Throughout the tyre’s life, it goes through two phases. One is its shelf life; that for how long has the tyre been kept in a storage, whether in company’s storage facility or at the dealers show rack. Second stage starts when you mount those tyres on your car’s wheels and they touch the tarmac of the road. And as everything else on your car, your tyres have a life span as well.
People always come up with their own numbers when you ask them about tyre and its life. All people have their own story that how did they come with the number of years it’s okay for the tyre to be on the shelf and then on the road. Some refer to some car magazine article they read about tyres, some talk about the car shows like Fifth Gear and Top Gear, your friendly neighborhood tyre seller, or some just come up with numbers they think sound appropriate.
Well, such is the case here as well. Woody Rodgers is a tyre product information specialist and has been working with a giant tyre vendor ‘The Rack’ for sixteen years, in the United States, also has something to say about all those numbers we come up with. And he claims with proper storage and care of the tyre, you can make them last up to a decade. Who saw that coming?!
That is a major claim, for anyone to make. Rodgers also says that given the climate controlled warehouse or storage facility, tyres have virtually unlimited shelf life, and once they are on the road, you can add multiple years of life to the rubber by taking proper care. Although you can make a case against that since most of the imported tyres are smuggled here and are abused so much that they are permanently damaged. Or that our local vendors keep the tyres in worse condition possible, to save on the cost of space to store the inventory. But lets hear what Woody Rodgers has to say about his claim.
“In general, we see six years of service with no more than 10 years of total life since manufacture.” said Rodgers. He refers to it as the 6 or 10 rule. Service is any time the tyre is on the rims of your car and under use. Factors like temperatures, and climate and Sun also kills the tyre’s rubber.
One huge argument that can nullify everything is that where you live or the areas you drive your car through.
“The reality is, service life can vary so much from one driver to another and one part of the country to another, that it’s really difficult to say that it’s X [years],” Rodgers said.
But he argues that you should rather just keep an eye on the condition of your car tyres than just adding the years in your head and replacing them after 2 or 4 or whatever number of years. One should inspect and maintain your tyres every month and notice things like cracks in sidewall (that can occur due to the harshness of your climate or just simple underinflation). Rodgers claims that tyres usually lose or gain 1 psi, depending on the ambient temperatures.
And most importantly, the depth of the tyre tread. Sometimes, the depth of your tyre tread is fine for your normal dry weather driving but can be dangerous if it’s raining. In United States, tyres are measured in 32nd of an inch. We in Pakistan, though, judge our tyre grooves either by just feeling them with our finger tips, or with a car key or something. But keeping USA’s standards in mind, an average new car tyre comes with 10/32″ or 11/32″ tread depth. Of course heavy duty tyres or SUV off road tyres have more tread depth than that. 2/32″ tread depth is fine for dry running, but not if its raining. Estimated safe depth for evacuating water trough the tread while maintaining the contact and grip is 4/32″. And in snow, requirements are higher, you need 6/32″ of tread depth to evacuate snow and slush underneath your car tyres.
As long as you are keeping your tyres out of direct sunlight and ozone, and keeping them in a stable temperature, it does not matter how you are storing your tyres; mounted or unmounted, laying on their sidewalls or standing up on their tread. Your tyres will go along a long way.
Pakistan sees all kinds of weathers; extreme heat, rain, zero degree below temperatures. Therefore you cannot just apply the whole case in this article exactly on your driving conditions. Some things will apply to you, some will not. The idea is that proper care of your tyres will save you not only in fuel money, but also the cost of replacing your tyres prematurely. But please, do not neglect your tyres if they need replacement, or if you feel they have done their time and new tyres are due. Nothing is worth more than your life.