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What is the Shelf Life of Car Tires?

There is a shelf life to car and truck tires. Even when a tire is not being used, the rubber will weaken and crack over time due to environmental conditions, and just simply the age of the rubber materials. Over the years, many have experienced the unpleasant situations that arise when a car tire blows unexpectedly, either on the highway traveling at high speeds, or out in the middle of no where while taking a trip.

Many tire experts have come forward to say, and one British tire company even issued warning statements to their consumers, that tires that are ten years old or more should be replaced, whatever the obvious wear and tear may appear to be, or not to be. And for tires that do not get regular use, such as spare tires, they should be replaced every six years, again regardless of the wear on the tread. In the past years, there have been lawsuits pursued in the United States alone, wherein in tire problems have caused major car collisions. One man stated that while he had not driven his antique vehicle for eleven years, and the tires had been new, he hit a small bump on the road and found himself and his car spinning down the street. He stated that the tires on his vehicle looked just fine, and appeared to be in perfect condition.

In the United States, the tire industry has even stepped up to say that it is more than just the shelf life that must be considered. For even if the date of manufacture is on the tire, the conditions in which that tire is stored will play a key role in just how well the materials will remain safe and viable. Many people too, they state, will get the wrong impression about the tires they are using on a day to day basis. For safety’s sake, the mileage should always be considered when considering the purchase of new tires. That, and the regular driving habits of the owner and the environmental conditions in which the tire is used on a daily basis. Tire maintenance is extremely important as it is one of the key safety features of one’s vehicle, and due attention must be paid to ensure that continued safety on the road.

4 thoughts on “What is the Shelf Life of Car Tires?

  1. just how long should a tire sit on a shelf before you buy it.just what is to long

  2. Good article but it was missing some information I would like to have.

    1. Where is the manufacturer’s date?
    2. Is there some kind of formula or guideline for evaluating your tires? Some graph that relates miles used with manufacturing date?

  3. In September I was sold a set of 4 tires that are 10 years old. I only found out when I took one in to repair a flat. The tire shop I brought it to for repair would not fix it because they said it was too old. The date of mfg is found on the outside of the tire after the DOT stamp there is a series of 4 numbers. The first two give the week the tire was made, and the last two the year. The new tires I bought in September 2014 have a stamp of 2304. This is the most heinous act I have ever encountered. I could have been killed driving those old pieces of crap. I have a 2005 Mazdaspeed Miata, and I drive it hard.

  4. The reason no tire company will ever state an official expiration date is because that truly can vary from months to virtually forever.

    The rubber in the tires does break down and become brittle over time. This is true. However, it does NOT do that all by itself. Air exposure, polution, sunlight, humidity (or lack there of), load, and temperature where they are being stored are all factors that degrade the rubber. By limiting these factors, the tires can potentially last forever on a shelf.

    When mounted to a car that is in storage or just parked, it is very hard to limit these factors of degradation. But in a wearhouse, protected from the elements, it’s quite possible for tires to be nearly uneffected for many years.

    When storing any plastic or rubber products, the best way is to put them in vaccuum bags and store them in a dark cool room. Do tire stores do this? No. But they could, and you can too in your own home. That’s exactly how I store mine in the garage, and they are free of any signs of aging after many years.

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