Website advises drivers on different ways to spot dangerous tires

Jan. 1, 2020
Edmunds.com is reminding motorists that ?even if you don?t drive much, your car's tires ? including the spare ? could still deteriorate and they may pose a safety hazard on the road.?
www.Edmunds.com is reminding motorists that “even if you don’t drive much, your car's tires – including the spare – could still deteriorate and they may pose a safety hazard on the road.”

According to Advice Associate Ronald Montoya, “People often rely 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.”

He goes on to note that “like an old elastic band, a tire’s rubber can eventually develop cracks on the surface and on the inside wall. This cracking can cause the steel belts in the tread to separate from the rest of the tire.”

There’s no hard and fast expiration date for tires, and that makes the decision to replace an old tire much more difficult, the site says. Factors that can accelerate a tire’s deterioration include excessive heat and erratic driving conditions. Even a spare tire could be at risk, especially if it’s been exposed to degenerative elements like water, dirt or extreme heat.

Some carmakers recommend that drivers replace their tires six years after their production date, regardless of tread life. Tire manufacturers, meanwhile, insist that a tire can last up to 10 years provided that it receives annual inspections after the fifth year.

Motorists can determine a tire’s age by retrieving the four-digit code on the tire’s sidewall that indicates the week and year that the tire was produced. But tires made before 2000 are trickier to identify; the site offers a guide to translating those and other numbers on the sidewall.

A visual inspection can offer clues to the degree of a tire’s deterioration. Motorists are advised to check tires regularly for any sign of aging, such as tread distortion or cracks in the sidewall, including hairline cracks. Vibrations or a change in the dynamic properties of a tire could also be an indicator of aging problems.

For more information, visit www.edmunds.com.

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