Tyre Tales (part 1): Tyres aren’t wine
Some things get better with age and some things, like car tyres don’t. Tyres aren’t wine… Our first in a series of reader-based tyre stories and advice.
We’ve just given away $500 worth of tyres to one lucky winner. All you had to do was write in with your tyre experiences, and our team has picked the one we felt had the best lesson for others. But we’ve published most of the entries because there’s something in there for everyone.
Tyres should be replaced when worn, which either means the tread depth is low enough for the performance to drop off, or they become so brittle they aren’t supple and flexible enough to grip the road properly. Is it a real problem? Absolutely:
We had the vehicle loaded up for our holiday up the coast, and of course I get a puncture up past Grafton. Unloaded the boot, put the spare on, reloaded. Back on the road with the light fading. The wife is still happy as we’ll make our destination before it’s too late.
Murphy’s law ! Another flat !
Cursing, leads to more cursing when it’s the new spare gone down. Wife is unhappy big time. After an impromptu stopover for the night in a cockroach hotel in Ballina, the next day the tyre repairer said the spare tyre had perished and had cracks through it.
I never though a tyre could rot. Anyway, that was an expensive lesson. Now I have the spare rotated through so a least it gets some use.”
Having driven up to QLD on the Friday and loaded the trailer right up, by 9:30pm on the Saturday we were just south of Newcastle on the F3 when on a slight downhill there was a huge bang and vibration and the trailer was trying to drive! Luckliy we were towing with a large 4WD, on a straight, dry road and managed to pull over with minimal fuss. As you will see in the photos the front left tyre had gone to hell in a hurry! Before it blew the tyre was fine to look at, 90% tread, had the correct pressures and the trailer was not overloaded. Whilst we were changing the front left tyre we realised the front right tyre on the trailer was not at all far off suffering the same fate! I wouldn’t have believed a tyre could go bald so quickly if I had not seen it myself. Safe to say we didn’t get home as early as we had planned…
We were very lucky it was not a single axle trailer or we were towing with a less capable vehicle on a wet, winding road etc – Don’t believe anyone who tells you old tyres are anything but a disaster waiting to happen!!”
I had tried everywhere to see whether the “proper” size tyres were available new without success, however I managed to locate some (what I thought) reasonable second-hand tyres from one of the companies who import used tyres from Japan.
As they were a matching set and pretty reasonably priced, I bought them to replace the ones which were on the car and thought that I had done the right thing. Unfortunately as the car doesn’t get a lot of use and may sit in the garage for several months between drives, these tyres didn’t prove to be the bargain that I was after. I guess it must have been about six months later when I was on my way up to the Sunshine Coast and had just entered the 100kmh zone when I heard the dreaded “bang” – fortunately I was driving in the left hand lane and managed to bring the car to a stop without causing any interference to the other traffic on the road.
As the 30 day warranty period had well and truly expired when this happened, I cut my losses (and swallowed my pride) and a new set of the “wrong” size locally manufactured tyres now adorn the car. Lesson learned, and I am now very conscious of the importance of reading the markings on the sidewalls to ensure that the tyres aren’t too old and prone to deterioration. I consider myself extremely lucky that I wasn’t a long way from home and traveling at 110kmh with my wife in the car as the outcome could have been disastrous.”
How do you tell the age of a tyre?
DOT PJAH D21V 3012