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Carsandbikes
Carsandbikes Reader
9/26/20 11:47 a.m.

A few weeks ago I bought a proverbial " little old lady " car (seller was 80 years old) through a trusted 3rd party.  Car is 15 years old with 45,000 miles on it.  It was apparently always garaged as it is in very good condition for the age.  I was told that this car was nearly all original, including the convertible top (which has spots of wear/fraying along the lower edging).

  I didn't think about it until last night, but I got to wondering about the tires.  They look nearly new (thanks to a coating of Armor-All) with lots of good tread, but studying the sidewalls and the various numbers and letters, I believe the tires to have been manufactured mid-2011...or about 9 YEARS ago.

Being a convertible, I don't want to experience a high speed tire separation as a means of checking the effectiveness of all the safety features.

So, realistically, on a car that until recently spent a fair amount of time garaged, how old is too old for what look to be perfectly serviceable tires?

dps214
dps214 HalfDork
9/26/20 12:04 p.m.

I'd replace them. They might be fine, but a) probably aren't and b) as you said about not wanting to test the safety features, it's cheap insurance. Plus newer tires will probably make it ride/drive better as an added bonus.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
9/26/20 12:21 p.m.

They'll be fine as long as you drive like a little old lady.

 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UberDork
9/26/20 12:23 p.m.

I think that the current recommendation is to replace any tire at 10 years.

I'd look at it like this, how important is it that you not die?

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa SuperDork
9/26/20 12:30 p.m.

US DOT is pretty lax about recommendations, i think 10 years is the limit.  However in the EU they recommend 4 or 6 years.

slowbird
slowbird SuperDork
9/26/20 12:41 p.m.

Sounds like you've got a lot of tread left with which to do burnouts, thus using up the tires in a safe manner before replacing them for actual driving. devil

frenchyd
frenchyd PowerDork
9/26/20 12:50 p.m.
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:

I think that the current oo recommendation is to replace any tire at 10 years.

I'd look at it like this, how important is it that you not die?

A car garage stored will fare better then one left outside. I doubt she did much welding near those tires either, so you don't have that to worry about. 
The reality is driven normally and mostly locally  the probability of death is right next to nil. If a failure did occur the chances of it being an explosive throw the car out of control, failure is even more remote.  I've got a set of 25 year old Dunlop racing tires on my MG  I'll still drive it locally and around the lake. 

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
9/26/20 2:19 p.m.

The car will drive and grip better with new ones, but the idea that a tire just explodes and kills everyone within a hundred meters is just absurd.

To suggest that people are profoundly ignorant of their surroundings and will not notice any of the warning signs of impending tire failure is also absurd, but true.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/26/20 2:26 p.m.

It also depends a lot on the tires themselves.  Asking how old is kind of like saying "if I paint my house, how long will it last before I need to repaint?"  So much depends on that.  Alkyd resin? Latex?  Epoxy?  Acrylic?

I've had 20-year-old tires that didn't have a single crack in the sidewall, and I've had 5-year tires that were cracked terribly.  Different manufacturers place different importance on their range of tires based on their application.  Something like an 80k-mile warranty whitewall tire might have a ton of UV inhibitors, but summer-only race tires that will only last 8 months may have none.

I'm not saying you should use age-cracking as a sure sign that they are good or bad.  I would say that you should be fine if you don't see any cracking, if for no other reason that the car was likely stored inside.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/26/20 2:28 p.m.

AND POST PICTURES OF YOUR BARN FIND, DANGIT

Carsandbikes
Carsandbikes Reader
9/26/20 2:48 p.m.

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

I am " writing " this on my tablet and the pix are on my phone (assuming you are addressing me).

The car in question is an 06 Mustang convertible that is fully loaded (in Ford's parlance it is the Premium trim level).  The " bad " news is that it has the 4 liter/truck engine with the 5 speed automatic transmission.  Nice color combo though: a sort of wine red with gold top and interior.  I wouldn't have bought it, normally, preferring a coupe with a manual transmission but where I live I at least won't have to worry about someone slicing into the 14 year old top.

Carsandbikes
Carsandbikes Reader
9/26/20 2:53 p.m.

In reply to 1988RedT2 :

I don't quite drive like a little old lady, but rarely exceed the speed limits.  That said, I live in an area where the limits on divided NON interstate highways are as high as 65 mph. 

The car itself drives okay, but I find (at least for now) that I prefer my 09 Crown Victoria.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/26/20 4:04 p.m.

We did some new vs. old tire testing recently for Classic Motorsports, with the old tires being about 10 years old. The old tires were fine up until about 90%--figure 30+ feet needed for a hard stop from 60 mph. You can read the piece, and see the data, here

Carsandbikes
Carsandbikes Reader
9/26/20 4:31 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Thanks for the link, I knew I had read something somewhere about this subject but thought it might be " hidden away " under an unrelated topic here at GRM. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/26/20 10:40 p.m.

