What are the dangers of old tyres?

Did you know that tyres have a definite expiry date regardless of the amount of use?
Published in:   Car

Even if a tyre has never been used and appears to be in perfect condition, it is still unsafe to use if it is more than six years old.

The life span is shorter still for tyres in use which have other factors that contribute to their longevity, such as wear and tear. The concerning thing is that many drivers don’t know this fact and the number of accidents attributed to aged tyres is on the increase.

An aged tyre straight off the shelf looks brand new but the internal structure is significantly degraded. Like other rubber products tyres have a limited life span. Essentially, over time this degrading leads to reduced adhesion which creates tread separation. No matter whether the tyre is used or not, this degradation will occur.

These internal structure changes are impossible to identify without extensive testing so even an expert might not be able to tell the difference between a new and aged tyre.

Old tyres can cause problems

Problems that occur in old tyres include:

  • Loss of control of the vehicle
  • Reduced grip on the road
  • Reduced ability to grip, particularly in wet conditions.

These problems can have fatal consequences for the driver and other motorists. In recent years manufacturers have become more aware of the increase in accidents related to aged tyres and have begun to issue warnings on their tyres. Still, motorists are largely unaware of this as these warnings are usually hidden inconspicuously on the tyre.

Ensure your tyres are safe

Some suggestions are:

  • Check your tyres for information from the manufacturer that tells you how old the tyre is. If you can’t find that information, have your tyres tested by a professional
  • If you have to use an old tyre such as a spare, drive more slowly and carefully and change the tyre as soon as possible
  • Be very wary of buying used tyres if the dealer can’t specify the age of the tyre
  • Replace your tyres even if they look okay after six years of use.

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