because the car is 6 years old.

Here is a “worst case” example. The tires on my '76 El Camino were 11 years old when the first failure occurred. I had a tread separation while driving at 55 mph. This vehicle is parked outside in the Texas sun so it probably doesn’t get much worse than this. I wouldn’t worry too much at 6-7 years old.

Your mechanic must think you are gullible or insecure. I would not replace 6 year old tires in good condition. If the car is parked inside normally, I would not expect cracks until about 12-14 years at the earliest!

I you park outside in bright sunlight all the time., I would start looking at replacing them at about 8-9 years.

On my camper, always parked outside, we replaced the tires at about 14 years when significant cracks occurred, although they still had the full tread depth.

There are no cracks, and the car sits outside (in CA) since my wife bought a Prius. I had decided to ignore the mechanic till I saw a TV piece on aging tires being dangerous. My car gets pretty light duty though, and hasn’t seen the north side of 72 mph for a couple of years. I am keeping the tires for a couple more years at least. Thanks!

I think that Unk’s advice is fine. I will add that with all tires, you should give them a close inspection periodically, and look at them every time you get in the car. If your wife is not the type to notice the early stages of a tire separation (thumping and vibration), there is no helping her anyway.

I’m uncomfortable with keeping them once they develop cracking of the sidewall, but as long as there’s no signs of that I don’t think they shoudl be changed just because of age alone.

I’m not sure there exists any real data on ages impact on reliability for modern tires. There’s a recommended maximum age published by the tire industry, but I don’t believe it’s based on analytical test data, rather biased toward selling more tires by preying on peoples’ sense of security.