The Danger of Driving On Old Tires
Tires offer your vehicle the necessary traction and braking power when driving. With persistent use, tires age and become worn out.
Old tires with thin threads are not safe to drive in. Regardless of tread depth, automotive manufacturers recommend tire replacement should be done six years after the manufacture date. Old tires are dangerous as they are often the culprit in fatal road accidents.
In 2008, a news report revealed that most American families of crash victims had lost a loved one or their loved one incurred severe bodily harm due to tire failure caused by old tires As such, it is essential to monitor the condition and age of your tires carefully.
Top Ways to Tell That Your Tires Are Too Old to Drive
As tires age, they start to have cracks that appear on the top surface and sidewall. These cracks cause the steel belts in the threads to separate from the rest of the tire, hence a worn-out tire. Lack of proper maintenance and intense heat accelerate this process.
It is advisable to change your tires six years after the date of manufacture. However, because of the various tire specifications and differing weather conditions, tires tend to age differently. High temperatures, poor storing of your spare tire, and many long-distance drives wear out and damage your tire. Legally, if your tread depth is less than 2/32″, your tires are worn out.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has no specific guidelines as to when a tire is too old to use. They use the recommendation from car manufacturers and tire makers, which is six years after their production date. However, other tire makers such as Michelin and Continental claim their tires have a lifespan of 10 years, provided you annually schedule tire inspections after the 5th year.
Worn out Thread
The first warning sign that your tires are not suitable for driving is when tires do not have thread. The tread for the tires is quite similar to what you have for your shoes. When it thins then you have less grip and can easily slip. The function of the tread is to provide space for water to flow away through the grooves.
It is very dangerous to drive with worn-out tires, especially in wet conditions. The minimum thread amount is normally 1.5mm and this is usually prescribed as a legal requirement in some countries. However, you do not have to wait until it reaches this point to change your thread. Do it sooner. The less thread you have the longer the stopping distance.
The sidewalls are constantly exposed to heat and UV light and this leads to them breaking down and losing their hardness. When the sidewalls become brittle you will notice cracks moving all the way from the hairline to the tire valleys. It is dangerous driving in such kinds of tires as you can experience a serious tire burst at extreme highway speeds.
More Blisters and Bulges
As your tires continue to wear out, you will notice that you have more blisters and bulges on the tire. This is because of varying tire strength that causes the pressure to be more on one part than the other. As the air exerts more pressure on the softer outer layers you will experience uneven rides which eventually lead to a serious tire burst.
The main cause for tire blisters and bulges is often riding on potholes and not having properly inflated tires. The problem with bulges is they will cause you to replace an almost new tire. This is because the blisters weaken the tire strength making it more susceptible to punctures.
Frequent Car Noise
If you have been driving your car for a while then all of a sudden you notice some squeaking or shaking sounds then it could be that your brakes are worn out or your tires have bulged. If the sound is coming from your tires you may want to stop the car and check whether the nuts are tight.
Very related to the bad noise from the tires, if you have blisters and bulges on your tires you are going to experience some unwanted vibrations as you drive on smooth roads. It is not unusual to notice some slight engine vibrations – this is normal and should be of little concern.
However, when you have excessive engine vibrations then it could signal further tire trouble. The reasons for this vary and may include poor wheel alignment, bent wheels, or problems with the suspension. You should avoid driving your car in such conditions as it will lead to steering instability leading to accidents.
What Happens if I Drive with Old Tires?
Driving with worn tires is very dangerous as they increasingly continue to lose their road-gripping ability. During snow or rainy weather, such tires have significantly reduced traction, often leading to fatal accidents. If you regularly drive on wet or snowing terrains, it is best to replace your tires once they attain a tread length of 4/32”. Here are some dangers of driving with worn tires.
Loss of Tire Pressure
Worn-out tires are likely to lose air pressure through leaking. With reduced stopping power, steering performance, and gas mileage, your vehicle should not be on the streets. When tires have low pressure, they get heated faster; causing their rubber to wear out faster and the cracks on their surface, as well as their inside, begin to leak air.
When you do not inflate your tires as specified, they also heat up quickly, leading to a loss in air pressure. For your exact vehicle’s recommended pressure level, check the decal on the inside of your car’s driver’s doorjamb.
