Knowing the age of your tyres and how this affects them is an important part of ensuring both the safety and performance of your vehicle on the road. So how do you determine how old they are and what can you do to maximise tyre life as they age? Let’s take a look at a few facts.
The tyre’s sidewall holds an important key
First up, checking the sidewall will give you some vital information – with it being mandatory that the date of manufacture for all tyres is displayed on the sidewall. Look for a 4-digit number which records the week and year of production (eg. 0318 stands for the third week in 2018). In many cases this date will be displayed after the DOT code.
How does age affect my tyres?
Tyres that do a lot of mileage or work in harsh conditions are very likely to need to be replaced well before they show signs of their age (and we know that tyres that work hard need to be regularly checked for tread wear and any other signs that they are no longer optimally safe).
Some signs of aging tyres include:
- Cracks may start to appear as the rubber degrades and the tyres become more vulnerable to cuts and punctures
- The tyre may need to be inflated more frequently as they become more porous and air starts to escape and as a result the risk of sudden tyre failure increases
- Tyres that have been stored for periods of time (such as spares as well as those only used intermittently on seasonal agricultural machinery or caravans and trailers) may show signs of perishing.
What’s the recommended age to replace my tyres?
There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to when you should replace your vehicle’s tyres, although manufacturers usually recommend replacing them at least every five years.
How can I maximise their life?
Regular checks (including of spares), correct inflation and good driving habits are all necessary for maximised tyre life.
However, it’s not always about their mileage — age affects tyres even where they may still appear to have the necessary tread and be in reasonable condition for continued use. Tyres that have been stored for a number of years may show signs of degradation, while tyres that come into contact with certain substances (such as oil, grease, petrol and chemicals such as fertilisers) and electrical equipment can also be adversely affected.
Where possible, tyres not in use should be stored in climate-controlled environments, away from direct sunlight, heat and rain.
Where tyres are left on agricultural machinery or caravans, these vehicles should be moved around during the “down time” to avoid flat spots and deformations developing with age and time.