tire aging

The Impact of Tire Age on Safety and Performance

January 2024

Take Off Tire wants all of our customers and anyone reading this to be safe on the road. That is our priority. In this article, we will dive into a critical aspect often overlooked by many drivers: the age of your tires. Whether you’re a car enthusiast with advanced technical knowledge or someone who just wants to ensure their safety on the road, understanding the impact of tire age is essential.

Tire Aging Basics

For those new to the topic, we’ll start with the basics. Tires are not immortal; they age over time. This aging process is influenced by a combination of factors such as exposure to sunlight, temperature fluctuations, and the number of miles driven. Even if your tires have sufficient tread depth, their structural integrity may be compromised as they age.

The Dangers of Aging Tires

The main topic at hand: why the age of your tires matters. As tires age, the rubber compound undergoes chemical changes, leading to reduced flexibility and increased stiffness. This can result in a variety of safety hazards, including decreased traction, longer braking distances, and an increased risk of blowouts.

It’s important to understand that the aging process. That process is often accelerated by a number of factors like temperature fluctuation, long term exposure to sunlight, overall age, and miles driven. These factors can lead to the breakdown of internal components, such as belts and sidewalls. Depending on the factor, the deterioration is not always visible from the outside. This is why regular inspections are so important. 

How to Determine Tire Age

Look for the DOT code on the sidewall. This code will tell you the week and year of manufacture. This information is available on every tire. For example, a code ending in “4020” means the tire was manufactured in the fortieth week of 2020.

There are other ways to determine tire age if for some reason the DOT is not readable or visible:

  • Cracks in the Sidewall.
  • Wear Bar Indicators.
  • Performance Changes
  • Tire Color Fading from Black to a Brown or Grayish tint.
  • Increased or Excessive Road Noise.
tire dot

Recommended Tire Age Limit

Manufacturers typically recommend replacing tires that are 6 years old due to several factors related to the aging process of tires. While the specific duration may vary slightly among manufacturers, the 6-year guideline is a general industry standard based on the following reasons:

  1. Chemical Changes in Rubber: Over time, the rubber compounds in tires undergo chemical changes. Exposure to oxygen, sunlight (UV rays), and temperature variations can lead to a process known as oxidation. Oxidation causes the rubber to harden and lose its elasticity. As a result, the tire becomes more susceptible to cracks and may compromise its structural integrity.
  2. Loss of Flexibility: Aging tires tend to lose their flexibility. Reduced flexibility may lead to decreased traction, longer braking distances, and compromised handling, especially in wet or slippery conditions.
  3. Internal Structural Deterioration: Internal components of the tire, such as the belts and sidewalls, can deteriorate over time. This deterioration may not be visible from the outside, making it challenging to assess the tire’s condition solely based on visual inspection. The breakdown of internal components can increase the risk of tire failure, including blowouts, which pose a significant safety hazard.
  4. Heat and Environmental Factors: Exposure to harsh environmental conditions, accelerate the aging process of tires. In regions with hot climates, tires may age more rapidly. Regions with extreme cold can have the same effect. As well as those with prolonged exposure to sunlight.
  5. Safety Concerns: Manufacturers prioritize safety, and recommending a maximum age for tires is a proactive measure to minimize the risks associated with aged tires. 

Extending Tire Life

Proactive tire maintenance can help extend their lifespan. Regularly check tire pressure, rotate tires, tire balancing, and ensure proper wheel alignment. Storing tires in a cool, dry place away from sunlight when not in use can also slow down the aging process.

Whether you’re a seasoned car enthusiast or someone just starting to pay attention to tire maintenance, understanding the impact of tire age is crucial for your safety and the optimal performance of your vehicle. At Take Off Tire, we are committed to providing you with the knowledge and services you need to keep your tires in top condition. Stay safe on the road!

Take Off Tire is one of the premier tire shops in Lincoln, NE and a great place to get your tires serviced. We offer free tire checks so come get your tires looked at for some extra peace of mind.

If new tires are needed, we have an extensive selection from top brands of new tires to choose from. If you have any questions, give us a call at 402-413-6646 to talk to a dedicated tire salesman who will help you with any tire advise, or service, you may need!