Rubber manufacturers, car experts, and tire makers have different opinions when it comes to a tire’s lifespan, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) doesn’t really provide any specific recommendations. While manufacturers’ suggestions vary from 5 to 10 years, there are certain signs you should look for as that will give you an idea when it’s time to get replacements.
Signs of Tire Wear
According to the British Tyre Manufacturers’ Association, you should look for hairline cracks on the sidewall. These cracks may be small or large, but their presence is a sign that the tire is getting old. Tread distortion of any type is another indicator, and that is more likely to appear if you drive on rugged or unpaved roads. Vibrations or dynamic property changes are also symptoms of wear and tear, and if any of these symptoms manifest you need to replace those tires as soon as possible.
If an old rubber band is left around for a long time and you suddenly stretch it, the rubber will crack or even snap, and the same thing happens to car tires. The longer you use them the more likely cracks will manifest, both inside the tire and on the surface, which makes it dangerous.
Small cracks might seem trivial, but over time the crack gets larger and could lead to the separation of the tread steel belts from the tire. Aside from wear and tear, accelerated heat and poor or lack of maintenance are the most common culprits. In other words, all tires that spend any considerable amount of time on the road are going to show signs of wear and tear. This is true for all tires, even those that have antiozonant chemicals or higher mileage.
How Long Will My Tires Last?
As mentioned above, the range varies from 5 to 10 years, and the reason for the disparity is so many factors come into play such as storage, heat, where you drive, how often you drive and so on. Heat in particular is a major factor and tires in warmer climates tend to wear out faster. However it’s not the only one as other environmental conditions also affect the aging process, with coastal climates and excessive sunlight exposure accelerating wear and tear.
Tires that are stored for long periods of time undergo intense heat, and even more for those that are exposed to the elements. Even if you just keep a spare tire in your garage, it will still age, just a little slower. If you want to prolong the life of your spare tires, let them see the light of day every now and then because locking it up speeds up aging.
What it all comes down to is this: if you see any signs of tread wear, cracks or distortion, have it checked or replaced outright. Don’t wait for the cracks to get worse, as the cost of replacing them is much lower compared to having an accident due to worn out tires.