tire health

How is your tire health knowledge?

* MY TIRES ARE FINE!

* AHH, MY OLD MAN ALWAYS TOLD ME TO JUST LOOK AT THE TREAD!

* MY FRIENDS DAD’S, COUSIN’S, BROTHER IN-LAW WHO IS A MECHANIC SAID MY TIRES ARE GOOD!

* THE YOUTUBE VIDEO EXPERT SAID I SHOULD BE GOOD WITH MY TIRES!

* AFTER GOOGLING, I FOUND A BLOG THAT SAYS MY TIRES ARE OK!

Yeah, we’ve heard it all. The truth will set you free!

The evidence is clear: tire health is overlooked, and tires should have an expiration date. Older tires are substantially more likely to fail than newer ones. This is because tires are made mostly of rubber, which degrades with age, especially in extreme climate states like Arizona. Exposure and general wear and tear can accelerate the breakdown of a tire in states that have four seasons.

Once a tire begins to break down, it becomes more likely to fail in the form of a tread separation. Oftentimes this happens at highway speeds, when the failure is most likely to cause catastrophic injuries or death.

BUT MY TIRE TREAD IS GOOD!

Let’s chat about that for a moment….

Tire health isn’t just about your tread. Tires age dangerously because of a chemical process commonly referred to as oxidation. This simply means that as the tire components are exposed to oxygen, the oxygen particles cause the flexible components of a tire to harden and become brittle. Over time, the tire will simply fall apart under normal stress, just like an old rubber band. Because this process occurs naturally, it does not matter if a tire is being used, stored as a spare, or simply waiting on a store shelf for an unsuspecting consumer.

The life of your tire tread has quadrupled over the last forty years. Some currently sold tires promise 100,000 miles of tread life. As tread life becomes a lesser factor in the service life of a tire, oxidation becomes a more serious concern. This is particularly true in hotter climates, like Arizona, Texas and Nevada, which are routinely the hottest states in the US.

HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?

· Tires begin to weaken and fall apart as they age.
· The tire aging process happens regardless of whether a tire is on a vehicle or in a temperature-controlled room.
· Most tires begin to significantly degrade around five years from the date of manufacture.
· Six years from the date of manufacture, most tires are no longer safe for use on a vehicle.

EXPIRED TIRES ARE A HIDDEN HAZARD

Aging tires is a “hidden hazard” because most consumers don’t know that tires expire in six years. It is difficult for most consumers to tell how old a tire is without deciphering an 11 digit code that is imprinted on the side of the tire. Fortunately, you can crack the code on the side of a tire to determine a tire’s actual age. Most often it’s on the inside of the tire but it can be found on the outside as well. Look for a sequence of four digits. The first two are for the week of the production year and the following two are for the year of production. Example {05 11} (5th week of 2011)

As you can imagine, most consumers either do not know that this code exists or do not understand its significance. A 2006 survey showed that only 4% of consumers are aware that tires become more dangerous as they age.

A large body of scientific evidence supports that most tires should be replaced six years from the date they are manufactured. This expiration date begins from the day the tire was manufactured at the plant, not the date it was sold to a consumer or the date that it was installed on a vehicle. Which brings up a good piece of information for the next time your purchasing tires to simply ask.

“What is the production date of this tire I am about to purchase?” If the say, anything more than 3 months from the current date of your question, it’s time to renegotiate what your purchasing!

TIRE MANUFACTURERS WARN THAT TIRES EXPIRE IN SIX YEARS

Many auto manufacturers have taken small steps to warn consumers by placing warnings within the owner’s manual of newer model vehicles. However, due to the cryptic code tire manufacturers use on tires, the warnings are of only limited use to consumers. Simply look for that 4 digit code and if you cannot find it, ask your mechanic or local tire shop to tell you