Older tyres may be a safety risk, even when they have sufficient tread remaining. This is according to Romano Daniels, Bridgestone South Africa’s General Manager of Group Communications and Marketing. “As the structure of a tyre ages, it undergoes chemical changes which cause it to harden,” he commented.
“This can start happening as little as four years after date of manufacture, and the sidewalls may begin showing small cracks as the tyre ages further,” Daniels explained. “This presents several dangers to the motorist.”
Tyres which have begun to harden do not offer as much grip as newer tyres. This means that the vehicle to which they are fitted may not respond as well in an emergency, or its roadholding and braking abilities may be compromised. The older a tyre, the more pronounced this problem becomes. Daniels also warned that tyres which show signs of age-related cracking are at risk of sudden failure and should be replaced without delay.
“The average lifespan of a tyre is five to seven years,” he said. “After that, the tyre should be replaced regardless of its remaining tread.” He added that it was very difficult for owners to prevent the progressive deterioration of tyres over the years. “Factors like UV radiation in sunlight, ozone in the atmosphere and road-borne oil and grease all play their part,” he said. “However, keeping tyres correctly inflated ensures heat build-up is kept to a minimum while driving, and this may slow down the ageing process,” he added.
Daniels commented that cars which do very little mileage are sometimes seen to have tyres as old as ten or fifteen years fitted. He described this as a severe safety risk and appealed to owners of such cars to have the condition of the tyres inspected by a fitment centre without delay. “Every tyre has a date of manufacture embossed into it,” he said. “Ask a fitment centre to show you the dates, and consider replacing the tyres if they’re older than five to seven years,” he concluded.
Issued by Bridgestone South Africa on 12th February 2010
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