Monday, July 15, 2024 Detailed Auto Topics
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Just because the tread of a tire is good, does not mean the tire is still safe

Most people know that a worn tire is dangerous.  Far less are aware that the age of the tire is also a factor. Tire age not often considered but may be putting you and others at risk. Many experts agree that six-years from the date of manufactor is the safe life of a tire. Though the treads of an old tire may still look good, age has compromised the construction.  This may be a time bomb waiting to explode.

Old tires are no laughing matter.  They are dangerous!

When they produce a tire they carefully bond the internal plies with adhesive. They attach the tread and carcass in a similar way. The adhesives holding the tire together tend to weaken as they age. If the adhesive fails the tread may detach from the carcass. This is called a tire tread separation and is very dangerous. When this occurs the tire becomes very unstable and can unexpectedly blow out. 

An early symptom of a tread separation is a wobble in the vehicle, especially when rolling slowly. A separated tire on the front may cause the steering wheel to wobble back and forth. When the bad tire is on the rear, the wobble will be in the whole vehicle. At higher speeds the wobble is less noticeable and becomes a vibration. This is very dangerous and a sudden unexpected blow out may occur.

Old tires that have not been used can separate when put into service

The rubber in a tire dry-rots over time

Ozone and other environmental factors may break the rubber in a tire down. Small cracks often appear in the rubber and compromise the safety of a tire.  When tires are produced manufacturers add chemicals to the rubber to help protect it from ozone. Over time these additives break down and offer less protection. Tire dressings that some people apply to shine tires may also remove some beneficial additives from the tire’s surface. Using only soap and water to clean tires is best and skip the tire dressing as this could add to the problem.


Dry rot cracks in an old tire 

Carefully inspect tires for dry rot cracks

The age of a tire can be determined by checking the DOT number on the sidewall. Please click Reading The Tire DOT Code for a picture and instructions on reading the age of a tire from the date code.  This code may only appear on one side of the tire and may be on the outside or the inside. Tires that they produced before the year 2000 will only have three numbers. For instance 507 represents the 50th week of 1997.  All tires after 2000 will have a four digit code, read in the same manner.  For Example 2519 indicates a tire manufactured in the twenty-fifth week of 2019.

Good tread but badly dry rotted tire, take care!

The tire below is severely dry-rotted and not safe to be operated.  Though this tire is ten years old it was still in service.

Serious dry rot can compromise tire safety

Even buying new tires does not mean they are fresh

Some sources may even sell tires that are several years old and represent them as new. Just because the tread appears new, does not change the age of the tire. Experts say, that tires sitting for years on shelves, may be even worse than tires that have been in service. Always check the date code to be sure.

An old, new tire 

DOT date code indicates tire was built in the 24th week of 2002

Great care should be taken in selecting tires. AGCO verifies the age of a tire before installing it on your vehicle. Thin tire treads mean an unsafe tire, but it is not the only thing to watch for.  Trust AGCO to take care of your tire needs.

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