Do Brand-New Tyres Expire After 2-3 Years on a Shelf?
- on December 13, 2019
- Categories: Car Feature Articles
High-grade tyres ensure safe driving, but how do you know if the rubber you’re purchasing is acceptable? With a lot of hearsay on the matter, you might be inclined to think that you shouldn’t buy brand-new tyres resting on a shelf for a while. What if they’re damaged? And, what if they are going to expire?
The following information addresses the issue of buying new tyres, more specifically, would answer whether two or three years on a shelf renders any tyre unusable?
Factors Causing Tyre Degradation
When it comes to determining the exact expiry date of a brand-new manufactured tyre, there is no fixed standard. The day a tyre reaches the end of its life does not depend only on its manufacture date, but also on many other factors. Whether in storage or under a chassis, tyres sustain damage due to various environmental and storage conditions.
The following environmental conditions can add a number on even the finest quality tyre:
- Oxygen is one of the main substances that cause the rubber to deteriorate. The process of oxidation destructs rubber material from both inside and outside.
- Ozone, a form of oxygen, also harms rubber, only with a higher intensity. During use, tyres require waxes and oils for protection against ozone damage. However, in storage, these protective materials are inadequate. Ozone exposure in storage areas can cause irreparable cracks in tyres.
- The UV light causes the rubber to immediately absorb UV radiation and results in photodegradation.
- The combination of heat and oxygen speeds up rubber aging; it does not matter if the tyre is in use or stored.
We should also consider storage conditions such as temperature, light, humidity, and ozone exposure. Storing tires in direct sunlight, or even under strong artificial lights, causes UV damage. Excessive humidity covers rubber with condensation, which also causes it to degrade quicker. It’s also essential to keep the tyres safe from ozone exposure by avoiding equipment that produces ozone, such as generators, electric motors, fluorescent lamps, etc. Tyres must also be stored in an optimal position, one that doesn’t put too much pressure on the rubber and ultimately cause deformation.
The Average Life of a Tyre
According to various manufacturers, the shelf-life of a brand-new tyre is up to six years. Of course, this limit significantly depends on the environmental and storage conditions we discussed earlier. A tyre that faces extreme storage conditions might not hold up even two years.
Tyres stored under optimal conditions are completely safe to use after 2 to 3 years. However, in case they are older than 10 years, it’s unwise to purchase them and should not be fitted into any vehicle, both the British Rubber Manufacturers Association (BRMA) and Michelin agree to this.
Similarly, if a brand-new tyre is stored perfectly, you can utilize the tyre for a total of up to ten years. However, it’ll require you remain vigilant and carry out annual checks after the tyre’s fifth year of production. Any tyre that has completed a life of ten years after the date of manufacturing is unusable – it must be disposed of or replaced.
Clearly, the manufacturing date plays a vital role in determining whether a stored tyre is safe to use or not. So, how to determine this date, and how do you know your supplier has been upfront about it? Read on to find out:
Checking the Manufacturing Date
Before making a purchase, always find the construction date of the tyre. Of course, you should ask for the latest tyres, but still, you should ensure the manufacture date.
Locate a stamp on the sidewall of the tyre – the DOT (Department of Transportation) code – which will be a four- or three-digit number. The first two digits of a four-digit number will depict the week of manufacture, while the last two numbers indicate the year. For example, the number 1019 means the tyre was built on the tenth week of 2019 or the beginning of March. A three-digit DOT code means the tyre was manufactured prior to the year 2000, which means it’s best to avoid this tyre.
Is It Okay to Purchase Old Tyres?
The best-case scenario is to find a brand-new tyre manufactured only last month, however, with infrequent tyre shipments, that’s not realistic. But you don’t have any choice when making a purchase, especially if you require new tyres immediately. In that case, simply follow the guidelines for reading the DOT code and verifying that the tyre doesn’t exceed the average lifespan. Even if you purchase old tyres in perfect condition, it’s important to keep a regular check on them.
In conclusion, there’s no harm in buying two- or three-year-old tyres. If you’ve verified the DOT number, and the tyres have been stored under optimal conditions, they’ll be as good as a freshly manufactured tyre.