10 Year Old Tires With Good Tread

Why Your 10 Year Old Tires with Good Tread Aren’t Safe

Want to know one of the biggest misconceptions in the tire industry? It’s the idea that just because a tread is adequate that the tire is good enough to use. This is not only wrong but also dangerous! Even if an old tire still has a good tread (because, for example, it hasn’t been used), you cannot drive on it. That is because the rubber will have degraded. Many collisions have been caused by driving on old tires. Today, I’ll explain why you shouldn’t use 10-year-old tires, including 10-year-old tires with good tread.

Carmakers recommend that we replace our tires at least every six years. In many cases, you should do it more often, depending on how much you drive.

In the following article, I’ll explain why a 10-year-old tire is only good for the trash. Keep reading to find out how tires age and how to check if you need to change your tires.

Are Tires Still Good After 10 Years?

No, absolutely not. It’s extremely dangerous to drive on old tires. They’re vulnerable to many types of failure.

10 year Old Tires With Good Tread Are Not Safe

Furthermore, old tires perform worse and can hamper your driving experience and fuel economy. Tire manufacturers, experts, and regulators all say 10 years is too long to drive on the same tires.

I would say tires five years old and older are ready for a change, depending on usage. Additionally, I strongly recommend an annual tire checkup after three years.

What About the Spare? (is a 10-year-old spare tire safe?)

This is where the debate gets interesting. How can a spare tire need replacing if it is never in use, even if it’s 10 years old? Is a 10 year old tire with good tread ok to use as a spare tire?

No, it still needs to be replaced. Regardless of whether the tire has been used, a 10-year-old tire is too old and is dangerous to use.

That is because tread wear and appearances are not the only factors that decide whether a tire needs replacing.

Tires are made from a rubber compound and over time this compound degrades and become soft. The tire becomes less secure and eventually unusable when this happens.

Predicting when the compound will degrade is tricky, and it can depend on a range of factors. Driving habits, temperature changes, road conditions, manufacturing quality, and general wear all play a part in tire wear.

That said, using the tire does mean the rubber compound degrades at a more rapid rate.

With that in mind, your spare tire will last longer than the ones you drive on. But the tire industry and regulatory bodies still suggest you should replace a tire after six years, regardless of how much you’ve used it.

This is the message from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the British Rubber Manufacturers Association (BRMA), Japan Automobile Tire Manufacturers Association (JATMA), and other global tire authorities.

How Many Years do Tires Last On Average Before they Expire

While there is plenty of debate surrounding this question, the consensus agrees the expiration time for tires is around half a decade.

10 Year Old Tires With Good Tread Are Not Safe

Some manufacturers put a mileage figure on how long their tires last, such as 50,000 to 60,000 miles. However, this depends on how much you drive each year.

Regardless of driving habits, the rubber compound will start to degrade at around five years.

How to Find Out How Old Your Tires Are

There are two ways of finding out how old a tire is, one vague and one detailed, and both involve looking on the sidewall of your tire.

You’ve probably seen numbers and letters dotted around the side of your tire.

Maybe you’ve dismissed these numbers and letters as meaningless industry jargon. Well, in some ways they are jargon, but they are definitely not meaningless.

How to Find the Age Of Your Tires
This tire was manufactured in the first week (01) of 2020 (20)

These numbers show you everything you need to know about your tire, including its size, pressure limit, speed rating, width, and more. It will also tell you when the tire was manufactured in one of two ways.

Tire Identification Number (TIN)

Each tire carries an identification number made of 12 numbers and letters. This shows the year the tire was made and which factory it was built in.

In the United States and most other countries, tire manufacturers are required by law to include a TIN on their tires.

DOT Number

Alternatively, you can find out the exact week your tire was manufactured, as well as the year. This is visible via a (U.S.) Department of Transportation (DOT) number, which is 4-digits long.

The first two numbers show the week of manufacture, while the second two numbers show the year. For example, the number 2217 means the tire was made in the 22nd week of 2018.

How to Check Tires for Safety

You 100% need to change a tire if it is bald. However, it is worth remembering you can have good tire tread but still need to replace your tires.

How to Check Tires for Safety

There are several things you should do to see if it’s time to swap a tire.

Air Pressure

If tires are not at their recommended air pressure, they can become damaged. If your tire is consistently losing air, it could mean the rubber compound is degraded and leaking.

Check for Irregularities

Any physical abnormality in your tire is a sure sign if should be replaced.

Uneven Wear

Alignment and balance issues are common causes of tire wear. When your vehicle has issues with balance or alignment, your tires will show signs of uneven wear.

Do the Penny Test

While you can have full tread depth and still need to change, it’s crucial to monitor your treads.

Regulations say a tire is good with a tread depth of 2/32” or higher. I prefer to not let tires fall below 4/32”.

A popular way of checking tread depth is the tire penny test.

How Often Should You Replace Your Tires?

You should aim to change your tires every three to five years. Manufacturers often go towards the upper end of that limit and say you can change your tires every six years.

Here’s my opinion: the average driver will be lucky to get five years from their tires when you consider road use and regular tire damage paired with rubber compound degradation.

Based on the average annual driving distances in the U.S., your tires should last between 50,000 and 60,000 miles.

Tips to Make Your Tires Last Longer and Save Money

No matter what you do, every tire will eventually give into the certainty of old age. However, there are steps you can take to maximize its lifespan.

Replace 10 Year Old Tires ASAP

Let’s take a look at TireTim’s tips for making your tires last longer.

1. Regularly Check Tire Pressure

I guarantee there are millions of vehicles currently on the road with incorrect tire pressure. Even though checking tire pressure is incredibly easy to do, it remains one of the most ignored tire maintenance tasks.

You should check your air pressure at least once a month to ensure it meets the pressure recommendations for your vehicle.

2. Tire Rotation

Tire rotation is an essential service task that requires you to move around the tires on your vehicle (such as putting the front tires on the rear).

Most technicians recommend rotating your tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.

3. Tire Alignment

While it is known as tire alignment, your mechanic will really be adjusting the suspension. If your vehicle is pulling to one direction, this is an alignment issue. I recommend twice-annual tire alignment checkups.

4. Balancing

Every time you hit a pothole, take a corner, or put other stress on the tires, the wheels incrementally become unbalanced.

Get your tire balancing, alignment, and rotation done in a single service if possible.

Don’t Drive on 10-Year-Old Tires with Good Tread (it’s not worth the risk)

If you have 10 year old tires with good tread, don’t use them. Never take the risk of driving on old tires. By continuing to use aging tires, you’re putting yourself and other road users at risk.

In fact, most recommendations point to changing your tires after around five years. You may have good tread, but the rubber compound degrades as a tire ages, making it unsustainable long term.

2 thoughts on “Why Your 10 Year Old Tires with Good Tread Aren’t Safe”

  1. Clay Cartwright

    Just bought a 2004 Ford Mustang with less than 49,000 miles last month. Tires looked great. They were Cooper tires. Knew nothing about their age or that it mattered. After less than 500 miles, the car started pulling hard to the left. I thought it was out of alignment. Brought it into a garage and found out the tires were almost 12 years old! The left tire had shifted, and the right was starting to do the same. The garage showed me the tire date was October 2011!!! I’m getting new tires next week. Until then, my Mustang is sitting in the garage.

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