During rainy weather, the faster you drive in worn tires, the higher the chances are of you hydroplaning. Hydroplaning occurs when your tread grooves are not deep enough to allow water to escape, leading your tire to skim over the water and no longer respond to steering control.
This potentially dangerous situation also occurs on half-tread tires as a study shows that there is an 8% drop in hydroplaning resistance on half-tread tires as compared to new tires.
Reduced Gripping Ability
Tires offer the required grip while driving. Old and worn tires fail to deliver the necessary traction, making it easier to lose control of the vehicle. New and winter tires consist of deep grooves and an array of sipes that aid the tire in biting the snow, providing adequate traction when driving.
Worn tires have shallower treads and worn-out sipes, reducing the vehicle’s road-gripping ability. All-season tires do not easily show signs of wear and damage until their traction has significantly diminished and it is time to get a new pair.
Increased Chances of A Deflated Tire
Worn tires have a lot less rubber as compared to new tires. Rubber tends to wear off, leaving less of a barrier between your vehicle and the road. As such, your tire may get a puncture from road debris or leak air from its cracks, leaving you with a deflated tire. This is especially risky if you are on a long-distance drive.
Always Check the Condition of Your Tires
Regularly checking the status of your tires is crucial in car maintenance. It helps in avoiding lethal consequences to your investment. If you drive a lot or have experienced numerous punctures, it is time to replace your tires.
It is also important to note that tread length does not necessarily mean your tires are safe to drive in. The rubber compounds in a tire deteriorate without being visibly noticeable, even if you do not use your car regularly.
Avoid buying used tires, even if they are about one or two years old. Used tires are cheaper, but investing in new tires is a much safer and longer alternative. When purchasing new tires, it is crucial to check the manufacture date. Some tires have a ‘new' tag yet they are more than six years old.
How Long Do Mercedes Tires Last?
Proper care and maintenance of your tires, guarantee your safety, and that of your passengers as well as of other road users. Most new Mercedes-Benz Original or Original Extended tires last for at least 50,000 miles before they need a replacement. Similarly, newer-model Mercedes-Benz car tires may last for up to 200,000 miles with proper care and maintenance. Many factors affect the lifespan of tires. It is advisable to frequently change your tires six years after the date of manufacture.
Types of Mercedes-Benz Tires
Mercedes-Benz, alongside other premium tire manufacturers, produces their line of tires, which meet the stringent industry requirements as well as offer their vehicles the necessary support and comfort. Their four tire options include:
- MO tires provide longevity and high performance on all road types
- MO1 tires which are for their AMG series
- MOE tires for extra protection on rough roads
- MOS for a quiet driving experience
These tires are complex and high-performance tires that feature over 200 constituents, each with its specific functions. They deliver optimal performance and are configured to work with the safety systems found inside a Mercedes-Benz. Here are a few tips to help you determine when your Mercedes tires require replacement.
Shallow Tread Depth
A common way to test your tread depth is by using the Lincoln-penny test. By placing a penny upside down along your tire’s tread, you can easily denote your tire’s tread. For instance, if you can see Lincoln’s head or its top, the tread of your tire is below the recommended level. Ensure you correctly inflate your tires before performing this test.
Shallow tread depth is dangerous, especially during the rainy seasons. The shallower they are, the easier it is to lose grip of the road while driving. Low tread depth contributes to ineffective brakes and steering control. A squeaking noise when you turn your tires is also a sign of worn tires.
Generally, Mercedes tires can last up to a minimum of 50,000 miles. At this mileage, tires begin to stretch, and cracks start to appear on the inside and the surface, meaning your tires are experiencing wear and damage. For safety purposes, it is advisable to check the status of your tires after about 30,000 miles to ensure they are in good condition. For a second opinion, please consult your mechanic.
How to Take Care of Mercedes-Benz Tires
As a rule of thumb, Mercedes-Benz vehicles should go for regular maintenance service annually (Mercedes-Benz Service A and B). These scheduled appointments consist of synthetic motor oil replacement, oil filter replacement, tire inflation check and correction, and fluid levels check and correction, among many other things.
It is crucial to observe proper care and maintenance as specified in your owner's manual to keep your Mercedes-Benz is always at peak performance. Here are a few tips on how to take care of your Mercedes-Benz.
