Asking how long a tyre will last is an impossible question to answer. A tyres life expectancy can depend on many things, including driving style, maintenance and storage.
What is certain is that tyres are perishable and must be replaced when they are not fit for purpose, whether they are worn below the legal tread depth limit of 1.6mm or so old they pose a real threat to safety.
etyres East Sussex were recently called to replace two tyres on the rear of a V12 BMW 7 Series. Close examination revealed they were 21 years old and most likely the original tyres fitted to the vehicle!
Considering most leading manufacturers and safety groups recommend 10 years as the limit of a tyres life, this discovery came as a shock to the vehicle owner who immediately realised how lucky they were to have not suffered the dire consequences.
There is a simple way to find out the age of tyres. First identify the DOT code on the sidewall of the tyre. Every DOT code will usually comprise of 11 or 12 letters and numbers. The first two identify the plant at which the tyre was produced and the last four indicate when it was manufactured. For example, a DOT code beginning WA and ending 2102 identifies a tyre built at the Firestone factory in Bethune, France, in week 21 of the year 2002.
Prior to year 2000, as in the case of the tyres etyres East Sussex changed, only three numbers are used for the date of manufacture, the first two numbers identify the week and the last number identifies the year of manufacture. To identify tyres manufactured in the 90s, a decade symbol (a triangle on its side) is located at the end of the DOT serial number.
The tyres etyres East Sussex replaced ended with the numbers 185 and the small triangle.
Tyres are a vehicles only point of contact with the road and are arguably its most important safety feature, providing grip for steering, braking and acceleration.
In the case of an old tyre, even if looks like it is in good condition, it is impossible to tell if it has suffered internal degrading and even if it has not been driven on much, it could be suffering flat spots, which could cause braking imbalance.
etyres recommend drivers identify the age of their tyres and pay close and regular attention to the external appearance looking for signs of ageing or fatigue, such as cracking and deformation of the rubber.
Denna Bowman, Head Office