Have you checked the wear on your tyres lately and do you know how old they are?
Might be an idea to check, for your safety and others on the road.
We’ve had a few punctures and a couple of blow outs over the years, usually in country areas when on dirt. We have always had HT (Highway Terrain) tyres on our vehicles because we have mainly travelled on … you guessed it … on highways, with some dirt tracks thrown in for good measure.
Fact is our driving is getting a bit more adventurous, we’re on our 3rd 4WD, we own an ‘off-road’ pop top caravan and enjoy getting out and about in national parks, private properties and further into the outback.
Our tyres have been replaced or fixed over time and the tread seems fine, but is it?
On close examination I have discovered a variety of manufacture dates, the oldest being 2007, that’s 9 years old! You can find the age on the side of your tyre in a 4 digit number, e.g. 4907. This means the 49th week of 2007.
So we bit the bullet and had them checked by Brendan Smith, an industry professional at Goodyear Autocare in Mount Barker, South Australia. At the same time we had a chat, this can be found on our podcast page.
As mentioned, I thought there was a reasonable amount of tread, why should we change? Well, pretty simple really, tyres are made of rubber and rubber has a natural aging process. The sun, rain, general wear and tear all affect the condition, they can become harder, brittle and dangerous.
Have you ever wrapped a rubber band around something and after a while all the elasticity goes, it goes hard and the band breaks?
The chemical process is known as oxidation, this simply means that when the rubber is exposed to oxygen, the oxygen particles cause the flexible components of a tyre to harden.
Some manufacturers and retailers say that most tyres begin to degrade around five years from the date of manufacture, and at six years most tyres are no longer safe for use on a vehicle.
There is no law (to my knowledge) that says we have to change tyres after a certain age, but consider the warranty when purchasing. If your tyres do become harder and you have an accident, who’s to blame and what would your insurance company have to say?
Isn’t it better to be better safe than sorry?
Please don’t forget your caravan or trailer, stored in a garage, not many kilometres up, they would be easy to overlook, but the same aging issues apply and for such a huge investment, why wouldn’t you check and change tyres if required.
Cheers, Andrew Kennedy
You can listen to our podcast here