Is it time for new tyres?
I’ve had a question sent into us, asking “How do you know how old your tyres are?”
The questioner isn’t sure about the age of his tyres and is concerned in case they should be changed. There’s no real wear and tear on them – no bubbling, chipping, or other sidewall damages – nor are there any other signs that the tyres need changing, as we explain in our article “How do Australia’s drivers know they need new tyres?” However, the questioner knows that manufacturers recommend changing tyres every five years, regardless of wear – but he bought the car second-hand a couple of years ago, and isn’t sure how old the tyres are.
In this article, you’ll learn how to tell the age of your tyres. This one piece of knowledge could help save your life, and it could help you drive a better bargain when buying a second-hand vehicle – if the tyres need changing because of their age, you could negotiate a fair few dollars’ discounts.
Why should you buy new tyres every five years?
The older a tyre is, the less safe it is. This is irrespective of use or wear and tear. This rule also applies to your spare tyre. As tyres age, they become age-damaged – even in storage! Often, the damage caused by ageing will show as small cracks in the rubber, which is oxidised by the UV rays in the sun.
Tyres contain anti-ageing waxes which slow down the effect of ageing, but these are only released when the tyre is in motion. Thus, tyres stored poorly – and your spare – may age faster than the tyres on your wheels.
Ageing tyres are more likely to puncture or suffer a blow-out at speed. Older vehicles that have a low mileage are more likely to have prematurely aged tyres. If you are not sure about the condition of your tyres, please do get them checked by a professional. Just because they have plenty of tread left, they may not be safe for driving.
Manufacturers mostly recommend that you renew your tyres every five or six years if you haven’t done so sooner. This isn’t an exact science. Your tyre specialist will be able to tell you if they are good for another few months or more.
How do you tell the age of a tyre?
If you buy a used vehicle, the chances are that it won’t come with a set of new tyres. It’s also unlikely that the seller will know or remember when the existing tyres were purchased – and even then, it is the year of manufacture that’s important.
Fortunately, all tyres are marked with the month and year of manufacture. If you look around the sidewall, you’ll come across a four-digit number in an oval border. This tells you the week and year of manufacture. For example, if the number is 1116:
- The first two digits are the week (e.g. 11 means the 11th week)
- The second two digits are the year (e.g. 16 mean 2016)
- Therefore, this tyre was manufactured in the 11th week of 2016
Some tyres only have a three-digit number. These were made before 2000. They should be changed immediately.
If you are buying a used vehicle, always check the date of manufacture of the tyres. The older they are, the more likely they are to need replacing, and this is a bargaining chip in price negotiation.
Help your tyres last longer
Though they are a valuable investment in your safety and driving experience, whatever your vehicle, tyres are not a cheap purchase. The longer you can help them last, the more value you will get from every dollar you spend on new tyres. These five quick tips will help your tyres last longer:
- Keep them out of direct sunlight.
- If they are on stationary vehicles, move the vehicle backwards and forward every week to help prevent flat spots.
- Avoid parking on or driving through grease, oil, petrol or diesel. Always clean them if this happens.
- Don’t brake hard, especially into and through corners.
- Keep them inflated to the correct pressure, and avoid ‘kerbing’.
Aged tyres are more at risk of failure, and it is recommended that you change them every five to six years. You’ll find the year of manufacture of your tyre embossed as a four-digit number on the tyre’s sidewall. If your tyre is approaching five years old, take it to your nearest tyre specialist to have it checked. A five-minute check could save your life.
If you live in Brisbane, don’t hesitate to call into Darra Tyres. We’re here to answer your questions and keep you safe.
Keeping your family and fleet safe,