Checking your tyre tread is almost exclusively accepted as the go-to method for determining when to change tyres, and while the law stipulates a minimum tread, an old tyre with original tread treads can, in some case, be just as dangerous to drive as smooth, worn tyres. Firestone offers five simple steps to tell if your tyres have passed their viable lifespan.
1. Tread Carefully
While the law calls for a minimum of 1.6mm in tread depth, it is safer to change tyres when they reach 2mm. For the average user, and considering damage from harsh environmental conditions, 2mm is most likely the level at which your tyres will have gone past their safe lifecycle.
2. Don’t Crack Under Pressure
After five years of exposure to sun, heat and even moisture in coastal conditions, rubber compounds will begin to break down faster, making the tyre more dangerous to continue driving. Cracks in tyres are the result of prolonged heat, UV exposure and the above elements. Smaller sparse cracks aren’t a cause for immediate alarm, but they do mean a loss of grip and advanced age. Bigger, more frequent cracks indicate prolonged exposure to rough surfaces and chemicals such as harsh cleaning products and will need more urgent attention.
3. Your days are Numbered
To get a precise age of your tyres, check the Date of Manufacture (DOM), a numerical character sequence print moulded onto the surface of the tyre. This four-digit code provides information on the production date and is usually located in a box on the tyre sidewall, with the first two digits of the code representing the week of production during the year (from 1 to 52), while the second two digits represent the year of manufacture.
Image of the DOM
4. Three is a Crowd
Tyres produced before 2000 have a three-digit Date or Manufacture (DOM) code instead of four. Needless to say, if your tyre is 20 years old or older, it should be changed immediately!
5. Ask a Friend
Not all tyres older than five years should necessarily be discarded. A tyre that has been properly sealed and shelved might still be as good as new but proceed with caution.
If you suspect your tyres might be a danger to you and your loved ones, visit a professional full-service auto tyre fitment centre such as Supa Quick that offers premium service, coupled with trusted expertise in tyres, batteries, shocks and exhausts.