Dodge Challenger Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

Super Moderator
13,332 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
For various reasons, some of us drive our Challengers only on weekends. As a result, a lot fewer miles are put on our tires than normal. So, there is no need to replace them in 3-4 years. This can be a problem, however, because a tire's compound slowly starts to deteriorate after 5-6 years. With the high speed of our Challengers, this can pose a dangerous situation.

Read this informative article from Edmunds:

"For years, people have relied on a tire's tread depth to determine its condition. But the rubber compounds in a tire deteriorate with time, regardless of the condition of the tread. An old tire poses a safety hazard.

For some people, old tires might never be an issue. If you drive a typical number of miles, somewhere around 12,000-15,000 miles annually, a tire's tread will wear out in three to four years, long before the rubber compound does. But if you only drive 6,000 miles a year, or have a car that you only drive on weekends, aging tires could be an issue. The age warning also applies to spare tires and "new" tires that have never been used but are old.

What Happens to a Tire as It Ages?

Sean Kane, president of Safety Research & Strategies, Inc., compares an aging tire to an old rubber band. "If you take a rubber band that's been sitting around a long time and stretch it, you will start to see cracks in the rubber," says Kane, whose organization is involved in research, analysis and advocacy on safety matters for the public and clients including attorneys, engineering firms, supplier companies, media and government.

That's essentially what happens to a tire that's put on a vehicle and driven. Cracks in the rubber begin to develop over time. They may appear on the surface and inside the tire as well. This cracking can eventually cause the steel belts in the tread to separate from the rest of the tire. An animation on the Safety Research & Strategies Web site shows how this happens. Improper maintenance and heat accelerate the process.
Every tire that's on the road long enough will succumb to age. Tires that are rated for higher mileage have "anti-ozinant" chemical compounds built into the rubber that will slow the aging process, but nothing stops the effects of time on rubber, says Doug Gervin, Michelin's director of product marketing for passenger cars and light trucks.

How Long Does a Tire Last?

Carmakers, tire makers and rubber manufacturers differ in their opinions about the lifespan of a tire. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has no specific guidelines on tire aging and defers to the recommendations of carmakers and tire manufacturers. Carmakers such as Nissan and Mercedes-Benz tell consumers to replace tires six years after their production date, regardless of tread life. Tire manufacturers such as Continental and Michelin say a tire can last up to 10 years, provided you get annual tire inspections after the fifth year.

The Rubber Manufacturers Association says there is no way to put a date on when a tire "expires," because such factors as heat, storage and conditions of use can dramatically reduce the life of a tire. Here's more on each of these factors.

Heat: NHTSA research has found that tires age more quickly in warmer climates. NHTSA also found that environmental conditions like exposure to sunlight and coastal climates can hasten the aging process. People who live in warm weather and coastal states should keep this in mind when deciding whether they should retire a tire.

Storage: This applies to spare tires and tires that are sitting in a garage or shop. Consider how a spare tire lives its life. If you own a truck, the spare may be mounted underneath the vehicle, exposed to dirt and the elements.
If your spare is in the trunk, it's as if it is "baking in a miniature oven," says Dan Zielinski, senior vice president of public affairs for the Rubber Manufacturers Association. Most often, the spare never sees the light of day. But if the tire has been inflated and mounted on a wheel, it is technically "in service," even if it's never been used, Gervin says.

A tire that has not been mounted and is just sitting in a tire shop or your garage will age more slowly than one that has been put into service on a car. But it ages nonetheless.

Conditions of use: This refers to how the tire is treated. Is it properly inflated? Has it hit the curb too many times? Has it ever been repaired for a puncture? Tires on a car that's only driven on the weekends will have a different aging pattern than those on a car that's driven daily on the highway. All these factors contribute to how quickly or slowly a tire wears out.
Proper maintenance is the best thing a person can do to ensure a long tire life. Gervin recommends that you maintain proper air pressure in tires, have them rotated regularly and have them routinely inspected.

How To Determine the Age of a Tire

The sidewall of a tire is full of numbers and letters. They all mean something, but deciphering them can be a challenge. This Edmunds article about reading a tire's sidewall goes into greater detail, but for the purposes of determining the age of a tire, you'll just need to know its U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) number.
Tires made after 2000 have a four-digit DOT code. The first two numbers represent the week in which the tire was made. The second two represent the year. A tire with a DOT code of 1109 was made in the 11th week of 2009. Tires with a three-digit code were made prior to 2000 and are trickier to decode. The first two digits still tell you the week, but the third digit tells you the year in the decade that it was created. The hard part is knowing what decade that was. Some tires made in the 1990s (but not all) have a triangle after the DOT code, denoting that decade. But for tires without that, a code of "328" could be from the 32nd week of 1988 — or 1978.

