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When shopping for new tires from, the production date of the tires is listed.

I'm considering tires from a 2007 production run, which would make them around 5 years old today (after damaging a tire, I'm looking at buying a pair of the same tires to match whats already on the car).

I change tires seasonally between high performance summer and studless snow/ice, so a given set of tires can last me quite a while. I'd expect to get 4 seasons out of these (i.e. four more calendar years).

How old is too old for a passenger car tire? How old would a "new tire" have to be before you passed it over?

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I just read in "Motor Age"(Nov. 2012 pg.60) that tire manufacturers are now saying 5 years, regardless of tread depth. That seems a little too cautious for my standards. – mikes Nov 27 '12 at 23:15
@mikes I like that rule of thumb for motorcycle tires, where the consequences of failure are generally higher. But some passenger car tire manufacturers will warranty their tires for up to 5 these tires would then go directly from under warranty to in need of immediate replacement? – mac Nov 27 '12 at 23:23
You should also consider this particular source: a five year old tire from the Tire Rack warehouse is not the same as a tire that I've had sitting in the back corner of my garage for the same amount of time. – Bob Cross Nov 30 '12 at 13:10
Motor Age has issued a retraction. They now say most brands are good for 10 years. However your individual results will vary based on climate, use, vehicle weight etc. I look for obvious cracks, bulges, distortion of the tread etc. – mikes Dec 10 '12 at 1:30
@JerryOL, because I know that, at a minimum, my garage is not climate controlled. In fact, it's more sort of climate uncontrolled: air quality is terrible, who knows what kinds of particulates, temperature extremes, etc. – Bob Cross Jan 31 '13 at 19:26

Personally, I'd never use tyres which are more than 5 years old, regardless of visual appearance. Rubber ages pretty badly after certain interval, and even if you store them as recommended (dry and cool places), their quality and especially hardness deteriorate.

This is even more valid for winter/studded tyres, or tyres for performance vehicles, since you absolutely want to be able to rely on them in harsh conditions. A car with old winter tyres on a chilly day (-5 to -10 C) has the steering characteristics of a 1.5 ton curling stone. Do yourself a favour and buy new ones -- with winter and summer sets, they will last for approximately 5 years while doing ~20000 km per year on average, and the cost amortized over the years is not a big deal.

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Good question. I've seen a set of 5 year old tires basically disintegrate (cracked so bad they sprung leaks everywhere at once), but that was probably due to heat cycles (as they had 140,000 highway miles on them). I've also got a set of 13 year old tires on one of my cars right now (only used for a couple months a year and the occasional dirt/gravel road rally) and they don't even have surface cracks yet. I've also got a 10 year old set of tires that I use for the occasional track day, which are approaching the wear bars, but show no signs of distress yet. I had a 10 year old spare (used twice that I can think of) tire crack and leak too. Dunno.

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I work for a tire company. They've done extensive testing, in a warehouse, tires are good for a long time. So much so that they've successfully kept away any legislation mandating a timeline of how long they should last.

We have regularly sold tires up to 5 years old, and that is to a wholesaler (which means they could sit for an additional amount of time before being sold, and then be used for several years after that). Almost all manufacturers regularly and without discounts, sell to 3 years.

I honestly wouldn't worry about it if you plan on using them regularly. If you keep them properly inflated they will last to wear before you experience the breakdown in rubber.

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This article gives an answer to your question with great details, unfortunately it is in italian.

The summary is tires do get old through time even if not installed under a car for few different reasons, oxidation, sunlight exposition, loss of volatile oils, etc...

The swiss touring club (TCS) and the german automobil club (ADAC) performed tests and verified tyres older than 2 years are starting to show aging signals, they do recommend to install tires newer than two years and to avoid tires older than 5 years.

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For tire there are two things to be concern.

  1. Mechanical life or thread condition. Depends to the usage.
  2. Chemical life. Started immediately when tire produced. Since its mix of some other chemicals beside the rubber it becomes harder and harder when the time pass. Because the rubber in the mixture reacting the oxygen in the air. Unless you pack it airtight and keep it maybe very cool and damp free environment the tire will "age".

After the installation, depending to the usage and environment one of the "limits" I mentioned above will be reached; either it will wear off due to usage or start to be more "hard" or "less grippy" after around 4 or 5 years (from production date) depending to the production quality of tire.

When you need to buy new tires, I suggest check the production date if it is not older than one year. For me, in extreme cases it could be 3 years max.


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The tyres on my tractor are 40 years old, and still work fine! :-)

(Of course, they never go over 20 kph… :-)

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That's not really relevant to the O/P's question though, is it ;) Tractor tyres are a bit different to passenger car ones! – Nick C Dec 7 '12 at 11:41

All depends on manufacturer. Some warranty tyres from date of manufacture some from date fitted. Ask! Also to prolong life use tyre black/rotate as manual specifies/regularly check tyre pressures/try and avoid locking up brakes on cars pre-ABS, as you can create flat spots.

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