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I have this question about the tires especially I'm planning a road trip this summer.

So this is the situation of my car that raised this question. I bought this car brand new in 2011. I am a light driver, so I only put roughly 10k miles on this car so far. I generally keep the tire pressure around the factory recommendations, and have done one tire rotation. Mostly I drive in cities.

So here come the question, based on the milage, the tire should be OK. But in my situation, as I am a light driver, I don't drive cars very often, so it just parks in the parking lot. So in this kind of situation, should the milage still be the main criteria to determine when to change the tire? What I am concerned of is the aging the rubber of the tire as it's already on my car for 3 yrs. I believe for most drivers, the car would get more than 50k miles in 3 years, so the milage probably is the main criteria for changing tires as aging of the tire probably is not significant comparing to the worn out due to milage.

So in general, how many years of the tire would be considered aging? And in my situation, should I change the tires for a certain length of time (like 5 years or so) rather than a certain milage (like around 30k to 50k miles for most tires)?

Thanks in advance!

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1 Answer 1

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You are right to be concerned about the rubber of the tyres aging - rubber does perish over time.

In general, the rubber in a tyre should last 6-10 years, depending on circumstances (things like ambient temperature, whether it is kept in direct sunlight, local climate etc all affect it) - note that this would be from when it is manufactured, which could be several months before they were fitted to your car.

You shouldn't have to worry about it just yet, but keep an eye on them (just visually check them when you check the pressures), and replace them if you see any signs of cracking or perishing.

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Tire care also has an affect on how long tires last. The rubber in tires have a "substance" in them (don't know exactly what it's called) which directly affects their longevity. This substance is the same thing which leaves brown marks on concrete or other floor surfaces if it sits in one place for a long period of time. The only real way to tell how much life is left is cracking, as you suggested. Dry rot is your biggest enemy. Be on the lookout for it. Even when dry rot does appear, it doesn't mean the tire will blow out tomorrow. It means you need to start looking at replacing them though. –  Paulster2 Jun 2 at 10:45

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