Clearly, these DOT numbers weren't designed with the consumer in mind. They were originally put on tires to make it easier for NHTSA to recall tires and keep track of their manufacturing date. To make matters worse, you might not always find the DOT number on the outer side of the tire. Because of the way a tire is made, it is actually safer for the technician operating the mold to imprint information on the inner side of the tire, so some manufacturers will opt to put the number there. It is still possible to check the DOT code, but you might have to jack the car up to see it. Keep the visibility of the DOT number in mind the next time you are at a tire shop and the installer asks if you want the tires to be mounted with the raised lettering facing in.
That potential inconvenience is going away, however. NHTSA says that the sidewall information about the tire's date of manufacture, size and other pertinent data is now required to be on both sides of the tire for easier reading.
After checking out a tire's birth date, give the rubber a visual inspection. Some of the best advice on such an inspection comes from the British Tyre Manufacturers' Association. It recommends that consumers check tires regularly for any sign of aging, such as tread distortion or large or small hairline cracks in the sidewall. Vibrations or a change in the dynamic properties of the tire could also be an indicator of aging problems, the association says. It recommends replacing the tire immediately if such symptoms appear.

Don't Buy Used

Tires are expensive, especially when you factor in the price of mounting and balancing. That's why used tires become more attractive to consumers who are strapped for cash. But the purchase of used tires is very much a buyer-beware situation, Zielinski says. "Even a one-year-old tire can be dangerous if it was poorly maintained," he says.
When a consumer buys a used tire, he has no idea how well it was maintained or the conditions in which it has been used. The previous owner might have driven it with low pressure. It could have hit curbs repeatedly. It could have been patched for a nail. Further, it's a dated product.

"You wouldn't want a used tire for the same reason that you wouldn't buy a 10-year-old computer," Zielinski says. "You are denying yourself the advancements in tire technology over the past few years."

Make Sure You're Getting a "Fresh" Tire

Just because a tire is unused doesn't mean it's new. In a number of instances, consumers have purchased "new" tires at retail stores only to find out later that they were manufactured years earlier. In addition to having a shorter life on the road, a tire that's supposedly new but is actually old may be past its warranty period.
If you buy tires and soon after discover that they're actually a few years old, you have the right to request newer ones, Zielinski says. Any reputable store should be willing to make amends. "It is fair for a consumer to expect that 'new' is not several years old," he says.

Letting Go

Getting rid of an unused spare or a tire with good-looking tread may be the hardest thing for a thrifty consumer to do. "Nobody's going to take a tire that looks like it's never been used and throw it out," Kane says. But if it's old, that's exactly what the owner should do.

Although Kane has lobbied NHTSA to enact regulations on tire aging, nothing is currently on the books. A NHTSA spokesman says the organization is "continuing to conduct research into the effects of tire aging, and what actions consumers can do to safely monitor their tires when they are on their vehicles."
It's too bad that tires don't have a "sell by" date, like cartons of milk. Since there's no consensus from government or industry sources, we'll just say that if your tire has plenty of tread left but is nearing the five-year mark, it's time to get it inspected for signs of aging.

Of all your vehicle's components, tires have the greatest effect on the way it handles and brakes. So if the tire store recommends new tires at your five-year check-up, spend the money and don't put it off. Your life could depend on it."

146 Posts
I'd like to add...if you buy new tires, check the mfr. date, as they often sit in a warehouse for a year or more. I've had them shipped to my shop up to 4 years old. Sorry vendors I am not going to dump your old inventory on my customers! But this can easily happen to a consumer.

13,536 Posts
One case i remember as far as tire date codes go was when a father bought his daughter a new set of tires for her first drive going away to college and one blew out and she lost control and was killed. Turns out the "new" tires the corner shop put on her car had sat on the rack for 8 years! The tires they took off her car were newer. 20/20 did a show a few years back and some of the tires they found in stock were up to 14 years old. Sad story but back then nobody really knew anything about this.

Sent from Free App

Premium Member
3,089 Posts
Whenever I buy a used car, the first thing I do is get new insurance. Who knows what the previous owner did.

Super Moderator
13,332 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
"The Drive" is citing old tires as the reason for Paul Walker's fatal car crash.

Read this article:

"Your tires are the most important part of your car. They can make you faster, they can save your life, or they can get you killed, even if you’re the star of a major car-centric action franchise, and even if you aren’t drivingl.
The four small patches of rubber connecting your two-ton manslaughter machine to your city’s lowest-priced asphalt are, if you ask me, the best way to improve your car, or, the quickest way to **** it up, crash, and even die. Even if you should know better. And I’m going to give you one piece of advice—advice I learned the hard way, but not as hard as my friends Paul Walker—who would have celebrated his 43rd birthday this week—and Roger Rodas did.

In November of 2012, I entered my modified C5 Corvette in the “Optima Batteries Ultimate Street Car Invitational,” a multi-discipline driving event held the day after SEMA ends in Las Vegas.
Though the car was, and is, in mostly good nick, with, at the time, around 25,000 miles on it. The engine makes 400 horsepower to the wheels with some mild bolt-on upgrades, and it has a Stoptech Big Brake kit, Pfadt coilover suspension, racing seats, harnesses, and more. All of it worked.

