Classic Car Tyres

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Classic Car Tyres

Post by Tomaselli » Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:25 pm

This was posted the other week on a classic car forum;
The sad news arrived yesterday of the death of two friends here in France. Two friends passionate as any about the classic car movement and passionate about any make of old car, owning several themselves. The cause of their death was down to old tyres, tyres that were on the face of it in good condition with plenty of tread but which were old, well past the time when they ought to have been changed. It is easy to think "I'll be alright, mine are perfect" but the truth is that the recommendation is to change tyres after six years, whatever the mileage; we all know that the rubber deteriorates with age but it is easier, but not safer, to put off the expense until another day. I know, in the past I have been as guilty as the next man.

In this case the tyre exploded on a bend, with fatal results. Please, don't just dismiss this, but go and check the age of your tyres on the sidewall. There will be a four figure number like 0602 (which means made the 6th week of 2002) on the carcass. I bet some of you will find there are only three digits like 147 which means 14th week of 1997 which might shock you. Time flies when you are having fun, but let it continue to be fun, not grief for your relatives. Oh, I've realised my trailer tyres need changing; I hadn't thought to check them.
This then remind me of this article which happened a few years ago very close to me so struck a chord; ... sured.html

Classic cars by their nature a lower mileage than modern counterparts so please do check the condition of your tyres.

Pulled off the ROSPA website;
Most modern compounds contain anti oxidysing chemicals that help slow down the natural ageing process of untreated rubber, however tyres DO degenerate with age. Tyres that have been place in storage should not be place into service over 6 years old from the date of manufacture. When tyres have been in service the effects of ageing are lessoned, but such tyres should be replaced after 10 years. Tyres in coastal ares will degenerate at a faster rate due to the saline conditions. Cleaning products may also harm the compound. Tyres that show signs of ageing, (deformation of the carcase distortion and cracking)should be replaced.
If you are lucky and have a "newer" tyre there will be identification markers to determine their age, all tyres made in recent years are date coded by law, which makes it easy to determine how old they are. Department of Transport now requires that every tire must have a four digit date code on the side, indicating the date it was manufactured. Look for a string of numbers and letters that begins with "DOT" to see the date code. The code will look something like "0604" which indicates the tire was manufactured during the 6th week of 2004. This number only appears on one side of the tyre, so you might have to crawl under the car to get the date. If there are no such markings than the tyre should probably be taken off and destroyed, unless it's just for show purposes.

Please be safe........... :wink:

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Post by gtsmrt » Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:51 pm


I couldn't agree more and it is a good idea to remind people of the hazards. I have recently booked my Tiger in to get four new tyres after them being on the car for about six years. Back in 2004, I had an experience in my Alpine that could have caused an accident if left un-noticed. My tyres looked perfect, but I didn't notice a bulging inner tyre wall due to degrading tyres. The tyre dealer informed me of the issue after I thought I had wheel balance issue. I also check my tyre pressures regularly. You can never be too careful and in my opinion, invest in a good quality set of new tyres (money well spent).

Regards, Robin.
Robin O'Dell
Tiger MK 1a

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Post by Mal » Mon Jun 07, 2010 5:40 am

I read on a Mustang forum the other day, of a owner who had a blow out on a low milage tyre that was only 5 years old. Luckily he was only traveling slowly when it happened.
It pays to check the date code on the tyres when you buy as somtimes they can be a couple of years old when you buy them.


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Post by martin172 » Sun Sep 19, 2010 8:34 am

Very interesting post.
After reading this I went into the garage to check the tyres on mine.
The 4 on the car are 2005 vintage, so not too bad.
The code on the spare on the other hand.........2092. :shock:
Shame really. It's never been used.

Don't forget to check those spare wheels people.

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Post by bigbob » Sun Sep 19, 2010 11:18 pm

I too had a blow out a couple of years ago coming back from Le-Mans, luckly without causing a problem. It turned out that my tyres were old, but it was the valve stem that split due to having perished with age. So make sure when you change your tyres that the fitter puts in new valves.

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Post by gvickery » Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:41 pm

Talking of tyres.

If you want to stay with 'regular' 185/70/13’s on Minilites what and where is the market for this size nowadays. Also what is nearest to?

I've run with Goodyear for years but the 13" item appears to have been dropped.

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Post by Tomaselli » Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:43 pm

You are right Graham, with such a deep profile they are getting difficult to find on the High St.

Though funnily enough, I ordered a set of the orginal size online a few weeks ago and are made by Michelin. 8)

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Post by garyv8tiger » Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:55 pm

ive got great big 225/45/16s on mine :mrgreen: they fill the arch just nice

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Post by odl21 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 1:53 pm

haha, yes. old tyres is not a problem i will likely suffer from any time soon! i get about 1-2000 miles from a set of 225/45 16 toyo R888s on the tiger :)

13 inch? the last set of dunlop 185/70 13s i had on the tiger lasted me two weeks / 5000 miles.

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