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I own an 8 year old Lexus NXt that has only 18500 miles on it. Car is garaged, and almost all driving is for short trips in LA in normal traffic. We live in an area of LA that has more temperate temperatures that other locales. Tread is still very good. Do my tires on a car with low mileage need replacement after 10 years?

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  • Welcome Norman! Kindly note that this is an international site with community members from all around our planet. LA is an abbreviation for Laos, Louisiana, and Los Angeles. Oct 28, 2023 at 3:31
  • Here's a mythbuster's style break of this "tire expiration" thing. This was done with performance motorcycle tires, which naturally have much greater consideration for traction needs. Your lightly used city car is just fine on 8-year-old tires that have been in the garage all this time. Drive it down to a few tire shops and just ask for the free shake down. They'll check your tires and other things, and will come back with a good report, very likely.
    – user58368
    Oct 30, 2023 at 19:17
  • And, premium tire manufacturer Continental, despite advocating for a 10-year hard expiry, admits "Continental is not aware of any technical data to support the removal of service for tires past a specific age." This is standard CYA stuff. They go on to say you "cannot depend on visual inspection for rubber cracking [etc]". Yes you can. Tire techs do it all the time, with a great deal of accuracy and safety for their customers. Age matters eventually, but 10 years is a young tire if there are no other signs.
    – user58368
    Oct 30, 2023 at 19:24
  • Commenting now, until I have time and more resources to put into a good answer.
    – user58368
    Oct 30, 2023 at 19:32
  • Here's an excellent answer on this site about tire expirations in the case of a never used spare. In short, age only matters as an indicator to look for other issues. Actually, with that posted here as a comment, and it being an existing answer, I don't think I'm going to spend the time on an answer here.
    – user58368
    Oct 30, 2023 at 19:38

2 Answers 2

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Yes, those tires need to be replaced before driving that vehicle.

It may be tentative, but tires do have an expiration date. There is a general consensus that most tires should be inspected, if not replaced, at about six years and should be absolutely be swapped out after 10 years, regardless of how much tread they have left.

Source:
https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a15339994/how-long-should-a-new-set-of-tires-last/

Note that all tires have a manufacture date stamped on them. If you get in an accident with tires that old on your vehicle, you may be found liable regardless of the situation. A flatbed tow truck or a mobile tire installation service is your friend.

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  • For me (at least) it’s good to understand the reasons behind these things. Old tyres may be subject to UV damage if kept outside, and may suffer from other kinds of weathering anyway, such as hardening and delamination. If you can demonstrate that the tyres are still good then there’s no problem in using them but if you can’t then the burden is on you to show that they are ok for road use.
    – Frog
    Oct 28, 2023 at 9:34
  • @Frog Tyres are made of materials that degrade over time. I think one of the challenges is that unless one is willing to take each tyre apart and look at every constituent component under a microscope (and to have the education and experience to know how to interpret what one sees), it is impossible to know 100% for sure. Chemical reaction tests may be required as well. Of course, once you've done these things, the tyres are of no value except as lab samples. In lieu of everyone performing such detailed testing, I think it's best to go with expert opinion. Oct 28, 2023 at 9:43
  • @Frog BTW, I totally agree that, whenever possible, it's very good to understand the reason (and especially the science) behind these things. At the same time, it's important to not overestimate our knowledge/education in making "common sense" decisions. For example, so many people ignore the experts and look at the sky themselves to proclaim that there is no way a storm is coming. Soon thereafter, they wished they listened to the experts. Oct 29, 2023 at 4:50
  • Humbug. That's just manufacturers trying to obsolete perfectly good product. I've serviced 30 years old tires that look brand new, and 2 year old tires that look like they came off a Tonka.
    – user58368
    Oct 29, 2023 at 15:57
  • @58368 Evaluating the reliability of tyres by their outward appearance is a big mistake. That's akin to drinking 30 year old milk just because it looks fine. Similarly, anyone with a little spare time can make any engine look like new, but that doesn't mean it will run. But if you're in the market for 20-30 year old tyres that look great, I can have hundreds delivered to you. You'll have to sign a contract that you are aware of their age and accept full liability. You are correct, however, that some new tyres are garbage. But that's another story. Oct 30, 2023 at 6:27
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Some tires have a manufacture date stamped on them, such as the agricultural tires shown on this page which is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Tire Safety: Expiration Dates

The fact is that all tires have an expiration date. Surprisingly, many consumers and sellers of tires do not know about tire expiration dates.
. . .
Every tire has a birth date—the day it was manufactured—and an expiration date that is six years from that manufacture date.
. . .
Expiration dates for tires manufactured before 2000 were based on a 10-year scale because the expected life-span of a tire was 10 years. Current guidance suggests that tires should be expected to last a maximum of only six years.
. . .

enter image description here

A tire manufactured-date code, shown in the yellow box, may appear on the outside of some tires. The 11-character DOT code, shown in the red box, appears on the inside of tires.
. . .
The last two digits refer to the year the tire was produced, and the first two digits identify the week number within that year ... was manufactured on the 36th week of the year 2001. That tire was on a trailer that had been sitting in a field unused for 10 years, and it showed signs of dry-rot cracking. It is unclear whether trailer tires should be replaced every six years since they do not receive the same daily punishment as automobile tires. However, automobile tires should be replaced every six years.

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  • Nice find! Note that the reference you provided is 1.5 years more recent than the reference I provided. Oct 29, 2023 at 4:39
  • All tires since the 80s or 90s have a standardized DOT stamp, which includes the week and year of manufacture, along with batch number for recalls. I think even wheel barrow tires get stamped these days.
    – user58368
    Oct 29, 2023 at 15:59
  • And this, from the quote, "many consumers and sellers of tires do not know about tire expiration dates." Oh, we know, it's just that we also know it's BS. Tire life is almost entirely dependent on usage and storage conditions. Time doesn't become a factor until after decades.
    – user58368
    Oct 29, 2023 at 16:07
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    @58368 then the Kwik-fit staff who refused to repair my 15-year-old tyre on the grounds that it was too old to be removed, repaired and replaced without a safety risk were ripping me off? When I looked closely at the way the rubber was perishing, I didn't doubt them. Oct 29, 2023 at 16:13
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    @58368 instead of downvoting, would you please post an answer that justifies your opinion? Oct 29, 2023 at 16:29

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