Sometimes, I really wish posters on the various forums I visit would stop using the old
..try to research it.
or something similar in response to a person's question. If the poster's question is boring you, why bother to reply at all? If your expertise or knowledge is so much better than the requester's level of knowledge, why not simply provide the specific search words used to find the thread? Better yet, if you're going to post anything, why not post the actual link to the requested info?
That said, I did
research the topic before posting and could not find anything relevant to tire storage or life cycle/shelf life on the forum; thus my question about how long the tire can be stored and how to properly store the tires. I know that, from a casual association some years ago with "the" Goodyear distributor in SE Virginia, many tires sit in the warehouses for months before being sold (or sometimes even years if the demand falls off or the stock is not properly rotated). The purpose of my original post was to find the "how to store" and "for how long" info.
I am aware that there has been an ongoing discussion among auto & tire manufacturers for years about whether or not to date stamp tires and how to use the information (i.e., is the date stamp merely to record the manufacturing date or is there a legitimate “expiration date” for a given tire - kind of like the "born on" vs. "expiration" dates published by the beer producers). Surfing the net I found that a number of websites discussing the date coding issue and an alleged six year "expiration" date. It is important to note that none of these links actually quote an approved government standard for an "expiration" date; they only provide an opinion or suggestion of a six year life cycle. Sample websites:
Tire Expiration Dates
carfix_online: TIRE EXPIRATION DATES
Danger of Aging Tires, Expiration Dates
When Good Tires Go Bad - CBS News
Aging tires can pose danger - TODAY Technology & Money- msnbc.com
The only government agency that had any comments on tire aging was from this NHTSA web site:
1. What is meant by “tire aging”?
The structural integrity of a tire can degrade over an extended period of time. When that occurs, tires are more prone to catastrophic failure, which could, at best, cause an inconvenience, or, at worst, lead to a crash. The degradation of a tire occurs over time, mostly the result of a chemical reaction within the rubber components. That aging process can be accelerated by heat and sunlight.
2. Does climate have an effect on the aging of tires?
NHTSA research suggests that tires age faster in warmer climates. Exposure to high ambient temperatures can accelerate the tire aging process, which could contribute to tire failures, including tread separations. Environmental conditions like exposure to sunlight and coastal climates, as well as poor storage and infrequent use can hasten the aging process.
3. Are some vehicles more prone to tire aging problems?
Tire aging is generally not an issue with vehicles that are driven regularly. Tires will wear out and need to be replaced before aging becomes a safety concern. But those with occasional use - like recreational vehicles or collector cars, for example - could be susceptible. The spares on all vehicles also are prone to aging problems because they seldom get used or replaced. In those instances, the structural integrity of the tire may be weakened - and potentially hazardous - even though the tire still has a great deal of remaining tread.
4. How do you detect when tires have become unsafe?
The effects of aging may not be visibly detectable. Since there is no standard test to assess the serviceability of a tire, even an inspection performed by an expert may not always reveal the extent of tire deterioration. Vehicle owners are therefore encouraged to have their tires checked after five years of use, then annually thereafter.
5. How do you determine the age of a tire?
The age of the tire can be determined by checking the tire identification number on the sidewall of the tire, which begins with the letters "DOT". The last four digits represent the week and year the tire was manufactured. On newer model tires, the tire identification number is on the outside sidewall; older models will have the identification information on the inner sidewall.
6. When does NHTSA recommend that tires should be replaced?
While tire life will ultimately depend on the tires’ service conditions and the environment in which they operate, there are some general guidelines. Some vehicle manufacturers recommend that tires be replaced every six years regardless of use. In addition, a number of tire manufacturers cite 10 years as the maximum service life for tires. Check the owner’s manual for specific recommendations for your vehicle. Remember, it is always wise to err on the side of caution if you suspect your vehicle has tires that are over six years of age.
7. Are there other reasons for tire failure?
Yes. Poor maintenance is often cited as a cause of failure. While maintenance is important for good wear and safety performance of tires, many other factors contribute to their failure. Tire failures can be caused by a number of factors such as under- or over-inflation of tires, overloading of vehicles, road hazards, improper maintenance, structural defects, and improper installation, in addition to tire aging.
8. Is it a significant safety problem?
Most failures result in nothing more serious than minor property damage. For more serious crashes, NHTSA estimates that about 400 fatalities annually may have been attributed to tire failures.
I think we're pretty much on our own in deciding for how long we trust a given automobile tire.