Old tires on your car can have tragic consequences

By Steven Rupp, HOT ROD

We usually try to keep things on the lighter side here, but sometimes a serious topic needs to be brought up. This is about safety and how a small thing can lead to big consequences. Many of our hot rods don't see a ton of street miles compared to our daily drivers, and therein lies the rub. You see, parts don't just wear with use, they also wear over time. That's why oil change intervals have time, as well as mileage, attached. This also applies to tires. If you drive your Chevy a few hundred, or even a few thousand, miles a year then chances are they are going to age out well before they wear out. Yeah, you'll look at the tread and think they are great, but, in fact, they aren't. The number one cause is dry rot, also called sidewall cracking. Many factors cause this, including oxygen, ozone, heat, UV light, long periods of siting, etc. And while you can slow it down, eventually time always wins and a tire becomes unsafe even though it looks fine at first glance.

At an event this summer a participant, Jerry "Waco" Andres, tragically died when a tire blew out on his '55. An older tire failed and the car rolled. After this I began looking at date codes on cars at the event and saw quite a few that were over 10 years old. The tires all had a ton of tread left, which is what most people look at to determine if it's time for new tires. But, when cars aren't driven much time wins the race before wear.

So, inspect your tires regularly, look for unusual wear (especially on the inside edge), watch for strange bulges, as well as any small cracks, which are the first signs of dry rot or other tire problems. Remember that sometimes the tires can crack on the inside, where you can't inspect. If you notice your tires don't hold air will, then that's also a sign of a possible problem. All tires are stamped with a date code. This code tells where the tire was made, but more importantly it gives the week and year they were made. Typically it's four digits, for example 1709, which would be the 17th week of 2009. A good rule of thumb is to replace tires that are older than six years. But if you see any signs of cracks replace them immediately. So let's have fun out there with our Chevy, but also stay safe as well!



eZineInsider.com Autos: Old tires on your car can have tragic consequences
Old tires on your car can have tragic consequences
eZineInsider.com Autos
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