The bad news? It also had six-year old Goodyear F1 Assymetric tires on it. They had less than 5,000 miles on them, so they looked nearly new. But looking new and gripping like new are two different propositions entirely.
On a street tire, most people will notice their tread has worn down after several thousand miles of use and decide it’s time to get new tires. If it rains, the worn tread won’t disperse water as well and you will have poor wet-weather performance, and a tendency towards hydroplaning. With cars driven frequently, you will wear out your tread before you age-out your rubber, which is the problem I want to address.

With collector cars, especially cars driven less than a few thousand miles a year, the problem is that while your tread may look good, the rubber is old and dry, and simply will not work properly. The chemical compounds in your tires will degrade over time, significantly reducing your available grip, or worse, blowing out a sidewall under load.
With sport tires, colder weather and harsh weather will exacerbate this. In general, five years from date of manufacture (stamped on the tire) is about as old as you ever want to go in a car you plan to drive quickly. If that car (or the tires themselves) are stored in a climate-controlled facility under perfect conditions, maybe you could squeeze an extra year or two out of them. But the fact is, if you have a few cars, some maybe that you only drive a few times a year, replacing tires can easily become a dangerous afterthought.
My Goodyear Eagle F1 Assymetric tires were decent, not great, when new. Now, six years later they look fine, and felt OK on the highway, so here I am - the first car out onto the track for the morning’s run group. Ambient temperatures are in the 40’s. I wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised to see track temperatures lower than that.

I make it three corners. At less than 45 mph, all the controls in the Corvette go light, and I find myself doing a four-wheeled slide off the track into the gravel. After punching myself in the face a few times, I creep back onto the track and black flag myself for being a moron, but don’t even get that far. Four corners later, it happens again, on the slowest corner of the entire track. Off into the gravel I go.
My wheels looking like rock tumblers and my mint Torch Red paint now covered in a chalky fine layer of dust, I hang my head and limp back to the paddock. I had gone off twice, during my warm up lap.

Fast forward a year. In November of 2013, Paul Walker and Roger Rodas were hanging out at an open house and car show in front of the business they owned together, Always Evolving. I had the pleasure of both their company on several occasions; though we weren’t close, both Roger and Paul were always a pleasure to be around, especially at the track, where they spent a lot of time. Both were excellent drivers and upstanding citizens. Neither of them would live to see the end of the day.
Roger, an avid car collector with more than 50 cars to his name—including what I believe is the largest collection of Saleen cars in the world—had just bought himself a Porsche Carrera GT out of a long-term collection.
The red-over-black Carrera GT was the right color combo and had a famous owner in its history: Graham Rahal. It also had only 3,500 miles on the odometer, making for a highly desirable example. He had just taken delivery of the car that week. Paul, as big of a gearhead as he was, had never been in a Carrera GT before. It was a Sunday, so the large office park was all-but-deserted save for AE’s small section of parking lot.

Once around the block was all it took to kill them both. The 3,500 mile Carrera GT was shod with its original tires. They, like the car attached to them, were 9 years old. Roger lost control of the Carrera GT at an estimated 90 mph, and hit a tree.
I was distraught the first couple of days, but honestly, all I could think about was how the crash happened, and I just kept going back to that day at Spring Mountain. This was a super low-mileage car. Roger was a really good driver. There were no other cars around or last-minute obstacles to avoid. It had to have been on original tires.
No one talked about the tires. Everyone wanted to hang Paul and Roger out to dry as their speeding scapegoats. The tires were a footnote to an exaggerated story, and it became a missed opportunity to teach a very real lesson. The “tires, may as well have been made of paper mache.”

The point, kids, is if you have a car you don’t drive very often; or if you buy a car from a collection and it has low miles; or if you buy a car that has been sitting for any period of time, or used sporadically: check the tires, and change the tires. They may look like they are in good shape with not many miles on them, but if they are out of date and you don’t check, you won’t know anything’s gone wrong unless it’s too late. Learn from my stupidity in this situation, or from poor Roger and Paul. As they say, the life you save, may be your own."


Edit Tags
Tags None

524 Posts
One other thing to consider..... I've experienced that when a model tire goes "on sale" it is sometimes because the date is old but may be they're planning to discontinue it. This can be an issue if you damage a tire beyond repair (with low miles) and are looking for a replacement. You'll end up having to buy four instead of one, unless you don't mind mismatched tires. Just my 2 cents... :|

979 Posts
My mom didn't drive much, I changed her tires every 8 years. I do mine the same, 8 years or noticeable wear, whichever comes first. New ones May last longer being nitrogen filled
I too look at date when buying tires. Everyone should learn to read tire stamps

1,072 Posts
I would like to add something to this from another perspective. If you are lucky enough to have a vintage car that has the original bias ply spare tire in the trunk, DON'T throw it away! Don't use it, but keep it with the car.
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
About this Discussion
7 Replies
7 Participants
Dodge Challenger Forum
Challenger Talk, the online forum for discussions, reviews of Dodge Challenger, and all things SRT, Hellcat, and Demon.
Full Forum Listing