One of the great mysteries about tires is what has to do with their expiration. Do the tires expire? Can you fit tires that are many years old? Should I change tires just because they are old? Let’s shed some light on these doubts, so that traveling safely is not a matter of dates.
Tires are one of the most important elements for our safety when traveling by car. An element that, being made with organic elements such as rubber, is subject to the passage of time and its consequences. However, even among professionals, there are many who differ regarding how the passage of time affects our tires and how we should behave in this regard. To make the scope of this question clearer, we are going to analyze some of the most common questions in this regard.
Do the tires expire?
It is one of the most common questions drivers often ask themselves. In practice, tires do not have a set expiration date. In fact, the only date indicated on the tires is the manufacturing date, which we will discuss in detail a little later.
That said, it is important to remember that tire rubber is an organic element that has a tendency to lose some of its properties with use but also with the passage of time. However, this temporary deterioration is not linear, so we cannot set a closed time so that a tire cannot be used. In what there is a certain consensus is that a new, unused tire begins to lose part of its properties from the 5th year after its manufacture, while its final expiration would be in 10 years, provided that they have been stored correctly.
Can I pass the ITV with some old tires?
The answer to this question would be it depends. Specifically, it depends on the specific condition of the tires and their conditions. If the tires do not have cuts, deformations and maintain a suitable state in their pattern and adherence, it is possible to pass the ITV without problems. However, this does not mean that the tires are safe, since over time they lose properties and can end up turning into skates that slide on the asphalt when four drops fall.
On the other hand, within the technical instructions that ITV operators have, no aspect related to the date of manufacture of the tires is included. The only thing that is verified is that the tires are the same on both sides of each axle and that they have the measurements and characteristics that appear in the vehicle’s technical sheet, in addition to checking their general appearance, obviously. Beyond here they will not see if they are 2, 3, 5 or 10 years old. They would only fault us in the questions discussed above.
What effects does the passage of time have on the tires?
The main problem related to the passage of time with regard to tires is the so-called crystallization. This process occurs when the rubber of the tire loses its adherent properties and forms a slippery layer on the surface, which does not grip the ground at all. This layer usually appears in vehicles that do not roll too many, parked in garage and with tires that are already quite old.
The consequences of this crystallization are obvious. Some crystallized tires lose their grip on the asphalt, in addition to losing the ability to evacuate the water properly, since the tire does not absorb it during the break. Something that can be the cause of accidents. Some users comment that a light sanding of the surface can solve the problem, but since this will surely affect the entire surface of the rubber, including the one that we will expose with sanding, the best option is to proceed with the change of said tires. Something that owners of vehicles that do few kilometers a year should be especially careful about, since the external appearance of the wheels can mislead us.
When have my tires been manufactured?
In accordance with current legislation, all manufactured tires must have a mandatory marking indicating the date of manufacture. This marking is usually on the outer side of the tire, provided that they have been mounted correctly.
This marking is called DOT and indicates both the week and the year of manufacture of said tires. Thus, a tire with the designation 5017 would have been manufactured in week 50, around mid-December, of the year 2017. This is the date that we should take as a reference for the rest of the aspects that we have discussed before.
By the way, regarding the manufacturing date, there are some users who when buying the best tires for their vehicle have a tendency to desperately search for tires that have the same manufacturing week. In reality, unless there is a very high difference between the two dates, of a year or more, the difference between a couple of weeks more or a month less is not noticeable in the behavior of the tires once installed.
Not all are dates
We have talked so far about dates, manufactures and wear. But we do not want to fail to mention another key issue for the good life of tires: storage. Something that can considerably modify the condition and good use of the tires and even ruin a newly manufactured set.
In general, for car tires to remain in good condition it is essential that they are stored in a dry place, with adequate ventilation and at a temperature that is not too high. Only by complying with these storage parameters can those 10 years of waiting that we have commented on be achieved. Furthermore, it is essential that the tires are kept away from vapors and chemicals that can affect their structure. Something that is even more important than their manufacture date, since these elements can pose a risk for the future use of said tires.