Alignment and Balance
The wheel and tire combination need to be balanced to provide a safe vehicle. Tires are naturally round to provide stability and comfort when driving. When the wheel and the tire are not aligned, it is difficult to maintain straight car tracking, leading to the wear and damage of your tires.
Ensure your wheels are aligned and balanced by taking your vehicle for regular maintenance checks. With the use of a balance machine, mechanics determine the high and low spots in your wheel and notice any imbalance. To balance them, they often add weights and hammer them on the wheels.
Tire rotation prolongs their lifespan. Front-wheel-drive vehicles often have their front tires wearing out faster; hence, you can swap them with your rear tires. The same also goes for rear-wheel drive trucks and vehicles. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended pattern for rotating your tires to spread their wear evenly.
What Is the Ideal Tire Pressure for My Tires?
The manufacturer and driving conditions will determine the ideal tire pressure. For most passenger cars the ideal tire PSI is 32 to 35 while for SUVs it's around 40. The car manual will offer important tips as to the right PSI. The PSI is at times stuck on the passenger door and you should note that if the temperature drops by 10˚F then the pressure with drop by one PSI. This means you will need to constantly check your tire pressure when driving in cold conditions.
Commercial vehicles are often inflated at a rate twice that of passenger cars. Inflating your tires is good but do not overdo it.
The Tire pressure effect on fuel economy works similarly to when you roll a ball down a steep hill. If the ball is round it has less resistance and rolls fast downhill. If you have low-pressured tires it means you have a larger contact patch that increases your rolling resistance hence the car consumes more fuel. Make sure your tire pressures are correct to save fuel.
Should I Manipulate My Tire Pressure when Driving on Different Roads?
This issue is a bit of a controversy as there are those who agree that when you are driving through rocky terrain you should deflate your tires. However, the downside to this is it increases your fuel consumption, leads to premature wear and tear and the tire is more susceptible to punctures.
On the other side is over-inflating your tires when you are going to a race track. This method reduces the car's traction, leads to premature tire wear, and reduces the overall comfort of riding the car. If you are going to be taking a long trip it is prudent to check the rate of tire wear and tear.
Most people often forget to check their spare wheels whenever they are traveling and this can be disastrous when you get a flat tire while on a road trip. Ensure all tires have the same tire pressure at all times.
Questions & Answers
How do I know if my tires need air?
If the level of pressure in your tires is below the specified amount, you need to fill the tires with air.
The label on the passenger door frame should tell you what the recommended PSI is for your vehicle. This can change depending on how many people are on board as well as having not checked your tire pressure for some time.
If you have a digital pressure meter, you can check the recommended tire pressure and know whether you need a refill. It is often the case that tire pressure will drop as the weather becomes colder.
How long do tires last in storage?
Around 6 years. However, tires need to be stored properly to ensure they're safe and ready when needed. Proper tire storage ensures that tires remain inflated and dry, preventing damage to the rubber treads and sidewalls.
If you store them upright, the air pressure inside the tire slowly decreases over time. This causes the tire to lose its shape, making it harder to mount onto a rim. Tires should be rotated every six months to prevent this problem.
When storing tires horizontally, keep them away from heat sources and direct sunlight. These conditions cause the rubber to deteriorate faster than normal.
To avoid these problems, store tires at room temperature (70 degrees F) and rotate them regularly.
How long do tires last with a low mileage car
Tire rubber does not deteriorate over time. However, it may become brittle after years of use or non use if it is sitting in your garage or on your driveway.
This happens because the rubber becomes saturated with chemicals called vulcanization agents. These chemicals prevent the rubber from stretching when exposed to heat and pressure during manufacturing.
When this occurs, the tire loses its elasticity and begins to crack. The cracking eventually causes the tread to separate from the body of the tire.
This problem is most common with older tires, but it can happen to any tire.
If you notice cracks forming on your tires, call your local auto repair shop right away. They should be able to fix the issue quickly.
Tires significantly affect steering control and braking power. With older tires, you have reduced your vehicle's road-gripping abilities considerably and are more likely to experience car crashes. Old tires are not safe to drive in, despite their tread length. You cannot predict when they will cause an accident, but ultimately, better safe than sorry. Get rid of all old tires, including the spare, to avoid severe accidents and fines. Regularly check your tires for wear and damage, before a blowout happens.