Just because the tire isn’t on a vehicle doesn’t mean that it’s not old.
It’s not uncommon to see tires that are over a year old when you buy them.
But how old is too old, and when should you be concerned?
How Old Should New Tires Be When You Buy Them?
A tire shouldn’t be older than 18-months when you purchase it. Most tires are under a year old when the tire shop gets them. That’s important because the rubber starts to breakdown as soon as they roll off the manufacturer’s assembly line.
Why Is It Best To Avoid Older Tires?
The longer a tire sits, the more the rubber starts to break down, even if you aren’t driving it.
Several different factors go into this breakdown, but the main ones are light, oxygen, and heat.
So, while it’s better if the tire shop stores their tires in a dark, temperature-controlled room, that won’t stop everything since they’ll still react with the oxygen in the air!
As the rubber breaks down, it can become dangerous to drive with those tires, no matter how much tread is left.
This rubber deterioration can lead to the tread breaking off while you’re driving and increase the likelihood of a blow-out.
Both are extremely dangerous conditions that can cause you to lose control of your vehicle while you’re driving.
According to Sean Kane, president of Safety Research & Strategies Inc, tires older than six years old led to 233 fatalities in 2012.
Starting with an older tire only accelerates this process and increases the chances of getting into a potentially fatal accident.
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When Is A Tire Too Old To Sell?
While you shouldn’t purchase a tire that’s older than 18-months – there aren’t any laws that prevent stores from selling old tires.
Even if a tire is over six years old, a tire shop is still legally allowed to sell you that tire.
That’s why it’s so important to look at the tires they are going to install on your vehicle – before they install them.
Otherwise, you might end up with dangerous tires that you need to replace right after getting them!
Furthermore, if you read the fine print on most tire treadwear warranties, it specifies limits on mileage and how old the tire is.
For instance, Firestone warranties only last for ten years from the date of manufacture, regardless of when you bought the tire or how many miles you put on it.
However, if you purchase an old tire and you only find out about it after the fact, there isn’t much you can do.
There are no protections for the consumer when it comes to purchasing an old new tire, so be sure to check the tires’ age before you spend any money.
How To Tell How Old New Tires Are?
While old tires can create many issues, and you can’t always trust tire shops, there’s good news if you’re a consumer.
That’s because the tire manufacturer is required to put the date the tire was manufactured right on the tire – down to the week.
You can find the date the manufacturer made the tire on the sidewall of the tire, but if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’ll never find it.
Don’t worry; we’ll help you track it down and decipher exactly what it means.
On the tire’s sidewall, there are several circled blocks with different letters and numbers inside them.
What you’re looking for is a circled block with four numbers in it.
If you can’t find this block, try to track down the circled block with “DOT” on it.
While this isn’t the same block, the correct block is typically in the same area.
Once you find the correct block, you start by reading the first two numbers.
These numbers tell you the week that the tire the manufacturer made it.
The last two numbers will tell you the last two digits of the year the manufacturer made it.
For instance, if the number is 3418, the tire was made in the 34th week of 2018.
Remember always to ask to see the tires before they install them on your vehicle so you can check this number!
Also, check each tire individually. Just because one tire is newer doesn’t mean that all four are!
How Long Do New Tires Typically Last?
Many new tires come with treadwear warranties, but that’s only part of the equation.
The other part is how old the tire actually is.
Most tires are good for six years from the date of manufacture.
So, if you get a tire that’s 2-years old, you only have four years until you should replace it. That’s even for tires that have a warranty for up to ten years.
While the manufacturer might cover the tire under warranty, the rubber will start to break down, and the chances of getting into an accident rise dramatically.
The warranty covers the tire, not the vehicle and people inside!
However, while most regular tires only last six years, most spare tires can last up to ten. The difference comes from how manufacturers make the spare tire – and it’s why this advice doesn’t apply to full-sized spares, only donuts.
Another major factor in how long your tires will last is the conditions that they are exposed to.
If you live in a warmer climate or don’t properly maintain your tires, they will wear out quicker.
The best thing you can do for your tires is to keep them properly inflated throughout the year.
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Are 3-Year-Old New Tires Safe?
Three-year-old new tires are perfectly safe, but that doesn’t mean you should be buying them.
That’s because if you purchase a three-year-old tire, you’ll need to replace it in three years, even if it still has plenty of life left on the treads.
Otherwise, you’ll be creating a significant safety concern while you drive.
Considering some tires have 90,000-mile warranties, you would need to drive 30,000 miles a year to avoid wasting your money.
While there aren’t any immediate safety concerns if you buy a three-year-old new tire, you should avoid it if at all possible.