In reply to Carsandbikes :

No problem. That was a Classic Motorsports piece. And, yeah, the old tires didn't feel too bad--kind of a rough ride if anything. But as the data shows, when asked to deliver 100%--like during a panic situation--they just couldn't do it. 

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/26/20 10:50 p.m.

Two anecdata points:

  • Tires on my MR2 were about 15 years old. Car had been stored indoors for ten. Ran over a small rock (driving in Tahoe, surprise), blew out the sidewall on two tires.
  • The Maxton had the original tires from 1992 on it. No visible damage and still in good shape. Survived the test drive, replaced them with new versions of the same tires. Just touching the tread surface showing that the original tires were rock hard in comparison. 
Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
9/27/20 2:25 a.m.

If those old tires pop or delaminate it can take out way more than the price of new balonies. Quarter pannel, fender, inner fender, brake lines,  etc... Food for thought.

03Panther
03Panther Dork
9/27/20 2:51 a.m.

I've put about 10 times the miles on old beaters than I have nice cars. LOTS of miles on very old (year) tires, and have NEVER had one fail catastrophically (including emergencies) ... WITHOUT showing signs of impending doom. My being nuts and cheap, I have pushed 'em till failure...even on choppers. But the tires will show those signs, and the date code is irrelevant. As Curtis said the variables matter much more than the age, although age and age cracking do make a part of the decision process. If you think tires are an item that only a shop can look at, then the "tires are cheaper than your life" answers are prolly correct.. but not very well thought out. Those folks should make the tire folks happy and replace ever 5 years.

 I was going to ask about what car and driving style. But with a V6, some common sense driving, ad an eye on condition, good tires will give you good service. Had tires will not. 

And, pics or it didn't happen!!!

OldGray320i (Forum Supporter)
OldGray320i (Forum Supporter) Dork
9/27/20 6:48 a.m.
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) said:

Two anecdata points:

  • Tires on my MR2 were about 15 years old. Car had been stored indoors for ten. Ran over a small rock (driving in Tahoe, surprise), blew out the sidewall on two tires.
  • The Maxton had the original tires from 1992 on it. No visible damage and still in good shape. Survived the test drive, replaced them with new versions of the same tires. Just touching the tread surface showing that the original tires were rock hard in comparison. 

 

Let me add to the anecdata; on the e30 we used to have, I scored some tires that looked in great shape (if they had ever been mounted, it wasn't for long, looked like nos).  Date code was at the limit of where Discount said to replace due to age.

I drove on them for about a year, then the car went to the daughter, and about six months later she hit a pot hole coming off a stop sign and the entire side wall blew out. 

Like, disintegrated, all 360 degrees.

Might never happen, but if it does, do you want to deal with it?

 

Andrewsky
Andrewsky New Reader
9/27/20 7:59 a.m.
1988RedT2 said:

They'll be fine as long as you drive like a little old lady.

 

Best comment. laugh

Carsandbikes
Carsandbikes Reader
9/27/20 8:36 a.m.

In reply to Appleseed :

The scenario you described is actually what I figured was most likely to occur.  And since this is a lowish mileage car that is very original I don't want to have to do body or paint work to restore to "like new" condition anytime soon.

So far I have put about 100 miles on the car and fortunately, living in Florida, potholes are quite rare.

I have already checked Tire Rack for prices and ratings on direct replacements of the tires on the car right now but this brand (Cooper) doesn't look that promising.  I suspect that I will replace these tires with a set of General Altimax tires like the ones on my Crown Victoria. 

Driven5
Driven5 UltraDork
9/27/20 11:24 a.m.

The tires that killed Roger Rodas and Paul Walker were garaged with only 3.5k miles on them, but were 9 years old.

Old tires can look and feel fine... Right up until they don't. 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/27/20 11:29 a.m.

In reply to Carsandbikes :

Ok... I'll be patient :)

Sounds nice.  My last little-old-lady find was an 87 Cutlass Salon with the 442 appearance package.  Basically it got the wheels and decals and the interior of the 442, but not the 442 decal or the hi-po engine.  It had 63k on it, and belonged to my sister's neighbor.  Quite literally, she drove it to church and the grocery store, and that was about it.

03Panther
03Panther Dork
9/27/20 12:13 p.m.
Driven5 said:

The tires that killed Roger Rodas and Paul Walker were garaged with only 3.5k miles on them, but were 9 years old.

Old tires can look and feel fine... Right up until they don't. 

Did you check the tires out, before the accident? Ill bet no one else did either. And were they driving them carefully?    But yep, applies to a v6 mustang being driven by a responsible person.  Old tires can have plenty of tread,... If thats what looking good means, and still show signs of neededing replacement... the lazy people see good tread "hey its got tread. Lets drive it recklessly!" And then blame the tires. 

I've had tires come apart on me. But they did not look or feel fine.... up until they don't.      Unless ya looked at 'em from 20 ft away. 

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa SuperDork
9/27/20 12:21 p.m.
Carsandbikes said:

In reply to Appleseed :

fortunately, living in Florida, potholes are quite rare.

You must be living in a different Florida than I am.

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