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I have been reading that one should discard their [otherwise perfect] tires when they are 8 years old. Any thoughts about whether one can continue to use tires if they appear to be good upon visual inspection? For those of us with really low mileage cars (miles per year), old tires could be common.
 

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2013 Lotus Evora IPS - Carbon Gray
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Cooley covered it. I have my second set of wheels in my garage with the original front tires from my 2013 and at this point, I consider them as trash, especially if I want any performance out of them.

 

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You bought one of the best handling cars extant.

So, you don't really want to drive on tires with so little grip, do you?

The difference in feel will tell you this is a bad idea.
 

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I have been reading that one should discard their [otherwise perfect] tires when they are 8 years old. Any thoughts about whether one can continue to use tires if they appear to be good upon visual inspection? For those of us with really low mileage cars (miles per year), old tires could be common.


Changing tires every 4 years / 10k miles in my case. Unless they wear faster.

As tires shows cracks at the edges, they’re fired.


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In the RV world, tires are replaced every 8 years max not due to miles driven, it’s due to age and they can cost $800+ per tire with sometimes 8 tires needed. As tires get old even if they do not show cracks or other signs of age, the rubber changes and becomes weaker thus the risk of delamination or a complete blow out greatly increases.

Can you use tires for longer then 8 years even with a few hundred or a few thousand miles? Yes

Should you use those tires at that age? No

It’s cheap insurance to replace tires every few years. For a sports car I would do as someone else mentioned every 4-5 years replace the tires, especially if you enjoy spirited twisty road driving.
 

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Put them on a wet road and you will experience fear.
 

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2005 Elise LSS Saffron Yellow
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It comes down to your use case, and how the tires have been stored. I have a set of 15" LT tires on my utility trailer. They're nine years old now, and still durometer fine. They're rated for vastly more than the trailer can carry. Most of the time I'm carrying less than 500 lbs on the 500 lb trailer, and they're also large diameter for the light load they carry, so low rotational speeds. They spend all their time outdoors in the shade, so ozone, UV, and distillate fume based degradation are all not a problem. I check them carefully every time I hitch up, and keep on towing. Will probably replace them in another couple of years.

I don't autocross the trailer. I don't (generally) tow at high speeds in heavy rain or snow, so the rubber stiffening with age is less an issue than it might be.

I did have a tire failure on that trailer not long after I bought it (used). It was an ancient bias ply tire and the tread separated when I had about 1000 lbs on the tire. Lesson learned.

I also have a travel trailer. Its (14") tires are always loaded to about 50% of their rated capacity. It gets new tires every four years whether it has gone 500 miles or 20,000 miles since the last set was bought. Cheap insurance...unless you have the bad batch of tires problem there was with trailer tires from Good Year about 5 years ago.

DD vehicles get regular tire replacements - I tend to buy fairly sticky tires (perfectly willing to sacrifice a little fuel economy for more wet and dry (and snow, in the case of the Grand Marquis) grip), so they get replaced every 3-4 years just from wearing down to near the bars. Aging is not a problem in this case - the tires are worn out before they're old enough to have aged out.

The Lotus had year old tires when I bought it. They're not great tires anyway, so I'll be happy to have an excuse to swap them out in another year or two. I'm not wearing them much now, but I suspect a couple of HPDE days will fix that...

Vintage/collector cars get tires when the tires start looking stiff/glazed and/or start showing some sidewall cracking. The older/stiffer they are, the more cautious I am with the vehicle. Parade duty on warm sunny days is fine, but a trip out of state to a meet usually results in a new set of shoes for the car in question, especially as they tend to have weird size tires anyway.
 

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Back 10 years ago, I got my first set of Sumitomo HTRZ3's for an STi. They were awesome in the rain as they were new and I sold vehicle with less than 2 year old rubber. Fast forward to 2015. When I wore out the Corsas on my Evora S, I am a track rat and have dedicated rims/R888s for that job so I wanted great daily tires that would also be my rain tires at track. For the price, the HTRZ3's are hard to touch....when new as I found out. Of course, I bought rain tires and never needed them that first season. Year 2 they did some damp, cold track work at the new track in NH (Club Motorsport). Ever since those 2 days, and now with ~7500 miles on them, the traction fell off the cliff. By the time they had 10K on them last fall (granted the rears were down to 3/32nds anyway), even a damp road made the tires feel like they were on ice. Even the fronts with 6/32nds left (I had originally intended to run 2 sets of rears to 1 set of fronts) were TERRIBLE. Moral of the story is, if your tires have done ANY kind of heat cycle duty, they will be dangerous long before the tread is gone, unless it within a ~ year's time Even if they have been in a climate controlled garage, unless you are parading the car, your grip is shot. If the tires in Northern VT have been exposed to below zero etc, they are truly terminal!!! At 8 years old, are you willing to risk continuing to use the SINGLE most important safety component on your car long past its prime?? Either way , you can put on new shoes for $500-600 (Sumi HTRZ3's).
 

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Jon, notice a trend here???

g
 

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Moral of the story is, if your tires have done ANY kind of heat cycle duty, they will be dangerous long before the tread is gone, unless it within a ~ year's time Even if they have been in a climate controlled garage, unless you are parading the car, your grip is shot. If the tires in Northern VT have been exposed to below zero etc, they are truly terminal!!! At 8 years old, are you willing to risk continuing to use the SINGLE most important safety component on your car long past its prime??
Yeah, this. A cold night around here is still above zero. Most winters, single digits are as cold as it gets. Really cold weather causes the rubber to cross link (vulcanize) more completely, which ruins the grip. There's a reason that many high perf tires specify storage above freezing...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Jon, notice a trend here???

g
LOL! Yes, I do. Some of what has been said makes a lot of sense; some, not so much. The tires in question have micro cracks in the valleys between the treads, so I agree that they need to be replaced. I am not so sure about tires stored in temperature controlled conditions, away from sun, ozone, etc.

Thanks to all who contributed!
 

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It is a matter of the rubber becoming hard thru age. Inevitable, I'm afraid.

My tires are always either on the car or in climate controlled area (wrapped). They still lose their grip.
 

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Please change them ASAP. I purchased a 2009 Elise in 2015 with 400 original miles on it and original tires. The tires looked perfect. I was stupid and didn't listen to people on this forum. Let me just say I now own a 2008 Exige and have a scar from four staples in my head. These soft tires become rock hard from sitting. They need to be changed every few years.
 
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