Old Tyres – A Warning

TYRES — A WARNING! When did you last check the tyres on your veteran or vintage car?  No, not just to see if they’re holding air or are getting worn but seriously check them for cracks, damage and AGE.

Collectable cars, motor bikes and antique tractors tend to have the same set of tyres for many years simply because they don’t do the miles our everyday vehicles do. And they go on year after year looking pretty good, tyre blacked for displays and holding air. They’re OK aren’t they!

But just think about it – HOW OLD ARE THE TYRES ON YOUR OLD VEHICLE/S?You bought a new set for that big rally in …..                                                                                   ah, when was it?……………

In 2007 in response to the incident outlined below the following article appeared in the FBHVC (Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs), Newsletter 04-07.  

Her Majesty’s Coroner for Manchester wrote to FBHVC – it is an important matter and we urge clubs to pass the warning on to their membership if they have not already done so.
The letter concerned an accident that took place last year in which the driver of an H registered MG B lost his life when a rear tyre burst on the M56. The driver was a skilled mechanic and a careful and experienced driver who was not travelling particularly fast at the time. The car was described by police as being maintained in excellent condition. The surviving passenger said that just before the accident the driver had commented that a ‘tyre wobble’ had developed and he was going to ‘drive through it’. The wobble went briefly, but then the tyre burst, causing the car to spin, clip a kerb and flip over.
Subsequent investigation showed that although hardly used the tyre was 25 years old. It was one of a set of as-new tyres and wheels bought at an autojumble the previous year for use for show purposes (at the time of the incident the car was on its way to an event at Oulton Park).
The British Rubber Manufacturers Association suggests that if a tyre is six years old and remains unused it should not be put into service. It also suggests that in ideal conditions tyres may have a life expectancy of 10 years.

The moral of the story is not to wait for legislation, but to make sure your own tyres are in good condition, never to use undated or obviously old second-hand tyres however good the tread and never to ignore a ‘tyre wobble’.  [Source: Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs –  http://fbhvc.co.uk]

 How do you tell the age of a tyre?

Tyres are manufactured with a Tyre Identification Number (TIN) marking moulded on the sidewall that shows the week and year that the tyre was made.

For post 2000 made tyres the last four digits of the TIN indicate production date,eg. 1204 indicates a tyre made in the 12th week of 2004.

For tyres made pre 2000 the last three digits of the TIN indicate production date,eg. 375 indicates a tyre made in the 37th week of 1995.

Tyres made in the 1990’s have a triangular indentation after the last number eg. 10th week of 1995 would have the code 105Δ

For tyres made pre 1990  NOΔ used on pre-1990 tyres, thus you may have a 1980s or earlier tyre.

Bridgestone Aust. have an informative web page re. Aged tyres at www.bridgestone.com.au and they state: “Warning signs – Regardless of their age tyres should be replaced if they show significant crazing or cracking in the tread grooves or sidewall and/or bulging of the tread face or sidewall.”

Oldcars found the above article in the Bulletin of the Vintage Motor Club, Sydney. 


About motors of yesterday

Automotive historian who's owned, restored and rallied a number of vintage and 1930s to 1980s heritage cars and light commercial vehicles since 1968. My preference is American and Australian vehicles, but as an automotive historian I research all makes, English, Continental, North American and Australian. My automotive history research usually doesn't go beyond 1946 though. My specialisations are - Australian coach and motor body builders up to 1946 - Sydney and NSW's earliest motor vehicles - early long distance and interstate motor journeys, record attempts and trials up to 1939 - WW2 jeeps in Australian service - WW2 staff cars in Australian service
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