While buying tires for your car, it makes sense to consider how old they are. Most certainly, you wouldn’t want to buy a tire that’s too old, even if it is unused.
When you visit a tire store, it isn’t too uncommon to find the tires are a year old already. However, if the tires are already more than three years old, it is highly advisable to not buy them. Even when just left on the shelves, the rubber starts breaking down due to exposure to air and light.
Should I buy 3 year old tires?
With no specific legal restrictions in place to ban the sale of old tires, tire shops can even try to sell you tires older than 6-7 years if they have unsold stocks. Hence, it’s entirely on you to check a tire’s age before you purchase it.
With that said, 3-year-old tires definitely aren’t something you should buy. In fact, three years is already twice the age recommended by experts when it comes to buying new tires.
It doesn’t matter whether the tires underwent any use at all, or whether the tire shop stored it in a dark place. The exposure to oxygen is enough to cause the rubber to start drying and cracking. Even if the effects aren’t visible, this significantly weakens the tires.
How old should new tires be?
While you may not always find completely new tires at a tire shop, most tires are less than a year old by the time they reach the stores. It isn’t advisable to buy any tire that is already over 18 months old.
This should give you a better idea of why a 3-year-old tire is already too old to buy. The older your tires are, the more likely they are to cause issues.
Thankfully, checking the age of a tire isn’t too hard, and you need not rely on the store owners to know how old the tires are. It is mandatory for tire manufacturers to put down the date of manufacture on the tire. Here’s how you can find it:
- Check the tire’s sidewall for circled blocks with numbers and letters inside them.
- Try to find a block that has four numbers inside it. It’d usually lie close to a circled block with “DOT” inside it, if that helps.
- Once you find the block, read out the numbers. The first two indicate the week of manufacture, while the last two indicate the year.
10 year old tires with good tread: Should you buy?
Ten-year-old tires are definitely a big no-no, regardless of the condition of the treads. The best tires, such as high-end tires from leading brands like Michelin, tend to have a maximum lifespan of ten years.
Even if the tires in question have seen little to no use, they are near the end of their lifespan due to the natural breaking down of rubber.
Not only are you likely to end up replacing these tires again soon anyway, but such old tires can also significantly raise the chances of accidents.
How old can a tire be and still be considered new?
If you are shopping for new tires, do not buy anything older than a year and a half. This applies regardless of the visual condition of the tires. Unlike the wear and tear that occurs from regular usage, the effects of the rubber breakdown aren’t as prominent. No matter what the seller says, avoid buying older tires.
As for three-year-old tires, they don’t pose a direct safety hazard yet.
However, they are still likely to wear down faster than newer tires, which means you’ll have to spend on a replacement once again. If you cannot find a tire newer than 18 months, you might want to look in a different store instead.
Why Is It Best To Avoid Older Tires?
Using older tires can lead to a number of problems and even put your life in danger. Here are a few reasons why you should always steer clear of old tires and go for fresh ones:
1. Old tires may blowout
As the rubber cracks and dries, it essentially starts losing integrity and weakens. This can cause the tire to blow out or explode, especially when driving over relatively rough terrain or damaged roads.
Besides causing the inconvenience of stranding you on the road, a tire blowout can also cause you to lose control of the vehicle and result in a crash. When a tire explodes, the vehicle starts pulling to a side with a strong jerk, and braking can be disastrous too.
2. Your car may skid
Even if the treads look fine, they start losing grip as the rubber breaks down. Without adequate grip over the road, a car can be hard to control and may skid frequently.
Especially when driving on wet roads, skiddy tires can spell disaster for a car and its occupants. The brakes don’t work perfectly without adequate road grip either, which means you may not be able to stop the car in time to prevent an accident.
3.It shortens the tire’s mileage
When you buy new tires, you’d expect to be able to use them for at least a certain number of years. Every tire has a specific lifespan; ideally, one should always make the most of it.
However, as a tire grows older and the rubber starts wearing out, its lifespan decreases. For instance, if a certain tire offers a total mileage of 45,000 miles but is already several years old by the time you buy it, the tire won’t last that long.
4. It nullifies the warranty to some extent
When you buy new tires, it’s important to pay attention to the fine print in the warranty policy. While some tire brands offer a warranty up to a certain mileage, others offer a set warranty period, regardless of how many miles you drive.
Firestone, for instance, offers a ten-year warranty from the date of manufacture. Now, when you buy a 3-year-old tire, you are essentially wasting away three years of the warranty period.
How do you know your tire is old and need replacement?
Replacing your existing tires as they grow older is as important as avoiding the purchase of old tires in the first place. Here are a few signs that indicate your tire needs a replacement:
- The treads are running thin
- Uneven tread
- Abnormal bulges
- Signs of tire damage
Many tire brands like Michelin also provide a maximum lifespan after which you should replace the tire regardless of its condition.
By now, it must be clear to you that a three-year-old tire is simply too old to be worth buying. Regardless of whether a tire was used or not, avoid buying it if it’s over 18 months old. Now, you can make a sensible decision, particularly if you are shopping for new tires for your car.