Why are old tyres dangerous?

Why are old tyres dangerous?

After the recent UK Government initiative to ban the usage of tyres older than 10 year aimed to improve road safety for commercial vehicles, many business owners ask themselves what is the reason behind and how they can comply with the future regulation.

When it comes to tyres, their manufacturing date is not something that we think of in the first place. What we have in mind when we consider to replace a tyre, is the remaining tread depth.

The technical facts are telling us that old tyres are dangerous to drive and here is why we should take a look at the age of the tyre.

All the tyres have a manufacturing date but not an expiry date. The manufacturing date can be found on the tyre sidewall, part of the DOT code. The DOT code ends with 4 numbers that represent the production week and year. For example, 4419 means that the tyre was produced in week 44 in the year 2019.

One downside of the current situation is that the manufacturing date is marked only on one side of the tyre. This means that you have to make quite a big effort to check it on the inside of the tyre, not to mention if you have twin tyres. We hope that the manufacturers will change this and mark both sidewalls.

But, how can we say if a tyre is “old”?

From the legal point of view, there is no restriction to drive with a tyre that is even 50 years old. The law has limits only for the minimum tread depth.

The vehicle manufacturers tell owners to replace their tyres every 6 years after the production date.Then, we have the tyre manufacturers recommendations. They state that the tyres should be changed every 10 years regardless of tread life, but from the 5th year an annual inspection must be carried out by a tyre professional.

If there is such a debate, why the tyres don’t just have an expiration date marked on their sidewall? Because there are factors like head, storage underinflation and other conditions that can dramatically reduce the life of a tyre.

Even if a tyre has never been mounted, it will age by just sitting in the warehouse. It is a slow process, but it is still there. Aging can be dramatically accelerated by improper storage conditions like direct sunlight and heat (for example storage in a container).

Tyre operating in warmer climate will age more quickly than the one running in cooler areas.

The condition of use also has a significant impact on the aging. Underinflation or overloading causes heat buildup which accelerates the aging process. Poor road condition or curb over driving have negative impact on tyre condition. Tyres on a vehicle that's only driven on the weekends will age differently from those on a car that's driven daily on the highway.

How can you recognize an aged tyre?

  • Large or small hairline cracks in the sidewall

  • Discoloration caused by excessive sunlight exposure

  • Vibrations or changes in the dynamic properties of the Tyre Management Consulting

  • Tyre carcass deformation

What a business owner of a fleet manager needs to do to stay on the safe side and contribute positively to the overall road safety.

  • Don’t buy used tyres. When you buy a used tire, you have no idea how well it was maintained or the conditions in which it was used. The previous owner might have driven it with low pressure. It could have hit curbs repeatedly.

  • Buy “fresh” tyres. Check the manufacturing date and make sure that is not too far in the past

  • Take a good care while using them. Keep the pressure at the recommended level and inspect the tyres regularly.

  • Ask for professional advice when you are not sure about your tyre condition

Drop us a line at info@proactsoftware.eu if you want more details about how to perform tyre inspections.

You can download here the guide that will help you recognize the nature and the cause of a tyre damage.


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