For all the innovation that we see on new cars, tire technology has mostly stayed the same over the past few decades. Most drivers wait until their tires wear down to the minumum tread and then replace them with new ones. But it's not that simple - what you don't know about tires could be putting you and your family in danger. The rubber used to manufacture tires deteriorates with time and exposure to the elements - even if you don't drive your car.
The typical driver puts anywhere from 12,000-15,000 miles on a car annually. But many people use their cars less, especially if they are second vehicles or "weekend cars." On these cars, you need to pay attention to how old your tires are, regardless of how deep the tread might look. Tire rubber will crack over time, and can even reach a stage where the steel belts in the tread separates from the rest of the tires. Tires designed for longer treadlife have 'anti-ozinant' compounds to slow down aging, but it won't stop it completely. Since you can't see the inside of the tires when it's mounted, tread separation can potentially become a dangerous situation. You can determine how old a tire is from its DOT code.
Since this code isn't necessarily consumer-friendly, our service department can assist you with this information. According to some tire manufacturers, a tire can last up to 10 years, but this depends on the conditions that it was used in and whether proper inflation and rotation has been maintained. We know that getting rid of a tire that still has a lot of tread remaining can be difficult for the saavy, thifty consumer, but it's a small price to pay for your safety.