Tuesday, January 31, 2023 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. Tire age is also an important factor, not often considered. Many experts agree that six-years 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 will begin to fail as they age. When the treads detach from the carcass, the tire becomes very unstable and can unexpectedly blow out. This is called a tire tread separation and is very dangerous. 

An early symptom of a tread separation is a wobble in the vehicle, especially when rolling slowly. A separated tire on the front causes the steering wheel to wobble. 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 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 break the rubber down. Small cracks often appear in the rubber and compromise the safety of a tire. Tire manufacturers add chemicals to the rubber to help protect it from ozone. Over time these additives break down and offer less protection. Tire dressings 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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