How old are your tires? How old is too old?

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wcfvw69
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How old are your tires? How old is too old?

Post by wcfvw69 » Sun Oct 25, 2015 1:04 pm

I've seen these threads on The Samba before but thought I'd start one here. Many tire manufactures 'suggest' replacing any tire over 5 years old.. Yea, right..

So, with that information from the tire departments marketing department, how old are your tires and what's the oldest calendar date tire you'd be comfortable running on your VW?

Me? While repainting the rims on my 70 bus, I looked up the date on the correctly rated, China tires. They are all almost 10 years old and have 60% tire wear remaining.

My 69 bug has 13 year old, white wall, Bridgestone tires w/4K miles on them. They've always been inside on the bug. My 67 bug has two 20 YO tires on it. One of the two that were on the rear separated while sitting in the garage, so I replaced the two rear tires and KNOW I need to replace the other two quickly.
1970 Westfalia bus. Stock 1776 dual port type 1 engine. Restored German Solex 34-3. Restored 205Q distributor, restored to factory appearance engine.

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Re: How old are your tires? How old is too old?

Post by asiab3 » Sun Oct 25, 2015 9:32 pm

Mom's bug had 15-year-old tires with 800 miles on them when I picked it up. It drove so so beautifully. Discount Tire couldn't figure out the date code they were so old, but I have receipts from them dated 3/2000. The spare in the bonnet matched them, and America's Tire won't even put air in it… I won't drive more than 5mph and down an alley on it… :drunken:

I would consider the life of the tire to be flexible depending on UV exposure mostly. Keeping it inflated and driven on semi-regularly would also increase my confidence in a tire. A trailer queen that sits for a year on flat-spots would worry me. But again, that's all personal speculation.

Robbie
1969 bus, "Buddy."
100k miles with me.
279k miles on Earth.

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Amskeptic
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Re: How old are your tires? How old is too old?

Post by Amskeptic » Mon Oct 26, 2015 11:13 am

Depends on the tires for sure.
Mercedes has Michelin MXVs from 1995, they are round, they are fine.
Lincoln has Coker Classic tires from 1994, they are round, they are fine.
Discount Tire told me that the Michelin X-Ice tires on the Lexus "should be replaced because they are five years old," and I snickered.
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 93,996 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,113 miles

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Randy in Maine
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Re: How old are your tires? How old is too old?

Post by Randy in Maine » Mon Oct 26, 2015 11:21 am

7 years old from the date of manufacture is right at where they are too old for me.

I did replace my John Deere tires in 1999 after 60 years though. Hard as a brick at that age.
79 VW Bus

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wcfvw69
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Re: How old are your tires? How old is too old?

Post by wcfvw69 » Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:35 pm

Some good feedback here for sure. Thanks to all for the thoughts.

Colin- I know those two cars you used as an example are not driven much. Now, the question is; would you take the Mercedes (as an example) with the 20 YO tires on a trip from NY to Florida?

Randy, I don't know how often you drive your bus but if you only put say 2k miles a year on it and the tires reached 7 years old, you would change them? I've never seen any concrete data that supports tires being changed after X amount of calendar years have passed. I think Robbie was on point in sun exposure aging the tires quicker. I know I've read that the rubber and other compounds in the tires can "dry out" or "gas out" as each year passes.

This poses quite the dilemma with having a couple of old VW's that are only sparingly driven each year. I am amazed how fast the 13 years have passed since I've bought the $130ea Bridgestone 1" white wall tires for my vert. The car will never be anything but a weekend cruiser and the tires still look new. I think I'm trying to "sell" myself that I'll be fine to run them for a few more years.

I think my biggest concern (and frugalness) is the bus having 10 YO tires on it. I did see some slight side wall cracking on them when I painted the rims. I'll probably bite the bullet and change them before I take it on the next trip.
1970 Westfalia bus. Stock 1776 dual port type 1 engine. Restored German Solex 34-3. Restored 205Q distributor, restored to factory appearance engine.

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Randy in Maine
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Re: How old are your tires? How old is too old?

Post by Randy in Maine » Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:07 pm

I am most recently concerned with sidewall checking. Might be a UV problem or not.
79 VW Bus

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Re: How old are your tires? How old is too old?

Post by Amskeptic » Tue Oct 27, 2015 1:18 pm

wcfvw69 wrote: Colin, would you take the Mercedes (as an example) with the 20 YO tires on a trip from NY to Florida?
Yep.
wcfvw69 wrote: Randy, I don't know how often you drive your bus but if you only put say 2k miles a year on it and the tires reached 7 years old, you would change them? I've never seen any concrete data that supports tires being changed after X amount of calendar years have passed.

This poses quite the dilemma with having a couple of old VW's that are only sparingly driven each year. I am amazed how fast the 13 years have passed since I've bought the $130ea Bridgestone 1" white wall tires for my vert. The car will never be anything but a weekend cruiser and the tires still look new. I think I'm trying to "sell" myself that I'll be fine to run them for a few more years.
The people who sell tires have their . . . perspective.
The people who pay out horrible freeway crash claims have their perspective.
The people who are engineering-minded pragmatists have their perspective.
The cheapskates have their perspective.

I am engineering pragmatist. I know rubber hardens over time, so I look for sidewall cracks, yes, and ignore the little ones and pay attention to any that suggest the tire has lost essential flexibility. Rubber cracks if they permeated the entire carcass would create a leak. OK. How violent? Hardly. Now, if the tire ever went totally flat, or hit a large foreign object, or busted over a curb, I would be concerned about belt damage. If the tire ever rotated totally flat, it's outta there.

So, if I trust the integrity of the belts of my high quality tires, and the air somehow remains in them, then I am willing to drive on them. There are cheap tires from China with lousy belt material that I wouldn't trust at two years.
I make a judgment call on my tires, and I am aware of dynamic tire behavior, I can feel belt separation soon enough, like this four year old Firestone on the BobD that let go on CA 17 in afternoon high speed traffic. I had time to get off the road and amuse the customers at the local laundromat with my incredulous swearing:

Image
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 93,996 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,113 miles

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