Are your tyres getting too old to hit the road?
Being knowledgeable about the lifespan of your tyres is essential for ensuring safety of you and your fellow road users, not to mention preventing potential financial or legal burdens.
Do tyres expire? Yes, they do. Queensland Police recommend considering tyre replacement after five years.
Retailers are not permitted to sell tyres that were not manufactured in the last five years. Up to this point, they are considered ‘new’.
Bear in mind that it is still legal to drive on tyres that are more than 5 years old, it is just a recommendation that you replace them at this point.
You can determine your tyre’s age by examining the DOT code on the sidewall.
The DOT code contains a series of alphanumeric characters, with the last four digits indicating the manufacturing week and year. For instance, if the final digits are 1722, it means the tyre was manufactured in the 17th week of 2022.
See how old your tyres are with this calculator:
Old tyres are more likely to experience sudden failures, such as sidewall cracks, tread separations, or belt shifting. These can cause a complete loss of control while driving, leading to accidents.
As tyres age, they become more susceptible to punctures and damage from road debris. The rubber compound in the tyres hardens over time, making them less resilient and more prone to punctures, resulting in potential blowouts.
The ability to disperse water and maintain contact with the road surface diminishes as tyres get older. This increases the risk of aquaplaning, where the tyres lose contact with the road due to water buildup, leading to a loss of control.
Additionally, worn-out tyres are more likely to skid, making it difficult to steer or stop your vehicle promptly.
Old tyres have longer braking distances compared to newer tyres.The diminished tread depth reduces their ability to grip the road, requiring a longer stopping distance. This can be particularly dangerous in emergency situations where every inch counts.
While the physical age of the tyre is something that is only affected by the passage of time, treating your tyres poorly can prematurely accelerate (pun intended!) the ageing process.
Improper storage conditions, such as exposure to extreme temperatures, direct sunlight, or chemicals, can accelerate the ageing process of tyres.
Frequent changes in temperature, especially from hot to cold or vice versa, can affect tyre ageing. The expansion and contraction of tyre materials due to temperature variations can lead to accelerated wear and degradation.
Consistently practising aggressive acceleration, harsh braking, or frequent cornering can contribute to faster tyre wear and ageing.
Driving on old tyres can pose serious risks to your safety and that of others on the road. It is essential to understand the dangers associated with old tyres and take the necessary precautions.
Regularly checking your tyre age, maintaining proper storage and practices, and replacing tyres within the recommended time frame can significantly enhance your driving safety.
I'm Louis, an engineer passionate about helping Australians choose better tyres for their vehicles!