Tyres are a one of those few things about vehicle ownership that you almost never want to leave to chance but, we spend so much time talking about how much tread is left on a tyre while ignoring the other important things to keep in mind.
Tyres are like onions; they have a lot of layers. These layers consist of a bunch of different components and materials including canvas, steel and most importantly, rubber. Even though there are many different layers, the rubber layers are the reason that older tyres are more prone to failure.
As rubber ages it becomes harder and more brittle, which leads to a couple of dangerous downsides. As the rubber is harder, it often doesn’t have as much grip, meaning it takes longer for you to stop and turn, which is dangerous in an emergency situation.
By far the more dangerous outcome of rubber aging is tyre failure. This occurs due to the brittle nature of old rubber which cracks and can allow the layers of the tyre to separate. Once these layers separate, it is quite common for them to split apart completely while driving around.
So how can you tell if your tyre is too old?
There’s a couple of ways but, the easiest by far is to check the date of manufacture on the tyre. This little oval shaped stamp on the side of the tyre is 4 digits and is read left to right with the first 2 numbers being the week of manufacture and the last 2 being the year. You can see this below.
This is a really simple process and you should be able to check this while checking your tyre pressures. The general rule is the 5 years is the limit of life for most tyres.
The other thing to check is for cracking on the shoulder or sidewall of the tyre. This cracking is the rubber becoming brittle in front of your eyes and, once it is bad enough that you can tell, it may be time to get new tyres.
Remember though, you can always ask one of our friendly Kashy mechanics if you need more help.